With the rise in the number of cases, the Government took further steps this week by introducing additional measures in public settings to help keep the province open, stop the spread of COVID-19, and protect the health and well-being of all Ontarians. Effective, September 22, you will be required to provide proof of identification and be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to access certain non-essential businesses and venues. Restricted settings include indoor restaurants, outdoor restaurants with dance facilities, gyms, pools, sporting events, cinemas, and indoor spectator areas. Exceptions include but are not limited to children under age 12, youth under age 18 participating in indoor organized sports, including training, practices, games and competitions, and patrons with a medical exemption. To quote Premier Ford, “We owe it to our businesses to do everything we can to avoid lockdowns.” The certificate was issued when you were vaccinated, but it can also be obtained at a Service Ontario centre, by calling 1-833-943-3900, or by downloading it at https://covid19.ontariohealth.ca/. The digital version is undergoing final testing and should be available by mid-October.
Our EOHU region is experiencing a significant increase in active cases, more than doubling in the week leading up to this past Wednesday. Fueled by the Delta variant, we see similar increases across the province and the country. We know that vaccines provide excellent protection, for data shows that you are 42 times more likely to end up in our limited ICU beds than those fully vaccinated. If you haven’t received your two doses, please check out the EOHU’s website at www.EOHU.ca for times and locations. Numerous people are concerned about receiving the vaccine, but the evidence clearly shows that you are many times more likely to experience serious health issues from the virus than from the vaccine. So it is welcome news that Pfizer has determined that its vaccine is safe and effective for children five to 11 years of age. I am hopeful that Health Canada will verify Pfizer’s conclusion after further evaluation and approve it for use. This will be a significant next step in helping us keep our schools safe and students in the classroom.
I was happy to see our Government approve our region’s Health Team proposal this week. Health Teams are the next step in transforming the province’s health care system and have already proven their effectiveness. As Deputy Premier and Health Minister Christine Elliott has said: “Throughout the pandemic, Ontario Health Teams have been an essential part of the province’s COVID-19 response, working quickly across all partners to support each other and protect the health and safety of Ontarians. The Cornwall and SDG Health Team will build on the progress made to date by improving outcomes for even more patients and making it easier for Ontarians to navigate their health care journey during COVID-19 and in the future.”
I want to thank all the candidates who ran in this past week’s federal election. Their hard work provided electors with a choice, which is the basis of our democracy. Congratulations to Eric Duncan for winning his second election as a Member of Parliament. I look forward to continuing our productive collaboration for the betterment of Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry residents.
As always, stay safe and get vaccinated if you have not done so.
Regards, Jim McDonell MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry