The Glengarry News
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Games up in the air

publisher Mar 30, 2020 - 1:36pm

No decision has been made yet on how COVID-19 will affect the 2020 edition of the Glengarry Highland Games.

President Eric Metcalfe says, "We know that many people are wondering what will happen to the Games this year. Will they be cancelled or will they be a go? Right now, we are watching the world situation very carefully. At this point, we  have made no decision to cancel the Games. You can be sure that we will let you know when and if the situation changes."

However, all advance ticket sales including legacy grandstand tickets are on hold and sales will not start at their usual time. As
well, reservations for RV Camping sites on are hold.

"Good luck and good health to everyone and with God’s blessing we will see you at the Games, July 31-August 1, 2020," he says.

 

Be honest; you will not be judged

publisher Mar 29, 2020 - 12:59pm
Note from Hopital Glengarry Memorial Hospital:
 
We know that COVID-19 is scary, there are a lot of unknowns and things are changing by the minute. It is imperative that we follow Ministry Guidelines and self-isolate, social distance, wash our hands, and don’t touch our faces.

PLEASE, BE HONEST WITH the Screener when you call an ambulance or approach a hospital for help. Be truthful if you have a fever and/or cough and/or travel history. You will not be denied health care if you say yes. You WILL BE TREATED.

Please remember that it's not just your life that is in danger, but also those of the workers at the health care facility. We need to know your accurate symptoms so that we can protect our staff and other patients appropriately.

Be truthful. We won’t judge. We will be more than happy to treat you in the most appropriate area of the hospital donning our most appropriate PPE equipment. Thank you!

Five new cases

publisher Mar 29, 2020 - 12:45pm

An increase in positive COVID-19 cases in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit region over the last day is a strong reminder of the importance of following public health advisories on staying home and physical distancing, as the threat of spreading the virus grows.

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) has received confirmation of five new cases of COVID-19 in the last day, all in the counties of Prescott-Russell. One patient is currently in intensive care at the Cornwall Community Hospital. The latest cases bring the total number in the EOHU region to nine. Of these, four have no travel history, and it is believed they may have become infected through the community.

“We know that there is community spread of COVID-19 elsewhere in Ontario and Canada, and we believe that our area is no exception,” states Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health. He adds that the increase in cases is not unexpected. The health unit is currently waiting on hundreds of test results for residents across the EOHU territory, and expects the numbers to grow not just in Prescott-Russell but throughout the region. “I want to make it clear that while the new cases are in the Prescott-Russell area, residents in the rest of the region should not feel that their risk is lower. We strongly encourage everyone to continue staying at home as much as possible, and practise physical distancing to reduce the threat of spread.”

The EOHU is urging residents to remain at home and avoid all non-essential outings. When going out for absolute essentials like groceries and medication, everyone must maintain a minimum distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from one another. A 14-day quarantine is also now mandatory for all Canadians returning from travel outside of the country. Returning travellers must go straight home upon their return to the country, and rely on help from family, friends, their municipality and local agencies for anything they need.

If you think you may have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, first self-isolate and then use Ontario's Self-Assessment Tool to see if you need to seek further care.

If you need further assistance, call TeleHealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or your health care provider. You can also call the EOHU at 613-933-1375 or 1 800 267-7120.

More details on how to protect yourself and your family from getting or spreading COVID-19 are available on the EOHU’s website at EOHU.ca/coronavirus. The website also includes local updates, what to do if you have symptoms, information on testing/assessment centres and more.

Visit Ontario’s website at Ontario.ca/coronavirus to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.

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State of emergency

publisher Mar 26, 2020 - 6:13pm

In response to growing concerns over COVID-19 in Eastern Ontario, the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry (SD&G), the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) and the City of Cornwall declared a state of emergency Thursday.

SDG Warden and South Glengarry Mayor  Frank Prevost said that by declaring an emergency, the counties would be able to access additional resources. He added that lower tier municipalities, like North and South Glengarry, do not have to make similar declarations at this time.

“Declaring a state of emergency is not a decision we took lightly, but it was the right decision to make,” says Bernadette Clement, Mayor of the City of Cornwall. “This will help us to come together more effectively to care for the most vulnerable among us, to deploy needed action quickly, and to efficiently coordinate preventive measures.”

