STATEMENT FROM THE MAYOR

Provincial State of Emergency, Stay-at-Home Order and Vaccination

January 15, 2021

This week has been challenging for us all as we adjust to the Province’s second declaration of Emergency and a new stay-at-home order. It affects how we do business, how children learn, how we interact with each other and how we carry on with our day-to-day lives. For ten months we have navigated unprecedented times together and I thank you for continuing forward with strength, perseverance and kindness as we face both the pandemic and all that it influences.

Municipal Services

In accordance with the new Provincial Orders, the Municipality has adjusted how residents access services in the areas of Childcare, Library Services, Recreation, Culture, Building & Planning, and Municipal Office Services. While the Stay-at-Home Order is in place, municipal staff remain available via email and telephone. Please allow time for staff to retrieve and address your needs and concerns. Email can be addressed to town@mississippimills.ca and our phone number is 613-256-2064. Council and Committee of the Whole will meet virtually during this time, but all other committee meetings are postponed unless urgent business arises.

I want to assure residents that essential municipal services including snow and ice control, waste collection, water and sewer and fire protection remain fully staffed and operational while the stay-at-home order is in effect. Please visit our website for full details: www.mississippimills.ca/en/news/provincial-state-of-emergency-and-stay-at-home-order-impact-on-municipal-services.aspx.

Getting Support

Some of our family, friends and neighbours need help or will need help in the days ahead. I have complied a list of resources available to our community with an expanded section on mental health and well-being that can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/MMResourceList. There are lots of programs available and many of them are free. Keep it handy if you or someone you know needs help.  If you’re not sure where to turn, try reaching out to Carebridge on their confidential line: 343-571-2312 (it’s a local call) or call 2-1-1 which is available 24/7.

Vaccination

Last night I participated in a call with other Heads of Council across Ontario with Premier Ford, Minister Elliott, Minister Clark, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones and General Hillier who leads the Provincial Vaccination Task Force. It was an opportunity to clarify the vaccination program’s phasing, the role of the local public health units as well as the province’s capacity to vaccinate. General Hillier indicated that the current capacity of the vaccination teams is 15,000 per day. Should additional vaccines become available, the Task Force can double their capacity to vaccinate within 96 hours.

Phase 1: Limited doses of the vaccine are available, so at this time vaccination is focused to residents, staff, essential caregivers (including family caregivers) and other employees in long-term-care homes.  Phase 1 will continue into March and will also include vaccination of health care and hospital workers, and Northern communities.   The Province expects to vaccinate 1.2 million people in Phase 1.

Phase 2: Depending on availability of vaccines, Phase 2 will run from March to July 2021 and vaccinate 8.5 million people. This phase will focus on frontline essential workers including first responders, teachers and education staff, people in high-risk congregate settings such as shelters, individuals with high-risk chronic conditions and older adults beginning with those 80 and older.

Phase 3: From August 2021 and beyond depending on vaccine availability, all remaining Ontarians in the general population who wish to be vaccinated will receive the vaccine.

More details about the provincial vaccination program here: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/covid-19-vaccines-ontario

Local Rollout

Locally, a shipment of COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine arrived at the Kingston Health Science Centre (KHSC) this week and marks the beginning of Phase 1 of the provincial vaccine rollout in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark.  The Province started vaccination rollout in red zones where rate of infection is the highest. Our health unit is working with the Kingston Health Sciences Centre and other neighbouring health units to ensure efficient distribution of vaccine to staff, residents and essential caregivers in long-term care homes, as well as in higher-risk retirement homes. The first long-term care workers in our region received the COVID-19 vaccine yesterday! The provincial government has set a target of vaccinating 100% of willing staff, residents, and essential caregivers in long-term care homes and higher-risk retirement homes by February 15, 2021.

I know many of you are eager to receive the vaccine. Please look to our medical officer of health, Dr. Paula Stewart, and her team at the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit for information about continued local rollout of the vaccination program. Note that vaccine availability is the key factor influencing the plan. I encourage you to watch our health unit’s website and social media channels for local updates as they become available.

Stay Informed

To receive all municipal updates, subcribe to the municipal newsfeed: www.mississippimills.ca/subscribe

For the most up-to-date and locally specific information on COVID-19, keep your eyes on the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit website: https://healthunit.org/.

In closing, I wish you strength and perseverance in the days ahead. Keep checking on those who may be feeling lonely or vulnerable and if you need help, reach out for support. Please be patient and kind to those you interact with online or while out of the home. I encourage you to also be patient and kind to yourself.  These are not easy times, but as we have proven to ourselves, our families, our neighbours and our community over and over during the last ten months – we can do hard things together.

Be safe, be well, and stay strong.

Christa Lowry

Mayor of Mississippi Mills

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