Home > COVID-19 Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit Media Releases & Information

COVID-19 Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit Media Releases & Information

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Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

January 20, 2021

Food Safety during the pandemic

The Health Unit recognizes that COVID-19 has been tough financially on many of our citizens and that some people may have started a new home business that involves food to help make some extra money. For people who are thinking of opening a food-related business in their home, it is important to do your research before starting. Public Health Inspectors are available to help guide you through the process which may help prevent delays in opening and extra costs.

Food businesses (restaurants or in a home setting) must be approved not only by the Health Unit but by your local municipality. Those starting a home based food business must have a kitchen that complies with the Ontario Building Code, the Ontario Fire Code, municipal zoning by-laws and the Ontario Food Premises Regulations.

Food businesses that require inspection include restaurants, food retail stores, bakeries, caterers, food processors and even home based food businesses. Under the Health Protection and Promotion Act a “food premises” means a premises where food or milk is manufactured, processed, prepared, stored, handled, displayed, distributed, transported, sold or offered for sale. Whether you sell directly from home, deliver, or sell online these regulations still apply.

Anyone intending to operate a food premises must notify the health unit in which they wish to operate. A food premises cannot operate without prior approval from the Health Unit because we need to ensure that the food prepared will be safe for consumption and that safety protocols are in place for staff.

During operating hours, every food premises must have at least one person present who has their Food Handler Certification.  While operating during COVID-19, there are extra rules for keeping the workplace safe, including actively screening all employees for COVID-19 before every shift, using personal protective equipment including masks and most importantly having a workplace safety plan. The Health Unit is here to help guide the opening and operating of food premises.

For more information please visit the Food Safety section of our website at healthunit.org, email us at contact@healthunit.org or call us at 1-800-660-5853.

Posted January 20, 2021


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

January 15, 2021

First COVID-19 Vaccination in LGL

The shipment of COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine to Kingston Health Science Centre (KHSC) this week marks the beginning of Phase 1 of the provincial vaccine rollout in the South East region, including Leeds, Grenville and Lanark. The province initially provided COVID-19 vaccine to areas with the highest rates of COVID-19 infection. It is important to note that some areas in Ontario started receiving vaccine before the South East region. These areas are further along in their vaccine distribution. Our region will catch up as vaccine becomes more available.

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit is working closely with Kingston Health Science 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 from the LGL region to receive the COVID-19 vaccine were immunized yesterday at Kingston Health Science Centre. The health care workers were excited and grateful to be getting the vaccine to help protect themselves and the residents in their care.

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. By immunizing and protecting people in these priority groups and those who provide care for them, we will decrease the risk of COVID-19, and outbreaks, among those who are at greatest risk of serious COVID-19 infection.

The Health Unit will also begin the roll out of mobile clinics to local long-term care homes and higher risk retirement homes over the next week. These mobile clinics will be delivered in partnership with our homes, Emergency Medical Services and healthcare partners who have offered to support COVID-19 vaccination distribution in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark.

“I am very pleased to see the first COVID-19 immunizations happen in LGL, and am proud of all of the hard work to get to this point,” states Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health for the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit. “This is an important milestone in protecting a vulnerable population in our community.’

We know many people are eagerly anticipating their turn to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. The Health Unit’s local COVID-19 Vaccination distribution plan aligns with the provincial COVID-19 vaccination program. Planning for began last spring when we reviewed and updated our community immunization plan. Since then we have added to the plan new information about the administration and storage of the approved COVID-19 vaccines, the priority groups set by the province, options for proving the vaccine to individuals and groups with our partners, and what vaccines might come to us and when. Our experienced staff has contributed to all aspects of this plan, and we are actively working with our health care partners on its implementation. The availability of the vaccine is the key factor influencing the roll out of the plan. Details will be posted on our website as they are available.

Until the majority of individuals in our population have been immunized, we all must continue to do everything we can to protect one another from the spread of illness by being COVID-19 SMART. The continued efforts of individuals and families will help keep the number of positive cases low in our area and help our community stay safe until vaccines are available to all. The people who are immunized must also follow all these precautions as we don’t know yet if the vaccine prevents the virus form being transmitted, in addition to preventing symptoms.

Public messages will be shared on our website and social media, as well as through local media channels when we know more about the next steps. The Health Unit regularly sends information directly to health care providers and they will also be updated through this approach. If a physician is not on our list, they can contact us to receive these updates. For more detailed information and FAQs about the vaccine visit the COVID-19 Protection and Vaccine section of our website.

Posted January 15, 2021


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

January 7, 2021

Outbreak declared at Kemptville Retirement Living

The Health Unit is working with Kemptville Retirement Living to manage a COVID-19 outbreak. One staff member has tested positive for COVID-19. Enhanced infection control measures under the Long-Term Care Home Act have been put in place to manage the outbreak and are being monitored by the Health Unit.

Statement from Kemptville Retirement Living Inc.: We are working diligently with health authorities, staff members and residents to ensure the safety of all concerned.  Our team members are working dedicatedly and with total commitment to contain this outbreak, and we are so proud of their continuous efforts.  Residents are committed to respecting and following all protocols, and we appreciate their patience during this difficult time.  We have also received tremendous support from all our family members.

“Along with the increase in local cases of COVID-19, this outbreak serves as a reminder to the community to continue to be COVID-SMART,” says Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health. “I encourage everyone to self-isolate if you have COVID-19 symptoms and get tested, wear a mask or face covering when you cannot maintain a distance of 2 metres from others, and to practice regular hand hygiene.”

The best way to get reliable information about COVID-19 is by visiting https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/. Please call the Health Unit if you have any questions at 1-800-660-5853 from 8:30 to 4:30 every day. You can also get important public health updates about COVID-19 by connecting with LGLHealthunit on Facebook and Twitter.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, self-isolate at home and then use Ontario’s Self-Assessment Tool https://covid-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment/. Information about local COVID-19 assessment centres is available by visiting https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/assessment-testing-results/

Visit Ontario’s website, www.Ontario.ca/coronavirus to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.

Posted January 7, 2021


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

December 21, 2020

Leeds, Grenville and Lanark Region will be in shutdown as of Boxing Day

A provincewide shutdown will go into effect as of Saturday, December 26, 2020, at 12:01 am.

The restrictions are in effect for all of Ontario from Saturday, December 26, 2020 to Saturday, January 9, 2021.  The restrictions will remain in effect from Saturday, January 9, 2021 to Saturday, January 23, 2021 for all 27 public health unit regions in Southern Ontario. The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit is included in Southern Ontario.

The number of people in Ontario infected with COVID-19 has been increasing, people are moving from high transmission areas to low areas, and hospitals are reaching capacity across the province. The shutdown is designed to reverse this trend by reducing opportunities for the spread of COVID-19 through close contact with infected people.

Key elements of the provincewide shutdown include the following.