Although there have only been four confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the combined jurisdictions to date, there are over 300 tests with results still pending.

Public health authorities fear the virus is now spreading on two fronts: through the community from one individual to another, as well as area residents returning from their travels abroad.

“Over 50 per cent of cases in Canada are not linked to individuals who have travelled abroad or been in contact with people who did,” says Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health at the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU).

“This means there is now community spread of COVID-19 across the country, and our area will be no exception.” The increasing threat of COVID-19 points to the importance of physical distancing as a measure to counter its spread. The public is therefore being asked to stay home as much as possible and to avoid all non-essential outings. When going out for absolute essentials like groceries and medication, everyone must maintain a minimum distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from one another.

Mr. Prevost states that while residents shouldn’t panic about the state of emergency, they should take public health advisories very seriously. “I want residents to understand that we have taken this measure to enable us to access additional resources to respond to COVID-19.”

Pierre Leroux, Warden of Prescott-Russell, echoes Mr. Prevost’s message. “While the situation regarding COVID-19 is still manageable in our area, declaring a state of emergency will allow the redeployment of county resources, such as personnel and equipment, to where we need them most.”
Mandatory 14-day quarantine for returning travellers

Authorities at all levels of government are reminding residents that a 14-day quarantine is now mandatory for all Canadians returning from travel outside of the country. Returning travellers must go straight home upon their return to the country, and rely on help from family, friends, their municipality and local agencies for anything they need. For more information about COVID-19, please consult EOHU.ca/coronavirus, Ontario’s website at Ontario.ca/coronavirus, where you’ll find a self-assessment tool, and the federal government’s website at Canada.ca/coronavirus.

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Program swamped

publisher Mar 26, 2020 - 3:36pm

The Cornwall  and The Counties Community Futures Development Corporation has been swamped by applications for help under the COVID-19 emergency loan program.

As anticipated, response to the program has been overwhelming, and as a result over-subscription to the program is imminent. Due to this overwhelming response the CDFC is unable to accept any additional applications as of 5 p.m. today.

Anyone who has already submitted all their documentation to the CFDC will still be moved through the underwriting process.

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Hospital supplies stolen

publisher Mar 26, 2020 - 2:54pm

A notice from Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital in Alexandria:

"We would have hoped it would go without saying, but unfortunately, we find ourselves in a position of asking... Please don't steal masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, etc. from hospitals. Our staff and doctors need these supplies to ensure their safety and that of our patients. We know COVID-19 is scary, but when you steal supplies from the hospital, you are putting everyone who works at the hospital and every patient who comes here at risk. Stay home, wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face, practice social distancing. These are the best ways to protect yourself and your loved ones. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, go to the emergency department. Our staff will take good care of you."

College helps

publisher Mar 26, 2020 - 11:38am

St. Lawrence College (SLC) has donated three state-of-the-art ventilators, purchased last year, to local hospitals, one to the Cornwall Community Hospital (CCH), and two to the Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC).  
In addition to the ventilators, other important supplies have been donated to the CCH, the Brockville General Hospital (BGH), and the Brockville Mental Health Centre (BMHC). These supplies include more than 20 boxes of examination gloves in various sizes and 6000 masks amongst the three hospitals, as well as hand sanitizer.  The requests were coordinated through administration at the hospitals and Barb Le Blanc, Associate Dean, School of Baccalaureate Nursing, and the supplies were delivered by the lab technicians at both campuses.

Day care update

publisher Mar 26, 2020 - 8:01am

In alignment with the revised directives issued by the Government of Ontario, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) is advising private daycares with five children or less that they can resume operations, provided they take the required infection control measures.

“The new directives issued by the provincial government state that private daycares with five children or less can remain open as they are classified as an essential service,” says Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health at the EOHU. “These daycares, provided they follow our infection control directions, are therefore exempt from the Order of closure I issued on March 22 which called for the immediate closure of all daycares and other childcare centres and services.”
Consult the list below for a summary of infection control guidelines that exempted private daycares must adhere to:
Perform daily health assessments and exclude ill children
Perform daily health self-assessments and close daycare if operator becomes ill (in this case, both the operator and parents of children in care must contact the EOHU for guidance)
Put in place enhanced environmental cleaning and disinfection practices
Implement social distancing measures (staggered pick-up and drop-off times, as well as staggered activity times)
For the complete list of infection control measures that must be implemented, daycare operators can consult the infection control guidance documents on the EOHU’s website at www.eohu.ca/en/my-community/2019-novel-coronavirus-information-for-scho…
The situation regarding the closure of establishments is rapidly evolving as the province balances the provision of essential services for the public with the need to isolate individuals as much as possible to contain the spread of COVID-19.

