COVID-19 Response: Joint Statement from the Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula AND the Peninsula Family Health Team

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Media Release

March 31, 2020 – Over the past two weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the way we live, work, socialize and interact with our family and friends. Many of our day-to-day routines have been curtailed in the interest of working to keep our community healthy.

The Mayor and Council of the Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula and the Physicians of the Peninsula Family Health Team acknowledge that these are difficult and frightening days for many of our residents.

We have joined forces to ensure that we are able to regularly provide an update to our community on action plans to keep COVID-19 from sweeping through our community.

Starting today, and on every subsequent Tuesday and Friday, we will provide what we hope will be an informative, factual update with news you can use about how your community, your municipality, and your health care system is preparing to battle the pandemic. More frequent updates will be added when required.

The Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula has a Community Emergency Management Committee with resources to support the additional services that may be needed in our community.

The Physicians have been working closely with Grey Bruce Health Services. We are planning for the potential for hospital resources to be saturated at which point we will need alternate facilities to accommodate ill patients. As you can imagine, the creation of a temporary hospital setting will require additional supports, equipment, personnel and services, all of which will need to happen in a very short period of time. In the coming days we will put a call out for volunteers from the community where appropriate and necessary. This is where we will truly see our community come together!

The Physicians and staff at the Family Health Team have worked together with the hospital and the Golden Dawn Nursing Home to find creative ways to provide excellent care for each of you through our clinic system and through the hospital when necessary. We know that it is strange to find locked doors at our health care facilities. As you may know, the locked doors are a reminder that you need to call ahead as this allows staff to prepare for arrivals with the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE.) Please know that, although the doors may be locked, there are committed healthcare professionals working diligently in these facilities providing essential care to those who are unwell.

Seniors, we know that you are concerned about your risks with this illness. While it is true that you are at risk, your best defense is self-isolation/social-distancing especially from younger family members who may have contacts outside your home. Additionally, we are seeing concerning numbers in younger age groups in Canada and the USA. We all must be vigilant. Stay home if you are sick. Call the clinic if you are uncertain, or use the Ontario Public Health online self-assessment tool for COVID19.

We want to thank every one of you for the social distancing (2 metres + folks!) and self- isolation/quarantine you are doing. You will never know how many lives you saved. From self-isolating after your out of country return, to the person pumping your gas, to the grocery store clerk packing your food items – your actions today can help save others in our community from becoming ill.

THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO LET UP – what you do today makes a difference to the numbers of ill in 1-2 weeks because that’s how long the virus takes to cause illness once you’ve come in contact.

Continue to wash your hands often, 20-30 seconds with soap, and clean frequently-used surfaces well too. (resource: Health Canada COVID19)

Continue to avoid social gatherings and groups outside your own household. Continue to connect using distance means – phone, facetime, webcasts on your preferred platform. Support and be kind to one another.

We can do this, but we need to each do our part to ensure the Bruce Peninsula stays healthy! Let’s have the lowest patient and staff COVID19 infection rates in all of Ontario!!

Milt McIver, Mayor 

Dr. Elaine Blau, Lead Physician

Joint Statement #2 – April 3, 2020

We are in extraordinary times and, as a result, extraordinary measures are being taken. We know that many people are feeling anxious and unsettled and understandably so. Nevertheless, we are so very fortunate to live in a country where action is being taken. Locally, we have outstanding health care facilities. We acknowledge that while Grey Bruce Health Services, Lion’s Head Site, only has four (4) hospital beds and a small team of dedicated staff, they are there to help and are working closely with GBHS leadership to prepare for COVID-19 patient care in the coming days, weeks and months. 

We should also be mindful to look out for one another especially our seniors, those living on their own, and individuals with underlying health conditions. This could be a simple telephone call to a loved one or a friend to make sure everything is okay or to ask if they need some help. 

Thank you to the businesses in our community who continue to offer essential services to our residents. Your creativity, ingenuity and adaptability have demonstrated your strong commitment to providing for our community during the pandemic.

NBP continues to encourage seasonal residents to follow the advice of the Federal and Provincial Governments and the Public Health Agency of Canada to stay at their primary residences. In these uncertain times, everyone must recognize that health care resources in rural Ontario are limited and, in fact, being away from your own health care team and home hospital is discouraged during a pandemic. 

People appear to still be offering short term accommodation rentals in NBP even with the Provincial Government issuing stay-at-home orders. The Municipality urges all short-term accommodation rentals to cease immediately. Please be considerate of the health, safety and well-being of our residents.

One of the most common questions we’ve heard in the past several weeks is “How does the virus spread?” Coronavirus disease spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. This virus has achieved community level spread in Ontario now which means we must be even more vigilant.

You can protect yourself and help prevent spreading the virus to others if you:

-wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub

-cover your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue or flexed elbow when you cough or sneeze

-avoid close contact with people who are unwell

-stay home and self-isolate from others in the household if you feel unwell

-seek advice if you have been in contact with someone who may have COVID-19 (Source: Health Canada)

• All outdoor Municipal recreational amenities closed by Provincial Order on March 30, 2020. 

• Effective April 3, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., the Provincial Government enacted a TOTAL FIRE BAN on the Bruce Peninsula.

• All COVID-19 related information, Municipal and other agencies, is posted on the COVID-19 webpage on the Municipal website. Visit this page often, please. 

When we all work together, we can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 on the Peninsula. Stay well, self-isolate, check-in on a neighbour and wash your hands! Watch for our next update on Tuesday April 7th. 

Milt McIver, Mayor

Dr Elaine Blau, Lead Physician