  • Childcare centres will remain open to support working parents; no school aged children between January 4 and 8. Emergency child care possibly available.
  • Elementary schools will be closed, and students will participate in remote learning for one week until January 11. For high school students, remote learning will continue until January 24.
  • Outdoor recreational amenities are open with physical distancing required and lockers, change rooms closed – no team sports if physical distancing not possible. Skill hills are closed.
  • No indoor organized social gatherings beyond the household (single people can join one other household).
  • Outdoor events and gatherings are limited to 10 people with physical distancing.
  • Wedding, funerals, and other religious services maximum 10 people indoors or outdoors – drive- in or virtual recommended.
  • Restaurants and bars take out only.
  • Stores selling food and pharmacies are open with 50% public area capacity and physical distancing required.
  • Personal care services are closed.
  • Select businesses open for curb side pick-up.

Check our COVID-19 and Business section for more detailed information.

“From March on, as a community we have committed to following public health precautions to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection. This has made a difference. Let’s continue with this same commitment during the next four weeks as we respond to the added restrictions. We have been here before in March and April, and managed by helping each other. Supporting our local business with on-line service and pick-up will help them survive this challenging time,” encourages Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health.

Being safe and protecting yourself means you are protecting your family, friends and co-workers.

  • S – Self-isolate if you have symptoms of COVID-19. Consider getting tested
  • M – Mask/face covering on properly when in enclosed public spaces and when physical distancing is a challenge outdoors.
  • A – Avoid touching your face.
  • R – Remain 2 metres/6 feet apart from people not part of your household – avoid play dates, and other close social contact. Social circles beyond the household are no long encouraged.
  • T – Twenty (20) seconds for regular hand hygiene. Cover your coughs and sneezes.

Businesses are encouraged to review the restrictions here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-provincewide-shutdown and contact protection@healthuit.org if they have specific questions.

For more information about COVID-19, visit: https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/ or call 1-800-660-5853. You can also connect with LGLHealthunit on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted December 22, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

December 16, 2020

Health Unit Holiday Hours

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit will continue to provide essential services related to COVID-19 throughout the holiday period. The Health Unit offices are closed to the walk-in public but phone lines, case and contact management, and emergency on call services will continue throughout the holiday period. As well, local Assessment Centres will continue to operate throughout the holiday period, with varying hours. Some non-COVID-19 services will be unavailable during the stat holidays Dec 24, 25, 28, 31 and Jan 1.

Our surveillance report will be available online at 4pm on December 23, 28, 29, 30 and then will resume Monday to Fridays on January 4th, 2021.

Our website will provide a complete list of services:

  • Health Unit phone lines – including questions about symptoms, isolation, testing and school issues (Call 1-800-660-5853 ext. 2222)
  • Hours of operation of Assessment Centres – Centres have varying hours over the holidays.
  • Well water bottle pick up and drop off
  • Sexual Health Clinics – To book appointments, please call 1-800-660-5853.
  • Immunization Clinics – To book appointments, please call 1-800-660-5853.
  • Smart works harm reduction services
  • For a public health emergency, call 613-345-5685

For information about recommendations for holiday gatherings, visit: https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/gatherings-social-circles/

Posted December 16, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

December 11, 2020

Leeds, Grenville and Lanark Region Moved to Yellow – Protect Level

Today the government of Ontario announced that the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark region will move from the Green–Prevent level to the Yellow – Protect level of the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open COVID-19 Framework. The sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in LGL over the past two weeks means that the region meets the criteria for the Yellow – Protect level, with a weekly incidence rate between 10 and 24.9 cases per 100,000.

The move to the Yellow – Protect level means that strengthened public health measures will come into effect in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark on Monday, December 14, at 12:01 a.m. The additional measures include limited hours of operations for certain settings, limits on the hours for sale food and beverage establishments, limits on the number of individuals permitted in certain settings, and formalized Workplace Safety Plans for many businesses and organizations. Full details of the limitations and restrictions for the Yellow – Protect Level can be found on the Health Unit’s website: https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/business-re-opening/framework/ .

Businesses in the affected sectors will be contacted directly; restaurants, fitness facilities and retail outlets are encouraged to check their email for important information from the Health Unit and contact protection@healthunit.org if they have questions.

“The move from Green-Prevent to the Yellow – Protect level in our region over the past two weeks highlights how quickly COVID-19 can spread when precautions aren’t in place,” comments Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health for the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit. “Our staff are working diligently to follow-up and isolate all people with COVID-19 and their high risk contacts to prevent transmission in our community.  We are relying on the residents, businesses, services and workplaces in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark to follow precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19 in their settings. It is in our hands to protect our communities, and prevent further restrictions at levels beyond yellow.”

Staying home and apart as much as we can is the most important thing we can do. Being safe and protecting yourself means you are protecting your family, friends and co-workers.

  • S – Self-isolate if you have symptoms of COVID-19. Consider getting tested
  • M – Mask/face covering on properly when in enclosed public spaces and when physical distancing is a challenge outdoors.
  • A – Avoid touching your face.
  • R – Remain 2 metres/6 feet apart from people not part of your household – avoid play dates, and other close social contact. Social circles beyond the household are no long encouraged.
  • T – Twenty (20) seconds for regular hand hygiene. Cover your coughs and sneezes.

The Keeping Ontario Safe and Open COVID-19 Framework categorizes public health unit regions into five levels: Green-Prevent, Yellow-Protect, Orange-Restrict, Red-Control, and Lockdown being a measure of last and urgent resort.

For more information about COVID-19, visit: https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/business-re-opening/framework/  or call 1-800-660-5853.

Posted December 11, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

December 9, 2020

Confirmed outbreak of COVID-19 at Gananoque Chevrolet and the CSN Gananoque Collision Centre

Today, Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health at Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit and Dr. Kieran Moore, Medical Officer of Health at KFL&A Public Health are advising the public that the Health Unit is following up on an outbreak of cases of COVID-19 at the Gananoque Chev Buick GMC Cadillac (Main Dealership includes sales, parts, service/garage) located at 439 King Street East Gananoque and CSN Gananoque Collision Centre 380 Herbert Street, Gananoque.

All customers from Gananoque Chev Buick GMC Cadillac Dealership or the CSN Gananoque Collision Centre location from December 2 to December 8, 2020 are advised to assess your interactions. Persons who interacted with staff during this time may have been exposed to COVID-19. We therefore recommend that you monitor yourself for symptoms and get tested should any develop.  If you are concerned about a high risk exposure, where either yourself or the staff member was in close proximity and not masked, then you should isolate and contact your local public health unit for further information.  KFL&A and LGL Public Health have already identified and reached out to many of the high-risk contacts.

“The well-being of the customers and staff is most important,” said Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health. “To protect the health of the public and prevent community spread, the Health Unit is following up with the workplace and conducting contact tracing.”

We advise you to:

  • If you have had a high risk exposure, then self isolate for 14 days from the day of your interaction. – this means staying at home, avoiding contact with others, and following public health precautions to prevent COVID-19
  • Self-monitor for symptoms using the Provincial screening tool
  • If you are experiencing or develop symptoms even mild ones, make an appointment for testing at a local Assessment Centre.
  • Follow the advice provided by the Assessment Centre and public health
  • If you are not symptomatic and have not been advised by public health to get tested please do not go for testing, as a test completed too early may not provide you with accurate results.

Leeds Grenville Community Paramedic Outreach Program is arranging for pop-up testing in Gananoque on December 10th in the Upstairs Hall at the Gananoque & TLTI Recreation Centre at 600 King Street East (enter through the North side entrance) from 10am to 4pm; no appointment is required.  To find your closest Ontario testing location to get a COVID‑19 test visit Ontario’s COVID-19 Testing Centre Location webpage or visit the Health Unit website. Assessment centres are open daily and appointments can be booked online or by phone.

 Individuals who have any concerns or questions regarding the outbreak at Gananoque Chev Buick GMC Cadillac Dealership or the CSN Gananoque Collision Centre location may call KFL&A Public Health at 613-549-1232 or Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit 1-800-660-5853.

Posted December 10, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

December 7, 2020

Critical Time to Reduce Further Spread of COVID-19

Following a sharp increase in people infected with COVID-19 over the past week, Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health for the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit is urging residents to carefully consider their actions at this critical time.  “We have seen a surge in the number of people newly infected from one or two new cases each day in previous weeks to up to eight new cases each day over the past week. This is affecting local businesses, workplaces, and schools,” explains Dr. Stewart.

 When someone tests positive for COVID-19 there are so many implications – it affects the health and well-being of the individual, their close contacts have to self-isolate for 14 days which could mean missing work or school, and it places a tremendous pressure on our healthcare system, economy and public health capacity.  Hosting or attending a single celebration dinner or event with friends or co-workers can have devastating consequences if one of the attendees is pre-symptomatic, as they will unknowingly spread COVID-19 to the others. 

With the holidays quickly approaching, it is an especially important time for residents and businesses to ensure they are doing everything they can to reduce further spread of COVID-19.  “I urge everyone to review all the COVID-SMART precautions to prevent COVID-19. This is not a time for complacency. Remember to stay home and away from others if you have symptoms of COVID-19, even mild ones, and book an appointment for testing,” Stewart adds. “It is critical that businesses have screening in place to ensure that their employees are not experiencing any symptoms at work.”

While we know that it’s frustrating to not celebrate in-person with our friends and family, we must remember that for us, this is a temporary measure – but for the families and friends of the over 12,000 Canadians who have lost their lives to COVID-19 – it is not.

Staying home and apart as much as we can is the most important thing we can do. Celebrating virtually can be done by all agreeing to find new and creative ways to connect. Being safe and protecting yourself means you are protecting your family, friends and co-workers.

·       S – Self-isolate if you have symptoms of COVID-19. Consider getting tested

·       M – Mask/face covering on properly when in enclosed public spaces and when physical distancing is a challenge outdoors.

·       A – Avoid touching your face.

·       R – Remain 2 metres/6 feet apart from people not part of your household.

·       T – Twenty (20) seconds for regular hand hygiene. Cover your coughs and sneezes.

When you hear either rumours or confirmation that a neighbour, co-worker, health care provider, or student has tested positive for COVID-19, resist the temptation to react, judge and spread private information.  While many of us are doing all we can to protect ourselves and those around us, some may be exposed due to circumstances beyond their own control. This is a difficult time for everyone; use your energy productively and for the good of the community. Focus your efforts on your own choices and actions.

For more information about COVID-19, visit: https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/ or call 1-800-660-5853.

Remember that we are all in this together. 

Posted December 7, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

December 2, 2020

Outbreak declared at Sherwood Park Manor in Brockville

The Health Unit is working with Sherwood Park Manor in Brockville to manage a COVID-19 outbreak. One resident has tested positive for COVID-19. Enhanced infection control measures under the Long-Term Care Home Act have been put in place to manage the outbreak and are being monitored by the Health Unit.  The resident has been isolated in their room.

“This is a concerning time for our home community, and our families. We will continue to keep them informed,” said Alfred O’Rourke, Administrator for Sherwood Park Manor.

“Along with the increase in local cases of COVID-19, this outbreak serves as a reminder to the community to continue to be COVID-SMART,” says Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health. “I encourage everyone to self-isolate if you have COVID-19 symptoms and get tested, wear a mask or face covering when you cannot maintain a distance of 2 metres from others, and to practice regular hand hygiene.”

The best way to get reliable information about COVID-19 is by visiting https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/. Please call the Health Unit if you have any questions at 1-800-660-5853 from 8:30 to 4:30 every day. You can also get important public health updates by connecting with LGLHealthunit on Facebook and Twitter.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, self-isolate at home and then use Ontario’s Self-Assessment Tool https://covid-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment/. Information about local COVID-19 assessment centres is available by visiting https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/assessment-testing-results/

Visit Ontario’s website, www.Ontario.ca/coronavirus to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.

Posted December 3, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

Dec 1, 2020

Outbreak declared at FoxRun Retirement Residence in Gananoque

The Health Unit is working with FoxRun by the River Retirement Residence in Gananoque to manage a COVID-19 outbreak. One staff member has tested positive for COVID-19. Enhanced infection control measures under the Long-Term Care Home Act have been put in place to manage the outbreak and are being monitored by the Health Unit.  The staff member is at home self-isolating and following the direction of public health and ministry requirements.

FoxRun Retirement Residence Management provided this statement: “FoxRun’s residents, staff and families will all work together to keep our residents safe and we appreciate the support and help of our Health Unit in this effort.”

“Along with the increase in local cases of COVID-19, this outbreak serves as a reminder to the community to continue to be COVID-SMART,” says Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health. “I encourage everyone to self-isolate if you have COVID-19 symptoms and get tested, wear a mask or face covering when you cannot maintain a distance of 2 metres from others, and to practice regular hand hygiene.”

The best way to get reliable information about COVID-19 is by visiting https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/. Please call the Health Unit if you have any questions at 1-800-660-5853 from 8:30 to 4:30 every day. You can also get important public health updates by connecting with LGLHealthunit on Facebook and Twitter.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, self-isolate at home and then use Ontario’s Self-Assessment Tool https://covid-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment/. Information about local COVID-19 assessment centres is available by visiting https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/assessment-testing-results/

Visit Ontario’s website, www.Ontario.ca/coronavirus to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.

Posted December 2, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

December 1, 2020

Health Unit encourages you to make this holiday season meaningful and memorable

Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice or more… this year it is going to look different. Different doesn’t have to be bad though. It’s all about framing expectations and being creative; and to make this holiday season meaningful and memorable.

The current state of our LGL area is we are in the GREEN-PROTECT level of Ontario’s COVID-19 Framework. We encourage people check this status through our social media channels and website when planning or before attending events.

