Province’s Official Opposition Leader Holds Video Roundtable for Ontarians struggling to Pay Rent due to COVID-19

News from Ontario’s NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

Posted April 1st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

QUEEN’S PARK – This March 31st, NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath held a roundtable by video conference for Ontarians struggling to pay rent amid the COVID-19 crisis. Horwath heard from Gillian Alexander in Hamilton and Sarah Twomey in Toronto.

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and her party have continually been pressing for more assistance for more vulnerable people through this crisis.

Alexander, a musician and freelancer, has lost performances and her teaching schedule because of COVID-19. She might be able to scrape by on rent this month by using some savings, but she’s worried about being able to keep putting groceries on the table next month. Continue reading

Praise for Essential Workers of All Kinds in Our Communities is Long Overdue

A Commentary by Linda McKellar, a retired emergency care nurse living in Fort Erie, Ontario

Posted March 30th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

I was speaking with a former co-worker and we both expressed how frustrating it was to need a pandemic before so many hard working and selfless people in all jobs were recognized.

I especially want to express my gratitude for all of those in my former profession who are still on the job. I can’t tell you how often medical workers are disrespected and verbally and even physically assaulted. (Statistics show even more than police!)

A co-worker’s leg was broken. Another suffered a stroke after a beating. I’ve seen doctors punched and expensive medical equipment destroyed. People come into the ER with weapons. Some said it was “part of the job” to take abuse. Continue reading

Province Moves to ‘Ease’ Financial Burden for Postsecondary Students During COVID-19

Ontario Enabling Students to Complete the Academic Year, Offering Loan Payment Deferrals and Financial Support for Institutions

A News Release from Ontario’s Ministry of Colleges and Universities

Posted March 31st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO — The government of Ontario is easing the financial burden on students and making sure they can complete their studies during the COVID-19 outbreak by temporarily deferring payments for Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loans and making online learning supports, including year-end exams, available to post-secondary institutions.

“During this unprecedented period, it is important to help students and current borrowers, so students can continue with their studies and borrowers do not have to worry about making loan payments,” said Premier Ford. “Our government is doing everything it can to ensure our college and university students can take their exams and complete their school year while studying remotely.”    Continue reading

Rent is Coming Due this April and Many Niagarians Need Help

‘It’s time for a rent subsidy so that people can not only get through the month, but make it to the other side of this crisis without the crushing debt of months of unpaid rent behind them.’

A News Commentary by Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

Posted March 31st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

For most residents of Niagara, it’s very likely that rent is due this week.

For too many of our neighbours the COVID-19 outbreak has meant lay-offs or lack of work which leaves people short of funds to pay rent.

It’s time for a rent subsidy so that people can not only get through the month, but make it to the other side of this crisis without the crushing debt of months of unpaid rent behind them.

I have said this before, COVID-19 is an extraordinary moment in Ontario’s history that requires equally extraordinary actions to tackle it. What we have is a health crisis alongside an economic crisis. When people already have little left in their budgets, COVID-19 can mean bills piling up without pay to match. People should be focused on their health, not rent or paying for groceries. Continue reading

Ontario Extends Emergency Declaration to Stop the Spread of COVID-19

All Outdoor Recreational Amenities across Province Now Closed

“Based on the best medical advice available, we are taking further steps today to protect the health and safety of all Ontarians by closing outdoor recreational amenities, like sports fields and playgrounds, and extending our emergency orders to save lives.” – Ontario Premier Doug Ford

News from the Office of Ontario’s Premier

Posted March 31st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

The City of St. Catharines wasted little time earlier this March closing down its playgrounds due to the coronavirus outbreak. Yellow tape is tied around the playground equipment.

TORONTO — In an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep people home, the Government of Ontario has extended the Declaration of Emergency and associated emergency measures, including the closure of non-essential workplaces and restrictions on social gatherings.

In addition, Ontario is issuing a new emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to close all outdoor recreational amenities, such as sports fields and playgrounds, effective immediately. These actions are based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

“I made a commitment to be open and upfront about what we need to do as a province to beat this virus,” said Premier Ford. Continue reading

BREAKING NEWS – Niagara, Ontario Now Has a Second Reported Death of a COVID-19 Patient in the Region

Number of confirmed cases of Niagara residents with Coronavirus has more than doubled in two days

A News Brief by Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

Posted March 30th, 2020

Niagara, Ontario – At 6:18 p.m. this March 30th, Niagara Health, the region’s amalgamated system of hospitals, reported Niagara’s second death from COVID-19 – the second death of a patient with the virus that the Niagara hospital system has reported here in the last six days.

