Keeping the public well informed a key role for our leaders during this pandemic

MPP Jim McDonell, in Bonville on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

This Week at Queen’s Park

by Jim McDonell 

I want to thank all the residents, businesses, and municipalities of Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry, and the City of Cornwall for their terrific cooperation in battling this deadly virus. And again, a special thank you to the health care practitioners, cashiers, delivery and truck drivers, police, firefighters, and many more essential workers and their support teams who are looking after our needs. They deserve our deepest gratitude for being there for us. 

The government’s priority is to protect all Ontarians by identifying the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19. We have the benefit of being able to evaluate the results of actions taken by countries that experienced this virus earlier on. The data indicated that the spread of the virus must be limited to ensure that our medical system is not overwhelmed and to allow time to increase our capacity. The people of Ontario took on this challenge as we closed schools and non-essential businesses, restricted gatherings to under five people, and practiced two-metre physical distancing. The time gained by these actions has allowed us to secure critical personal protection equipment to supply our frontline staff, to add 2,500 acute hospital beds, and increase critical- care beds equipped with ventilators by more than 115 percent, with more on the way. 

It also became clear to our government early on in this global pandemic, that we must keep the public up-to-date with the latest information and guidelines. To this end, the Premier, cabinet ministers, and our provincial medical officer of health have held press conferences six days a week, to update the public on the current situation, planned action, and support programs for residents and businesses. We also established a central website where you can find all this information, updated twice a day on www.ontario.ca/covid-19. The site has the latest guidelines, statistics, and updates, and personal requirements. It also lays out the various support programs by category; People, Students and Parents, Workers, and Businesses. If you can’t find the answer to your question, our constituent office staff is available online at Jim.McDonellco@pc.ola.org or by phone at 613-933-6513. 

During this pandemic, we have relied on the knowledge of our medical and scientific experts. They have proven to be invaluable as they evaluate the vast amount of data being collected around the world and help us apply it to our country, province, and region. Locally, Dr. Paul Roumeliotis of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit has been very active on provincial boards and locally with weekly updates to our municipalities. His team has been working with our local businesses to ensure they are aware of operating procedures required in serving the public. Local information is provided on their website www.EOHU.ca and is available online at info@eohu.ca or by phone at 613-933-1375 or toll- free, 1-800-267-7120. 

Over the past few weeks, MP Eric Duncan and I have been hosting virtual meetings with municipalities and local businesses. Next week we plan to hold a public session on Tuesday evening and another business one on Thursday evening. Please check our Facebook pages for access information. 

As we work our way through this unprecedented time, I want to remind people to stay home, practice physical distancing and frequent hand washing, stay informed, and stay safe.

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