Here are 2 things to focus on this year to celebrate and still stay safe:

  1. Make it More Intimate – With large gatherings on the ‘naughty-list’ – think small this year. Instead of large group lunches, dinners or parties, plan more personal ‘Secret-Santa’ type ideas that could involve random acts of kindness.
  2. Make it About Others – 2020 is the perfect time to think about those who are struggling. Challenge work-mates and family members to donate funds, gifts, food or other supplies to local charities. (see the ‘Tips for Giving’ section of our website)

Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household (who are consistently careful to reduce the spread of COVID-19) poses the lowest risk for spread. In-person gatherings that bring together family members or friends from different households, including college students returning home can increase the levels of risk. Here are some ideas on how to modify some of our traditions:

For Workplaces:

Instead of Large team pot luck or restaurant lunch…Try ordering take-out from everyone’s favourite local place. Space out the seats in the lunch room or bigger room in your office so everyone is 2m apart (may need to schedule in shifts or different days if there is not enough space). If people are working from home, book a virtual video meeting so you can still enjoy the social connections.

Instead of White Elephant gift exchanges where people gather in a large group and make a game of stealing gifts from each other…Try drawing names virtually (Secret Santa style) to still enjoy the gift giving and receiving without compromising physical distancing. Make this year about others. Partner with a local Long-Term Care home or retirement residence to give virtual messages/letters to the residents.

Instead of Office parties…Try making this the year that you do something different. Try Secret virtual messages, since many colleagues could be working from home, this could be festive messages, recipes, photos/videos, positive notes and compliments; Office/work team fundraisers for local charities; Holiday sweater/poem/story/photo contests – find a way to make 2020 even more memorable!

For Family Celebrations:

Instead of a Family dinner…Try arranging a timed dinner with family via video calling so you can virtually eat together, regardless of location – across the country, with those in care, or even internationally.

Instead of Holiday baking with friends or family…Try making the same recipe with family or friends while video conferencing – like a virtual cooking show.

Instead of Holiday in-person visits…Try making time for virtual coffee or tea dates with friends and family or go walking or skating outdoors; Virtual countdown calendars (sending a message (email, text or DM) or mailing/dropping off messages to someone each day or week leading up to the holidays to keep things exciting)

Instead of Family in person gift exchange…Try mailing or dropping off gifts on doorstep; donating to local charities instead (we have a large section on our website with tips for giving).

For Community Celebration Ideas:

Instead of a Holiday Parade…Try doing a tour of local decorations. Map out driving routes to see festive displays at homes and businesses.

Instead of Community gatherings with donations for food drives or other donation events…Try planning food drives to be no contact with drop off sites and physical distancing and masks for volunteers with small numbers (preferably the same household members) working on the food baskets; Doorstep drop-off family gift baskets/snowsuits. Note: ensure proper hand washing and cleaning is in place when handling food or when donating used items.

Instead of Holiday concerts…Try planning a virtual concert where physical distancing is in place for performers (minimizing the numbers as much as possible), and extra measures are followed if people are singing or playing wind instruments (like having solos).

IF you do decide to plan a small gathering:

Restrictions can change quickly. Currently, the private social gathering limits are 10 indoors or 25 outdoors. Be sure to check the latest status of our region before attending or planning any events. Any gatherings of people outside your household are higher risk for spreading COVID-19. Consider whether people are travelling, who is attending, where you are holding the event and other ways to reduce the risk involved with gathering. See more about this on our website.

As always if you do find that over the holidays you are not feeling well, stay home and do the self-assessment tool on the Ministry’s website. If you are required to get tested, visit the nearest Assessment Centre or call the Heath Unit for information about mobile testing.

For more information about reducing the spread of COVID-19, contact the Health Unit at 1-800-660-5853. You can connect with LGLHealthUnit on Facebook and Twitter for important public health updates.

Posted December 1, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

November 25, 2020

Ontario’s Workplace Education and Enforcement Campaign comes to LGL this week

Inspection Blitz Helps to Prevent Spread of COVID-19 and Keep Workers and Public Safe

The Ontario government launched a series of education and enforcement campaigns to ensure businesses across the province are taking the necessary steps to keep employees, consumers and the public safe. These campaigns will support the current efforts of police, municipal by-law officers, and public health inspectors to educate businesses and enforce the COVID-19 health and safety requirements.

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit is pleased to welcome the Multi-Ministry Education and Enforcement Team to several communities on November 27 and 28, including Almonte, Carleton Place, Perth, Smiths Falls, Merrickville, Westport and Kemptville (if there is time).  Another visit will be organized at a later date for Brockville, Prescott and Gananoque, and Kemptville (if not already visited).

During the 2-day campaign provincial offences officers will be visiting local businesses (retail stores, restaurants, and gyms) to provide guidance on how to operate safely during the pandemic and comply with public health requirements under the Reopening Ontario Act.

The campaigns are being carried out by a team of 18 provincial offences officers from across ministries. To date, over 1,000 workplaces have been visited in other communities across Ontario, and the response from business owners and operators has been overwhelmingly positive.

During each visit, officers provide business owners with guidance on how to operate safely during the pandemic and comply with public health requirements under the Reopening Ontario Act. Businesses will be emailed a report after the visit. These campaigns are developed in consultation with local health units and support Ontario’s COVID-19 Response Framework under the Reopening Ontario Act.

These inspections are primarily focused on education and outreach – confirming that businesses are doing the right things and keeping employees, consumers and the public safe and providing them the opportunity to contact public health for continued support. The most common areas of non-compliance during all campaigns to date have been improper mask use, lack of employee screening, and improper sanitization. Locally the Health Unit has received several complaints about the lack of proper physical distancing or overcrowding at our local retail and food service businesses.  There are more than 200 sector-specific guidance resources at Ontario.ca/covidsafety to help business owners and operators create their workplace safety plan.

For more information about operating a business during COVID-19, visit: https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/business-re-opening/

Posted November 27, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

November 25, 2020

Two New Health Unit Service Site locations in Perth & Carleton Place

The Perth Service Site of the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit will be moving the week of November 30th to a new location at the Perth Medical Clinic at 14 Isabella St. across from the Perth Smiths Falls Hospital (only half a kilometre away from the current address at 1 Sherbrooke St.).

The new Perth location is closer to other health services and easier to access for our clients. In this location, we provide a Sexual Health Clinic every Monday (except holidays) and an Immunization Clinic on the 4th Monday of each month (except holidays). We also provide Smart Works Services (Needle Exchange Program) on Mondays and Fridays and Breastfeeding support by appointment.

The last Monday clinics at the old location will be on November 30th for Sexual Health clinic (10:30am–4:00pm – closed 12:00pm–1:00pm), Immunization clinic (9:30am–10:15am) and Smart Works (10:30am–4:00pm – closed 12:00pm–1:00pm). The last Friday Smart Works services will be on November 27th 9:00am–4:00pm (closed 12:00pm–1:00pm). There will be no Smart Works services available on Dec 4th. For information about the smart works locations, visit: https://healthunit.org/clinics-classes/needle-syringe-program-naloxone/

There will be no Immunization clinic at the new location in Perth until the end of January. For info about immunization, visit: https://healthunit.org/clinics-classes/immunization-clinic/

The first Sexual Health Clinic at the new location will be held Monday, December 7th with the new hours of 10:00am–4:00pm (closed 12:00pm–1:00pm); The first Immunization Clinic will be Monday,  January 25th  with the new hours of 9:00am to 9:45am. Appointments are recommended; book appointments by calling 613-283-2740 or visit our website for more information: https://healthunit.org/clinics-classes/sexual-health-clinic/ . The first Friday Smart Works services will be December 11th with the same hours of 9:00am–4:00pm (closed 12:00pm–1:00pm).