The age and gender of the second person has not yet been disclosed, and Niagara At Large will provide updates when more information is available.

For the moment, here is the statement released this March 30th by Niagara Health –

“Niagara Health is saddened to report the second death late yesterday afternoon of a patient being treated at our St. Catharines Site for COVID-19. We would like to express our deepest condolences to the patient’s loved ones as they deal with this terrible loss. 

Niagara Health reminds the community of the seriousness of this pandemic and encourages everyone to follow the directions of regional, provincial and federal healthcare experts. You can help limit the spread of COVID-19 by staying home if you can, practicing physical distancing and washing your hands regularly.

Our team is working to its fullest capacity to maintain a quality and safe patient environment during these unprecedented times.”

The first coronavirus-related death in Niagara occurred on March 24th and was that of an 84-year-old man who resided at Grafton Gage Village, a retirement and long-term-care facility in St. Catharines. He reportedly was infested with the virus after coming into contact with a relative who had recently returned from a trip to Europe.

Dr. Mustafa Hirji, Niagara Region’s Medical Officer of Health (acting)

News of the second death in Niagara comes as Niagara Region’s acting Medical Health Officer Dr. Mustafa Hirji reported that the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Niagara, Ontario has jumped from 14 this past Saturday, March 28th, to 21 on Sunday, March 29th to 34 this Monday, March 30th.

When the first few cases in Niagara were confirmed earlier this March, they were all traced back to people who had travelled to other countries. According to Niagara Region’s Health Department, more than 20 of the 34 cases confirmed to date are related to travel outside the country.

Other confirmed cases are still being investigated for their origin, but Dr. Hirji warned at a recent meeting of Niagara’s regional council that it was “just a matter of time” before the region experiences cases transmitted from one person in the community to others.

That is all the more reason why everyone in Niagara should heed the warnings of health experts to stay at home as much as possible, to wash hands possible, and to practice social distancing by remaining at least six metres away from other persons when it is absolutely necessary to leave home to pick up food, pharmaceuticals and other essential items.

Shortly after Niagara Health circulated the news release about the second death, it followed up by sending out the following information –

“We understand the community’s concern with COVID-19 and its impact on the Niagara region. Beginning Monday, March 30, we will publicly report on the patient activity and testing taking place at Niagara Health related to COVID-19.

This data will be updated daily at 4 p.m.:  https://www.niagarahealth.on.ca/site/covid-19-case-reporting

We ask for your understanding with the reporting of patients who pass away. These updates will be made as soon as possible noting our priority is to first notify family and loved ones.’

Niagara Health reminds the community of the seriousness of this pandemic and encourages everyone to follow the directions of regional, provincial and federal healthcare experts. You can help limit the spread of COVID-19 by staying home if you can, practicing physical distancing and washing your hands regularly.”

Niagara At Large urges all of you to please take this pandemic seriously, and for the sake of yourselves, your family and friends, and everyone else in the community, take every precaution possible to isolate yourselves and to prevent contracting this killer virus.

Stay home, stay strong and stay safe!

To read a piece Niagara At Large posted on March 24th about the first COVID-19-related death in Niagara, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2020/03/24/breaking-news-niagara-health-reports-first-death-of-a-covid-19-patient-in-our-niagara-region/

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post, along with your name (not a pseudonym), in the space immediately below.

 

Niagara, Ontario’s Brock University Gearing Up to Contribute to COVID-19 Response

Brock U.’s Level 3 containment laboratory (CL3) has been approved by the Canadian government to be used for COVID-19 research

A News Report from Cathy Majteny at Brock University in St. Catharines/Nagara

Posted March 30th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Brock University’s Level 3 containment laboratory (CL3) has been approved by the Canadian government to be used for COVID-19 research.

Brock University’s research community is stepping up to contribute supplies, facilities and expertise to Canada’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brock has made available supplies of gloves, masks and chemicals to Niagara Public Health, and researchers are also discussing ways to use the University’s Level 3 containment laboratory (CL3).

The Canadian government has already approved Brock’s CL3 lab to be used for COVID-19 research.

“We’re taking a range of steps to prepare for requests that might emerge for research and testing,” says Vice-President Research, Tim Kenyon. “We have a wide variety of expertise and facilities here that can be deployed in the greater fight against this virus.” Continue reading