Mayor’s Message on COVID-19 – April 21, 2020
Today marks 4 weeks since my first mayor’s message regarding this terrible pandemic. The numbers in Canada now stand at 36,831 infected, Ontario at 11,184 and Sudbury and District at 44.
There is now a confirmed case in a Sudbury long term care centre which is particularly concerning. Across Canada 1 in 6 nursing homes have infections.
In Ontario, our new cases continue in a very steep climb, no peak has been reached yet and the need for diligence in all aspects, from physical distancing to staying at home whenever possible, has not diminished.
Yesterday afternoon at our regularly scheduled council Zoom meeting several topics were discussed that relate directly to COVID-19. M’Chigeeng First Nation has offered their community complex as a supportive care location for COVID-19 patients, not only for their community but for patients from their neighbouring municipalities. The concept is to act as an additional physical support for mildly to moderately symptomatic COVID-19 patients whom do not require extensive nursing care and who can generally move about on their own. The thought currently is for patients that could be discharged to a lower level of care. A growing list of interested parties in this planning phase include Noojmowin Teg, Mnaamodzawin, M’Chigeeng First Nation, Wikwemikong and Billings Township. It will be a large undertaking to organize and hopefully something that will not be required, but to do nothing and hope for the best is not a particularly good option.
On April 16th, your township’s Emergency Control Group met to consider next best steps as a municipality and the topic of whether to declare a state of emergency (like a growing number of municipalities across Ontario) was discussed and further researched.
At our council meeting I relayed the results of our research by staff and council including some discussions I had with other mayors on the North Shore, one of which has already declared a state of emergency. It is extremely important to note that declaring an emergency within our municipality does NOT indicate that the municipality had lost control. An emergency declaration provides an opportunity to highlight action being taken under our municipal emergency response plan if it becomes necessary.
Controlling the potential for spread of this virus relies heavily on everyone’s active, and now we know, long-term, participation. It not only includes a unified message to our seasonal residents to limit their travel to Manitoulin, but equally important, a message to our full-time residents to stay at home as much as possible. With few exceptions, travel off of Manitoulin is not essential for most people.
As your Mayor, I have the responsibility to declare an emergency, the final decision as to whether to do so at this time will be made in consultation with our Emergency Control Group tomorrow.
Lastly, I want to comment on the horrific tragedy that has taken place in Nova Scotia over the weekend. There are no words to describe the impact of this senseless crime on so many. I know everyone will join me in offering our prayers and heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of those lost.
Thank you and stay safe,