The Carleton Place Service Site has already moved to a new location and has adjusted hours at 30 Bennett Street, Carleton Place. In this location, we provide a Sexual Health Clinic on Tuesdays between 11:30am and 4:00pm. Call 613-256-1203 to book appointments.

For more information about Health Unit services, visit: https://healthunit.org/service-changes/ or call 1-800-660-5853. You can also connect with LGLHealthunit on Facebook and Twitter for important public health updates.

Posted November 27, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

November 20, 2020

Leeds Grenville COVID-19 Mobile Testing Unit

Starting November 24, 2020, COVID-19 testing provided by the Leeds Grenville Community Paramedic Outreach Program will be done indoors (no longer a drive thru model). The mobile unit is an extension of services provided by the Brockville COVID-19 Assessment Centre. Recently, the Brockville Assessment Centre changed to an online booking system that is very safe, easy and quick. To book an appointment at the Brockville Assessment Centre, visit this link to the new booking system. If you don’t have access to the internet or are having difficulty, contact: 613-704-1441.

The goal of this program is to offer COVID-19 assessment and testing in our more rural areas throughout Leeds and Grenville. This will improve access to testing, especially for those that have transportation concerns. In home testing can also be arranged for those with transportation and/or mobility concerns by calling the Health Unit at 1-800-660-5856 x 2222. Information about the hours, schedule, and links to book appointments can be found online or by phone at 613-704-1441.  Appointments can be booked until 12:00 pm (noon), the day prior.

Testing eligibility:

  • All people with at least one symptom of COVID-19 provided that symptom is not from an existing condition (i.e., allergies). Please see the list of symptoms on the assessment tool.
  • People who have been informed that they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive to COVID-19. You will be alerted that you are a close contact by Public Health or through the COVID Alert App.
  • Those following Public Health, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Long Term Care guidance for targeted testing.  This includes people in high-risk settings such as workers, residents and visitors to Long Term Care homes, homeless shelters or other vulnerable congregate living settings.

Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment, bring your health card if you have one and wear a mask upon entering the testing clinic.

Locations: Lansdowne – Community Hall, 1 Jessie Street; North Crosby – Community Centre, 875 Concession Road 8, Rideau Lakes; Athens – 76 Arena, 35 Henry Street; Prescott – Leo Boivin Community Centre, 444 Prince Street; Merrickville – Community Centre, 106 Read Street; Johnstown – South Edwardsburgh Community Centre, 24 Sutton Drive.

For more information about testing for COVID-19, visit the Health Unit website. There is information about all Assessment Centres in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark area.

Posted November 24, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

November 9, 2020

Brockville Assessment Centre introduces new online booking system

Starting today, November 9, 2020, the Brockville Assessment Centre will be launching their new online appointment booking system. Hours for appointments will remain the same (Monday to Friday 10am – 5:30pm and Weekends 10am -2:30pm).  This new online booking system will help increase efficiency and decrease wait times to reduce the need for people to wait in their cars during the winter months.

The link to the new booking system is now available. If you don’t have access to the internet or are having difficulty, contact: 613-704-1441

Those booking appointments will still have to follow the eligibility criteria:

  1. All people with at least one symptom of COVID-19 provided that symptom is not from an existing condition (i.e., allergies). Please see the list of symptoms on the assessment tool.
  2. People who have been informed that they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive to COVID-19. You will be alerted that you are a close contact by Public Health or through the COVID Alert App.
  3. Those following Public Health, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Long Term Care guidance for targeted testing.  This includes people in high-risk settings such as workers, residents and visitors to Long Term Care homes, homeless shelters or other vulnerable congregate living settings.

Other Assessment Centres in the LGL area will continue to use the same systems as before: https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/assessment-testing-results/

If you need transportation or have mobility issues, call the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit at 1-800-660-5853 x 2499. In home testing can be arranged in partnership with our local EMS.

Posted November 9, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

November 5, 2020

Ministry’s new Framework helps keep Ontario safe & open

Tuesday’s announcement of the Ontario government’s Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework ensures that public health measures are targeted, incremental and responsive to help limit the spread of COVID-19, while keeping schools and businesses open, maintaining health system capacity and protecting vulnerable people, including those in long-term care.

The Framework categorizes public health unit regions into one of five categories depending on the level of COVID-19 infection in the community.  The level of COVID-19 infection in the community is determined by the rate of new cases during a two week period, the percent of positive COVID -19 tests, outbreaks in long-term care, health system capacity, and public health capacity.

Each of the Framework Categories includes the types of measures put in place for businesses and organizations, specific sectors, institutions and other settings (see page 9 in the Framework document).

  • Green = Prevent – All public health precautions are in place to prevent COVID-19 transmission, and all activities listed in Stage 3, Reopening Ontario are allowed.
  • Yellow = Protect – Green level plus enhanced targeted enforcement and some restrictions to decrease opportunities for transmission to occur.
  • Orange = Restrict – Yellow level plus further restrictions.
  • Red = Control – Orange level plus broader scale measures and restrictions across multiple sectors.
  • Lockdown – Implement wide-scale measures and restrictions, including closures.

The Framework Category for each Public Health Unit region will be confirmed by the province on Friday, November 6, 2020 and become effective on Saturday, November 7, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.  The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit region has been identified in the initial document as being in the Green/Prevent level. If this is maintained then it means there are no added restrictions to our region because of this announcement.

Going forward, decisions on moving public health unit regions between Framework Categories will be made by the government based on current data and, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, local Medical Officers of Health and other health experts. The government will assess the impact of public health measures applied to public health unit regions for 28 days, or two COVID-19 incubation periods to decide if a change in Category is needed.

Along with the framework, the provincial government has provided access to information about COVID-19 on the Ontario website: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/data . This includes local cases by public health unit regions, and for Ontario the total number of cases, resolved cases, deaths, and tests completed with the number positive. The province will continue to add data sets as they become available. This information will better help businesses, organizations and local communities access key information to prepare in advance for any changes in their region. The updated site mostly shows Ontario data but our local website is still the best way to see local data: https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/local-cases-and-statistics/

If the provincial government changes the category for Leeds, Grenville and Lanark, the Health Unit will alert the community and affected sectors about the changes that may need to be made. For now, we need to stay COVID SMART by staying home when sick and getting tested for COVID-19 when it’s recommended, keeping 2 metres apart from others outside the household, avoiding gatherings with close contact, wearing a properly fitting face covering/mask, avoiding touching common surfaces, and performing regular hand washing/sanitizing.

