Dear friends and neighbours,
Yesterday we woke up to the news that it was the deadliest day of the pandemic so far. With the highest number of cases and deaths so far, it’s safe to say we’re all on edge.
How are you? How are you coping?
Of course, it goes without saying that we need to follow public health guidelines. Our public health units are doing their best to keep us safe but they continue to be stretched thin. For example, the Middlesex-London Health Unit is now relying on confirmed COVID-19 cases to make first contact with the people they’ve been close to, an operational change they say is necessary as case counts surge to unprecedented highs.
My colleagues and I have urged the Premier to urgently recall the legislature because important COVID measures need to be passed. We need to make sure our public health units get the resources they desperately need, that our loved ones in long-term care are protected, that schools are safe to re-open sooner rather than later. We can get back to “normal” quicker only if paid sick days are reinstated, residential and commercial evictions are banned, small businesses get financial support and the vaccine program runs efficiently.
The above is some of what I’m pushing for on behalf of my London-Fanshwe community. What do you think I should be pushing for?
As always, though my office is physically closed due to the lockdown, my staff and I continue to be available to you via email or telephone.
Yesterday, the provincial government announced the school closure would be extended until January 25th.
I know this will be a hardship for many of you who have to work while caring for kids at home. My Opposition colleagues and I are urging the government to introduce a family care days program to ensure parents with children learning at home don’t miss a pay cheque.
We're also calling on the Premier to implement the below to ensure classroom are safe to return to sooner rather than later:
- broad in-school asymptomatic testing program
- capped class sizes at 15
- properly ventilated classrooms with enough space to socially distance
- speed up the lethargic vaccination program and get teachers and education workers their shots ASAP
For a local perspective and analysis, read more here.
*TVDSB just announced that the extension might last beyond Jan. 25th. I’ll be sure to keep you posted.
The government reported Tuesday that nearly 400,000 doses of the vaccine will arrive in January. Yet it only plans to give out the first dose of the vaccine to about 55,000 nursing home residents over the next two weeks, and is only focusing on residents in four regions.
For seniors who live in the 138 homes in outbreak outside those regions, and for other long-term care residents across Ontario, the wait for a vaccine could be additional weeks or even longer. We need a faster vaccination schedule in long-term care homes.
Resources in the community:
Addiction Services Thames Valley
ADSTV has launched a selection of Supportive Information Sessions online at adstv.ca. These recorded sessions and downloadable tools are based on ones previously offered nearly every weekday at their facility. ADSTV is also preparing to provide services in a face-to-face setting. Visit their website for updates.
Hydro bill assistance
Monday July 13th, eligible London Hydro customers who have fallen behind on their bills because of the pandemic can apply for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program. For details on the program see: http://oeb.ca/CEAP To apply check: http://londonhydro.com on Monday
Online Tool to Find COVID-19 Financial Help
The Government of Canada has released a new web-based benefits finder tool to help people living in Canada determine which government benefits programs best meet their needs. The tool includes provincial benefit programs.
The Canadian Mental Health Association has launched Friendly Callers, a new outreach program that matches volunteers with seniors for a weekly check-in. If you, your parents, your neighbours, or any senior you know would like to participate in this program, call CMHA at 519-434-9191 ext. 2223 or email [email protected] Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Emergency Community Support Fund
Community service agencies can now apply for emergency funding through the Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF). These funds are for you to respond to COVID-19 in your community.
Canadian Mental Health Association
The Canadian Mental Health Association has put together a list of supports available in Ontario.
London Small Business webinars
The London Small Business Centre has compiled a collection of webinars covering a range of business topics. The webinars listed are offered by our local community, organizations throughout Ontario and beyond.
LifeSpin put together this list of resources for folks in London.
CLEO has a legal resource specifically for COVID-19 related issues.
The Ontario Government has created a centralized COVID-19 page which can be found here.
Middlesex-London Health Unit has opened two COVID-19 screening centres. For more on that and other public health information visit Middlesex-London Health Unit’s page here.
If you are interested in up-to-date information regarding Ontario Government announcements and programs I recommend monitoring the Ontario Newsroom.