 

Forced to close? Here is a check list

publisher Mar 24, 2020 - 3:46pm

If your business is being forced to close because of COVID-19, the Ontario Provincial Police provides this "to do" list.

Remove all valuables from storefront displays
Remove all cash from tills and leave open with the cash tray out and visibly empty
Ensure alarm systems are working and all contact lists are up-to-date
Post on doors/windows that the premises are monitored by an alarm company and that no money is kept on the premises. Include the 1-888-310-1122 number to call the OPP should anyone notice a break-in or damage
Clean all windows and floors prior to leaving and note when you've done so (have a log) as this will help investigators should there be a break-in
Consider a surveillance system which can be monitored remotely by phone/online
Consider putting a laminate on all windows/glass to discourage and help prevent easy entry
Keep some lighting on inside to help with video surveillance and consider lighting on timers if possible
Ensure all doors and windows are locked and secure
Ensure all exterior lighting is functioning and on - consider motion sensor lights as another option
Remove anything on the exterior which could be used to gain entry to your premises (bricks, ladders, poles, construction materials)
Regularly check the building and keep track of when you check (have a log) but go at different times
Like your home, if it looks cared for and looks like someone is home or around regularly, thieves will move on to other locations

Hydro break

publisher Mar 24, 2020 - 1:54pm

Province suspending time-of-use rates for 45 days

For a 45-day period, the government is working to suspend time-of-use electricity rates, holding electricity prices to the off-peak rate of 10.1 cents-per-kilowatt-hour. This reduced price will be available 24 hours per day, seven days a week to all time-of-use customers, who make up the majority of electricity consumers in the province. By switching to a fixed off-peak rate, time-of-use customers will see rate reductions of over 50 per cent compared to on-peak rates.

To deliver savings as quickly and conveniently as possible, this discount will be applied automatically to electricity bills without the need for customers to fill out an application form.

Third COVID-19 case

publisher Mar 22, 2020 - 3:15pm

Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health at the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU), has confirmed a third positive case of COVID-19 in the EOHU area. The individual in their 30’s is from Prescott-Russell and does not have a history of travel. Investigations are still underway.


Following testing at an Ottawa assessment centre, the individual returned home where they remain in self-isolation, following Public Health direction. The individual’s close family contacts are also in self-isolation.

The individual is a healthcare worker at The Ottawa Hospital. Ottawa Public Health and The Ottawa Hospital have been actively engaged in the investigation and contact tracing of individuals or patients who may have been in close contact with the healthcare worker at the hospital. The EOHU has been investigating and tracing contacts in the EOHU region. The investigation is ongoing.

The EOHU is reminding residents of the importance of staying at home in order to reduce the risk of getting or spreading COVID-19. It is also recommending the following:

•    Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer
•    Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you have just cleaned your hands
•    Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or into your arm, not your hand
•    Practise social distancing: do your best to keep at least 2 metres away from others
•    Stay/work at home as much as possible and avoid non-essential outings
•    Stay at home if you are sick 
•    If you are over the age of 70, stay at home unless absolutely necessary

Testing centre in Hawkesbury; home service

publisher Mar 21, 2020 - 10:54am
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) is collaborating with local EMS to implement a special Community Paramedic Program in preparation for the potential increase in COVID-19 cases in the area. The new program aims to provide faster access to testing and assessments for individuals who are at higher risk, such as seniors and people with underlying health conditions, while reducing the strain on 911 services and hospital emergency rooms. Assessing and testing higher-risk individuals at home will also help reduce the possibility of spreading the virus in hospitals and doctors’ offices, as well as the larger community.

“With an increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Ontario and across Canada, we anticipate that there will be a growing need for COVID-19 testing and assessments in our community as well,” says Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health. “We’re hoping that a mobile testing/assessment service will help reduce the number of people calling 911 and visiting hospital emergency rooms, unless they require urgent care.”