Posted November 6, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

Nov 1, 2020

Outbreak declared at Stoneridge Manor in Carleton Place

The Health Unit is working with Stoneridge Manor in Carleton Place to manage a COVID-19 outbreak. One staff member has tested positive for COVID-19. Enhanced infection control measures under the Long-Term Care Home Act have been put in place to manage the outbreak and are being monitored by the Health Unit.  The staff member is at home self-isolating and following the direction of public health and ministry requirements.

“Along with the increase in local cases of COVID-19, this outbreak serves as a reminder to the community to continue to be COVID-SMART,” says Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health. “I encourage everyone to self-isolate if you have COVID-19 symptoms and get tested, wear a mask or face covering when you cannot maintain a distance of 2 metres from others, and to practice regular hand hygiene.”

The best way to get reliable information about COVID-19 is by visiting https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/. Please call the Health Unit if you have any questions at 1-800-660-5853 from 8:30 to 4:30 every day. You can also get important public health updates by connecting with LGLHealthunit on Facebook and Twitter.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, self-isolate at home and then use Ontario’s Self-Assessment Tool https://covid-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment/. Information about local COVID-19 assessment centres is available by visiting https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/assessment-testing-results/

Visit Ontario’s website, www.Ontario.ca/coronavirus to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.

Posted November 2, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

October 27, 2020

Stay Healthy and Safe this Fall

The days are getting shorter and the warmth of the summer and early fall is changing.

Many people find this change difficult.  This is a good time to focus on doing what we can to be physically, mentally and socially healthy and resilient.  The foundation is healthy eating, regular physical activity, being outside in nature, building resilience, connecting with others in safe ways, and avoiding problematic substance use.  This foundation also builds our immune system which will help us cope with any infection we may encounter, including COVID-19.

During this time of year, people also have many special opportunities to celebrate together. Find creative ways to have fun and honour the meaningful traditions that matter to you. Each of us has a part to play in keeping ourselves and others safe.

All celebrations rest on the basic COVID-19 public health precautions: staying home when sick and getting tested for COVID-19 when it’s recommended, keeping 2 metres apart from others outside the household, avoiding gatherings with close contact, wearing a properly fitting face covering/mask, avoiding touching common surfaces, and performing regular hand washing/sanitizing.

Any symptoms of COVID-19 need to be taken seriously – assuming they are “just a cold” can miss the presence of COVID-19 and spread the virus to others.  If you are concerned you were exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms, take the online COVID-19 self-assessment; and get tested if you have symptoms compatible with COVID-19, or if you have been advised of exposure by your local public health unit or through COVID Alert. Find out more about testing and symptoms here: https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/assessment-testing-results/ or call 1-800-660-5853 x 2222.

Halloween:

Community event – If you are thinking about attending a Halloween community event in person, check to make sure they are following public health precautions to reduce risk, including that the event is outside with lots of space, people are spaced safely apart to avoid close contact with others, everyone is wearing a properly fitting face covering/mask, and contact with common surfaces or handling common objects is avoided. It is also critical that families not travel outside of their community to celebrate Halloween.

Instead of Trick or Treating try:

  • Participating in an online activity like a costume contest or pumpkin carving contest with family and friends, or make a Halloween Tik Tok or Instagram video of you and your household all dressed up;
  • Decorating your lawn and going for a neighbourhood Halloween house decoration tour, or a “haunted trick or treat hunt” at home with your household members;
  • Having a spooky Halloween dinner and monster dance with your household with all sorts of creative scary dishes to enjoy;
  • Doing an online Haunted house game with family and friends or sharing spooky stories over the phone or Zoom;
  • Doing a scavenger hunt on your property with your family;
  • Finding creative ways to share treats safely like dropping them off in your friends’ mailboxes or leaving a surprise Halloween gift basket on a doorstep.
  • You can put up a poster to avoid any confusion from the little trick or treaters who might stop by if you are not participating in trick or treating. (We have a poster online here)

If you decide to participate in trick or treating:

  • Only go out with members of your household; only trick or treat outside;
  • Do not leave treats in a bucket or bowl for children to grab;
  • Both trick or treaters and people handing out candy should wear a face covering. A costume mask is not a substitute for a face covering;
  • Do not congregate or linger at doorsteps and remember to line up two metres apart if waiting. Avoid high-touch surfaces and objects;
  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly, or use hand sanitizer, whether collecting or handing out treats.

Remembrance Day:

Consider alternatives to attending a Remembrance Day event in person, particularly if you have health problems.

  • Watch a live stream Remembrance Day event on TV with your household;
  • Write a message to a veteran you know;
  • Donate to your local Legion;

If you are planning on attending an event in person make sure they are following public health precautions to reduce risk, including that the event is outside with lots of space, people are spaced safely apart to avoid close contact with others, everyone is wearing a properly fitting face covering/mask, and contact with common surfaces or handling common objects is avoided.

Other Fall Activities, including Hunting:

Avoid gatherings with people outside of your household, particularly with people from high transmission areas.

Hunting season often gets groups of people together and although it is mostly outdoors there are still some precautions to take:

  • Wear a mask/face covering when around those outside your household – even if outdoors and unable to keep 2 meters away from others;
  • Instead of car-pooling with others – take separate vehicles to the hunt camp;
  • Think about the hunt camp and try to plan separate areas for different households.  This may mean pitching an extra tent or bringing in another RV
  • Avoid shared food or buffet style eating as well as activities that involve touching common objects (like playing cards).

Check out other ideas about family and other celebrations: https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/gatherings-social-circles/ .

Posted October 27, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

October 26, 2020

Outbreak declared in St. Lawrence Lodge in Brockville

The Health Unit is working with St. Lawrence Lodge in Brockville to manage a COVID-19 outbreak. One staff member has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Infection control measures under the Long-Term Care Home Act have been put in place to manage the outbreak and are being monitored by the Health Unit.  The staff member is at home self-isolating and following the direction of public health and ministry requirements.

St. Lawrence Lodge provided this statement: “At St. Lawrence Lodge, our primary focus is the health and safety of our residents and staff. Since the declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, our management team has been monitoring the situation and updating our actions accordingly. Residents of long-term care homes have been identified as a vulnerable group and our focus has been on keeping our residents safe while providing high quality, resident-centered care.”

“Along with the increase in local cases of COVID-19, this outbreak serves as a reminder to the community to continue to be COVID-SMART,” says Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health. “I encourage everyone to self-isolate if you have COVID-19 symptoms and get tested, wear a mask or face covering when you cannot maintain a distance of 2 metres from others, and to practice regular hand hygiene.”

The best way to get reliable information about COVID-19 is by visiting https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/. Please call the Health Unit if you have any questions at 1-800-660-5853 from 8:30 to 4:30 every day. You can also get important public health updates by connecting with LGLHealthunit on Facebook and Twitter.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, self-isolate at home and then use Ontario’s Self-Assessment Tool https://covid-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment/. Information about local COVID-19 assessment centres is available by visiting https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/assessment-testing-results/

Posted October 27, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

October 23, 2020

Outbreak declared in Chartwell Wedgewood Retirement Residence in Brockville

The Health Unit is working with Chartwell Wedgewood Retirement Residence to manage a COVID-19 outbreak. One resident has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The resident has been isolated in their room and all infection management protocols are in place to prevent the spread of this, or any other infection to others.

