Newsletter Signup

Burlington & Milton MPPs, Halton Mayors & Chair ask Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health to not roll Halton back to Stage 2

2D9C01BC-C520-4742-816F-89C60A944050

*Please see below a letter from Burlington MPP Jane McKenna, Milton MPP Parm Gill, Burlington and Milton Mayors and Halton’s Regional Chair to Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams.

October 24, 2020

Dr. David Williams
Chief Medical Officer of Health
393 University Ave., 21st Floor
Toronto, ON M5G 2M2

Dear Dr. Williams,

Throughout the pandemic governments and public health agencies at all levels, have worked together to protect the health and safety of Ontarians and Canadians.

For months, public health officials in Ontario and around the world have emphasized two key matrix in determining our success in fighting COVID-19: virus spread (including the number, type and setting of outbreaks) and health system capacity.

Considering the rate of virus spread over the past two weeks, Halton Region has averaged approximately 30 new cases per day — and just 16 new cases yesterday. In terms of hospitalization rates our numbers are low. Yesterday, Halton Region reported just 1 hospitalization in Burlington and Georgetown, 3 cases in Oakville and 5 cases in Milton. The Milton cases are directly related to a longterm care facility. To give some perspective, Burlington’s Joseph Brant Hospital currently has 91 surge beds available. In short, our rate of infection is declining (well below the provincial average), and we have significant hospital capacity.

Last week when York Region faced new restrictions, Halton Region came together. We acted quickly to implement several recommendations made by our Medical Officer of Health. Measures were enacted to restrict the use of municipal recreational facilities for organized sports and fitness classes. We also asked residents from identified hotspots to avoid non-essential travel to Halton Region. These measures are working.

In June, when we began to emerge from the lockdown, the advice given by our medical experts was to wait two weeks (the incubation period), before lifting any restrictions. When taken together with our decreasing case counts, there is no evidence to suggest that moving Halton to a modified Phase 2 will have any meaningful impact on reducing case counts. One thing that is certain, is that many people and businesses can not financially withstand another shutdown.

When York Region was moved back to a modified stage 2, you said that, “their positivity rate had moved past public health’s ‘high alert’ range of 2.5 percent.” This is not the case in Halton Region.

Earlier this week, during the daily media briefing on Monday, you mentioned that there was “evidence of plateauing” with COVID-19 cases. This is certainly welcome news, yet at the same time creates some confusion. Even with our numbers continuing to decline, we understand that Halton’s Medical Officer of Health is pushing to move Halton Region back to phase 2 next week, in line with Peel, Toronto, York and Ottawa.

During the height of COVID-19, the majority of Ontarians accepted unprecedented restrictions in order to stop the spread and flatten the curve. Now, nearly 7 months later the public is demanding more than just the blanket statement of “on the advice of medical experts.” In fact, without providing specific justification for implementing new restrictions, there is legitimate concern that people will start to ignore public health advice.

Over the past several weeks, we have all heard from constituents across Halton Region. They’ve told us they want public health and our levels of government to follow the data, and be transparent and accountable. Instead of imposing blanket measures, Halton residents are asking that we target activities and locations that pose the highest risk of transmission, including limiting non-essential travel outside of identified hotspots.

In these unprecedented times, individuals and businesses need to have some level of predictability and stability. This is why we are also calling on you to clearly define the criteria used to determine when further restrictions or rollbacks are required, as well as the criteria that must be met for lifting any restrictions or rollbacks.

Please know that we appreciate your tireless efforts on behalf of all Ontarians, and look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Jane McKenna, MPP Burlington
Parm Gill, MPP Milton
Gary Carr, Chair,  Halton Region
Marianne Meed Ward, Mayor, City of Burlington
Gordon Krantz, Mayor, Town of Milton

cc: Premier Doug Ford
cc: Hon. Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health
cc: Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health (Acting)
cc: Dr. Fiona Kouyoumdjian, Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health
cc: Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Medical Officer of Health (Halton Region)

RELATED LINKS:

PLEASE NOTE: To stay updated on what the City of Burlington is doing regarding COVID-19, please visit the dedicated pages burlington.ca/coronavirus (and subscribe) and bit.ly/mayormeedwardCOVID19updates, and our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page — bit.ly/COVID19BurlingtonFAQ that are updated as new information becomes available.

A Burlington COVID-19 Task Force has been created to help support our community through this unprecedented emergency — updates will be provided at burlington.ca/COVID19taskforce.

To report an incident of non-compliance with provincial emergency orders, please contact the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 Hotline: 905-825-4722.

We’ve also created a dedicated page to feature the local organizations and businesses that have inspired us during the COVID-19 pandemic by taking action to support our community in new and creative ways — head to bit.ly/covidwallofinspiration.

HELPFUL RESOURCES & RELATED LINKS:

*Posted by John Bkila, Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist

Receive new post notifications by email

2 thoughts on “Burlington & Milton MPPs, Halton Mayors & Chair ask Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health to not roll Halton back to Stage 2”

  1. Charlie Schwartz

    It is mentioned in this letter that Halton’s Medical Officer of Health is pushing to move Halton back to phase 2. Why is this? Let’s hear from our Halton Department of Health. Why is their thinking at odds with everyone else’s? It is troubling to hear it said Halton has only “averaged 30 new cases a day over the past 2 weeks.” Th is 30 cases a day TOO many! You talk about asking individuals from “hot spots” Not to come to Halton region but have no authority or way to stop it – another troubling issue. A few thoughts of mine I think should be addressed.

    1. Hi Charlie, this is John Bkila, the Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist. Thank you for your feedback and questions, we’ll share them with Halton Public Health and Halton’s MOH. We also recommend you share them directly with them at accesshalton@halton.ca and/or 311.

What's your take?

Here are guidelines before you comment, and our expectations before we will post:

  • Be civil. Would you speak this way to a good friend? If not, rewrite.
  • Focus on the issues. Build your argument and make your case in support of your opinion from facts, research or other sources. That way we can all learn. “I disagree with so-and-so because…” is fine; “So-and-so is naïve/stupid  for thinking the way he/she does and here’s why…” is not acceptable.
  • Don’t make personal attacks. Don’t assume motives of those you disagree with, make unfounded allegations, spread rumours, or engage in any other behaviours that would discourage you from participating if someone said this to, or about, you. The Golden Rule applies: Do unto others as you would have done to you. We will edit or not post comments with this type of content.
  • Say it once: When comments from the same individual or individuals become repetitive, going over ground already stated, we reserve the right to close commenting.
  • Use your full, and real, name. If wish to make a comment in public, we expect you will publicly stand behind it with your name. If you don’t want to publicly reveal your name, that’s fine; you are always welcome to share your thoughts with me privately via my email below. I welcome and consider all feedback in making decisions for the community.
  • Have fun, consider and learn. Share your views and read those of others. May we all benefit from a healthy exchange of ideas, and learn a little more about the people in our community, what you think, and what’s important to each of you. You may end up changing your mind about an issue; even if you don’t, we hope everyone will gain a greater understanding of why people have different perspectives.

Newsletter Sign Up

Phone: 905-335-7607
Email:  mayor@burlington.ca

Media Specialist: John Bkila
john.bkila@burlington.ca
905-335-7600