In-home testing/assessments will only be offered to more vulnerable individuals who meet the Ministry of Health’s criteria. Residents who think they have COVID-19 symptoms and who are age 70 or older, or who have compromised immune systems or chronic health conditions should call the EOHU at 613-933-1375 or 1-800-267-7120. They should not call EMS or 911 unless they have severe symptoms and require urgent care.

Public health nurses are staffing the EOHU phone line 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. They will assess symptoms and provide instructions to callers. These could include recommendations to self-monitor, self-isolate or seek medical care.

Based on the telephone assessment, if testing may be required for an individual at higher risk, the EOHU will coordinate with the Community Paramedic Program to send a paramedic to the individual’s home to conduct an assessment and if needed, a COVID-19 test.

At the same time, the EOHU, in partnership with the Hawkesbury and District General Hospital, is opening a COVID-19 testing and assessment centre in Hawkesbury March 23.

The centre at 750 Laurier S. will be open Monday through Friday each week, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“The aim of the testing/assessment centre is to increase access to COVID-19 testing and medical assessments for EOHU area residents, while reducing the strain on 911, EMS and hospital emergency rooms so that they can focus on urgent care,” says Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health. “It will also reduce the risk of spreading the virus in hospitals and doctors’ offices, helping us to protect healthcare workers and other patients from COVID-19 infection.”

Testing/Assessment Centre limited to people with moderate, worsening (but non-severe) symptoms

The EOHU stresses that not everyone who is concerned that they may have COVID-19 should go to the testing/assessment centre. Only people who have worsening, but not severe, COVID-19 symptoms (such as fever and worsening cough) should go to the centre for testing and/or assessment. Not everyone may be tested; the decision to test will be based on symptoms, travel history, and contact history.

Residents with mild symptoms that can be managed at home should not show up at the centre as they will not be tested or assessed. Residents who have symptoms and are age 70 or over, or who have chronic medical conditions or compromised immune systems should call the EOHU at 613-933-1375 or 1-800-267-7120. Anyone experiencing severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing should call 911 or go to the hospital emergency room.

For additional details, visit www.eohu.ca/coronavirus.

“HGH is grateful for this partnership with the Eastern Ontario Health Unit. This COVID-19 Assessment Centre will help protect our patients, their families, our employees and our physicians,” states Dr. Julie Maranda, Chief of Staff at the Hawkesbury and District General Hospital. “The hope is we can stay ahead of the game and prevent the spread of the virus as much as possible.”

Additional testing/assessment centres are expected to open in the region soon. The EOHU will notify the public when these centres become available.

 

Doctors petition government

publisher Mar 19, 2020 - 1:35pm

Doctors petition government

Dr. Melissa Yuan-Innes has started a petition urging the federal government to assure health care professionals have personal protective equipment.

The petition reads:
"Our front line health care workers are already running out of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as N95 masks, surgical masks, gloves, and gowns. We also need access to hoods, face shields, goggles, and other protective equipment. There is a critical shortage of COVID-19 test kits, ventilators, hand sanitizer, and medications that might treat COVID-19 patients.

This is unacceptably dangerous for health care workers and, in turn, the public.

We understand the shortage is because many items were manufactured in China and Italy and that there is a global shortage.

We urge you to mount a war-like effort to

1. Repurpose factories and skilled workers now to manufacture these items domestically and prioritize distribution to health care workers, who are not only human beings with their own hopes and dreams, but offer irreplaceable skills during a pandemic;

2. Call on individuals to donate sealed items that they have stockpiled to hospitals and clinics, and educate them about scarcity;

3. Research how we can reuse existing stock more safely in the face of COVID-19 with bleach, UV light, or other techniques, and the possibility of reusable cloth masks or gowns;

4. Liberate any stockpiled PPE from the SARS epidemic. Many of us would be willing to sign waivers and use expired PPE rather than nothing;

5. Buy any possible stock from China and other countries;

6. Expand COVID-19 testing capabilities and treatment facilities;

7. Repurpose distilleries to manufacture hand sanitizer; and

8. Manufacture chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), and anti-virals that could potentially treat COVID-19 patients but are currently backordered and unavailable.

In the meantime, it would help our efforts greatly if you legislated every individual to self-isolate."