“We are working in close partnership with our local public health unit and medical director to ensure every possible step is taken to protect our residents and staff,” says Julianne Swindells, General Manager for Chartwell Wedgewood Retirement Residence. “We have been, and continue to, follow all public health and provincial directives to protect our residents and staff.  The health and safety of our residents and staff is our highest priority. ”

“Along with the increase in local cases of COVID-19, this outbreak serves as a reminder to the community to continue to be COVID-SMART,” says Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health. “I encourage everyone to self-isolate if you have COVID-19 symptoms and get tested, wear a mask or face covering when you cannot maintain a distance of 2 metres from others, and to practice regular hand hygiene.”

The best way to get reliable information about COVID-19 is by visiting https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/. Please call the Health Unit if you have any questions at 1-800-660-5853 from 8:30am to 4:30pm every day. You can also get important public health updates by connecting with LGLHealthunit on Facebook and Twitter.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, self-isolate at home and then use Ontario’s Self-Assessment Tool https://covid-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment/. Information about local COVID-19 assessment centres is available by visiting https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/assessment-testing-results/

Posted October 26, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

October 20, 2020

MOH identifies additional measure for COVID-19 response

Our experience is that people in our community with COVID-19 and their contacts follow public health directions willingly and completely.  Individuals with lab confirmed COVID-19 isolate at home until there is no longer any risk that they are infectious, usually 10 days with resolving symptoms and no fever. Close contacts of these individuals isolate for 14 days – one incubation period.

As local community cases of COVID-19 continue to occur in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark, there is a risk that someone could refuse to adhere to public health requirements. In preparation for this possibility, Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health for the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit, has issued a Class Order pursuant to Section 22 of the Ontario Health Protection and Promotion Act, 1990. Many other Medical Officers of Health have already issued a Class Order 22 for their Health Unit regions. It is one more tool to protect the people in our community from COVID-19 infection.

The Section 22 Class Order (link to document) enforces self-isolation requirements for individuals residing in or present in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark who:

  1. are a confirmed case or probable case of COVID-19;
  2. have new symptoms (even mild symptoms) or worsening symptoms of COVID-19, have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting the results of their test;
  3. otherwise have reasonable grounds to believe they have one more symptoms of COVID-19;
  4. are a close contact* of a person identified in a. even if they do not themselves have any symptoms of COVID-19,  *”close contact “ means you are caring for or living in the same household with someone who has COVID-19 or have otherwise been identified as a close contact by the Medical Officer of Health or Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit staff acting under the direction of the Medical Officer of Health (Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit); or
  5. are a parent, or person with responsibilities of a parent, of a person under 16 years of age identified in a, b, or c who resides or is present in the Counties Leeds, Grenville and Lanark.

Individuals who are affected by the Class Order are required to self-isolate, which means they are required to stay at home and avoid contact with others for a specified period of time defined by the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit. Individuals who are required to self-isolate are instructed not to leave their home and not to allow any visitors inside the home unless they are essential. Individuals in self-isolation should arrange to have groceries and other necessities delivered to them.

The Class Order is effective at 3:00 pm on October 21, 2020 and will remain in effect until the Medical Officer of Health determines it is no longer required. Individuals who fail to self-isolate can be charged and fined up to $5000.00 per day.

“Ensuring that people self-isolate when necessary helps to limit the spread of COVID-19 and keeps everyone in our community safe,” explains Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health. “Most people are cooperative when they are required to self-isolate, so this Class Order provides an additional tool for the occasions when individuals are ignoring the Public Health requirements.”

More information, including resources for individuals whose life circumstances make it difficult to self-isolate, can be found at https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/contact-tracing/ or call 1-800-660-5853 ext 2222.  For important public health updates, you can connect with LGLHealthunit on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted October 21, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

October 7, 2020

Government mandates face covering/mask use for business and organizations

On October 5, 2020, the Government of Ontario implemented new provincial requirements for the use of mask or face covering by a person in the indoor area of the business or organizations.  These new restrictions are in addition to the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark (LGL) Medical Officer of Health’s Face Covering/Mask Instruction that was renewed on October 1, 2020.

The entire regulation can be found here: O. Reg 364/20 (Rules for Areas in Stage 3 under the Reopening Ontario [A Flexible Response to COVID-19] Act, 2020). We have outlined some important exemptions below:

According to Subsection 4 in the regulation, the person responsible for a business or organization that is open shall ensure that any person in the indoor area of the premises of the business or organization, or in a vehicle that is operating as part of the business or organization, wears a mask or face covering in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin during any period when they are in the indoor area, unless the person:

  • performs work for the business or organization, and is in an area that is not accessible to members of the public and is able to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person while in the indoor area or the employee or agent is within or behind a physical barrier.
  • is performing or rehearsing in a film or television production or in a concert, artistic event, theatrical performance or other performance;
  • is attending a school or private school within the meaning of the Education Act that is operated in accordance with a return to school direction issued by the Ministry of Education and approved by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health;
  • is attending a child care program at a place that is in compliance with the child care re-opening guidance issued by the Ministry of Education;
  • is receiving residential services and supports in a residence listed in the definition of “residential services and supports” in subsection 4 (2) of the Services and Supports to Promote the Social Inclusion of Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act, 2008;
  • is in a correctional institution or in a custody and detention program for young persons in conflict with the law;
  • is a child who is younger than two years of age;
  • has a medical condition that inhibits their ability to wear a mask or face covering;
  • needs to temporarily remove their mask or face covering while in the indoor area,

(i) to receive services that require the removal of their mask or face covering,

(ii) to engage in an athletic or fitness activity,

(iii) to consume food or drink, or

(iv) as may be necessary for the purposes of health and safety;

  • is being accommodated in accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005;
  • is unable to put on or remove their mask or face covering without the assistance of another person;
  • is being reasonably accommodated in accordance with the Human Rights Code.

Subsection (4) does not apply with respect to premises that are used as a dwelling if the person responsible for the business or organization ensures that persons in the premises who are not entitled to an exception set out in subsection (4) wear a mask or face covering in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin in any common areas of the premises in which persons are unable to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from other persons.

It is not necessary for a person to present evidence to the person responsible for a business or place that they are entitled to any of the exceptions set out in subsection (4).

Workplaces and employees who have questions about the new restrictions can visit the Health Unit’s website https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/face-coverings-masks/ for more information or can call 1-800-660-5853. You can also get important updates by connecting with LGLHealthunit on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted October 8, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

October 6, 2020

Public health advising families to celebrate with caution this weekend

Staying safe is a priority when planning Thanksgiving celebrations. We can take this opportunity to learn to celebrate holidays differently and make new traditions.

In the interest of reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19, the provincial government is encouraging people to stay in their household now rather than expanding close contact to whomever was in their Social Circle previously.

In addition, Ontario recently reduced the number of people allowed at social gatherings, where people maintain a distance of 2 metres. Indoor gatherings of up to 10 people and outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people are permitted under the new rules.

Some suggestions on how to safely celebrate Thanksgiving this year are: celebrate within the household, limit the time of visits and keep people 6 foot apart, consider outdoor celebrations, and consider virtual celebrations.

“We need to be even more attentive as we are seeing an increase in the number of people in our community, and in communities around us, with COVID-19. Let’s be creative and find new ways to connect with friends and family.” said Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health for the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

Family members and students should carefully consider the risks of COVID-19 if they plan to come home or visit other areas for the holiday. Stay 6 feet away from people with whom you are staying or visiting.

Stay COVID SMART – Proper hand hygiene, physical distancing, using face coverings/masks, and coughing/sneezing into your arm or elbow are all important in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

For more information about reducing the spread of COVID-19, contact the Health Unit at www.healthunit.org/coronavirus; call 1-800-660-5853 x 2499 or follow LGLHealthunit on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted October 7, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

October 4, 2020

Brockville COVID-19 Assessment Centre open for appointments Monday, October 5, 2020

The Brockville COVID-19 Assessment Centre will be transitioning to an online appointment booking system. It will take some time to get the new online system up and running. In the meantime, individuals that meet the new COVID-19 Testing Eligibility Criteria can self-present to the centre on Monday, October 5 between 10:00am – 5:30pm to confirm eligibility for testing and to receive an appointment time. There is no need to call ahead, and we anticipate at this time we can accommodate same day appointments, please watch our social media posts for updates.

The new COVID-19 Testing Eligibility Criteria includes those who:

  • Are showing COVID-19 symptoms;
  • Have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus, as informed by your public health unit or exposure notification through the COVID Alert app;
  • Are a resident or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by your local public health unit; and
  • Are eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care.

Until the new online appointment booking system is implemented, the Brockville COVID-19 Assessment Centre will continue to operate with individuals self-presenting to confirm eligibility for testing and to receive an appointment time Monday to Friday from 10:00am to 5:30pm; and on weekends from 10:00am to 2:30pm.

The Brockville COVID-19 Assessment Centre is located at the Brockville Memorial Centre, 100 Magedoma Avenue in Brockville and is partnership between local Family Health Teams, the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit, and the Brockville General Hospital.

More information about eligibility for COVID-19 testing is available on the Health Unit’s website, along with information about all local COVID-19 Assessment Centres and pop-ups. Visit  https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/assessment-testing-results/ or call 1-800-660-5853 for more information. For updates you can also follow @LGLHealthUnit on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted October 5, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

October 1, 2020

Mandatory Face Covering/Mask Instruction Continues

On July 6, 2020 Medical Officers of Health from Eastern Ontario Health Unit; Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit; Renfrew County and District Health and Ottawa Public Health announced a regional approach to the use of face coverings/masks in enclosed public places within their respective jurisdictions. An Instruction was issued in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 and required businesses to adopt a policy to ensure facial coverings/masks are worn inside enclosed public spaces/settings that are openly accessible to the public. The Health Unit implemented numerous activities to support the implementation of the Instruction related to communication, consultation, and enforcement. A commitment to review the Instruction at the end of September, 2020 was made by Dr. Paula Stewart.

The review of the Instruction has identified that the risk of COVID-19 continues in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark with an increasing number of people infected with COVID-19 since late August; and upward trends in cases for all neighbouring health units, particularly the Ottawa Public Health region.  A review of research evidence supports the use of face coverings/masks for source control by decreasing the amount of secretions from the mouth and nose that enter the air around the person. Research indicates that community use of face coverings/masks, combined with additional COVID-19 precautions like staying home when sick, covering coughs and sneezes, physical distancing and regular cleaning, helps to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Local surveys identified that almost all business operators in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark and the public have complied with the Instruction, and many have contacted us directly to express their strong support for the Instruction.

“After a careful review of research evidence, I have decided that the Face Covering/Mask Instruction for Leeds, Grenville and Lanark will continue as long as the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 is in effect,” states Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health. “Preventing COVID-19 is a community effort, and the continued use of face coverings or masks in enclosed public spaces and settings is one way that the community can work together to protect each other and prevent the spread of COVID-19. I am pleased that local business operators and the public have been complying with the Instruction.”

A link to the Instruction extension document will be available on our website: https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/

Posted October 1, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

Pop-Up Testing in Gananoque and Prescott

September 25, 2020

More “pop-up” (temporary) testing centres will be open this Monday, September 28 in Gananoque and Tuesday, September 29 in Prescott to help increase access to testing for the community and to reduce the pressure on the nearby COVID-19 Assessment Centres. Testing will be performed by community paramedics from the Leeds Grenville Paramedic Service.

“I am pleased at how well the first pop-up COVID-19 testing centres went this week,” says Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health for the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit. “Increasing access to COVID-19 testing close to home is a priority for our community partners.”

The pop-up drive-through testing in Gananoque on Monday, September 28 will take place from 10:00am to 6:00pm at the Gananoque Arena, 600 King Street West. Individuals are asked to enter off of Herbert Street, and turn left onto Garden Street that turns into Talbot Street

The pop-up drive-through testing in Prescott on Tuesday, September 29 will take place from 10:00am to 6:00pm at the Prescott Public Works Garage, at the corner of Sophia/Industrial. Individuals are asked to enter off of Industrial.

Individuals attending either pop-up testing centre are asked to bring a mask, Health Card, and Driver’s license.

For information about other local COVID-19 Assessment Centres, and future pop-up centres and mobile testing, please visit the Health Unit website https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/assessment-testing-results/, follow the Health Unit on social media, or call 1-800-660-5853

Posted September 28, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

September 24, 2020

Pop-Up COVID-19 Testing this Friday in Athens

A number of local health agencies have been working together to deliver services at the COVID-19 Assessment Centres in Leeds-Grenville and are planning several options to increase capacity for testing in the area.

A “pop-up” (temporary) testing centre will be open this Friday, September 25 in Athens to help increase access to testing for the community and to reduce the pressure on the nearby COVID-19 Assessment Centres as more permanent solutions are being completed. Testing will be performed by community paramedics from the Leeds Grenville Paramedic Service.

“We know that it has been challenging for people who have symptoms, or who have been advised by public health to be tested, to access testing centres because the demand has been so high,” says Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health for the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit. “I am pleased at the quick collaboration with community partners to facilitate testing in this area.”

The pop-up drive-through testing will take place at Centre 76 Arena (Fair Grounds), 35 Henry Street in Athens on Friday, September 25 and will run from 10AM to 6PM.  Vehicles are asked to enter off Elgin Street North (County Road 5) through the gate, go left around the track to the arena parking lot and wait for directions.  Anyone attending the pop-up testing is required to have a Health Card and Driver’s License, and to wear a mask.

To obtain contact information for the COVID-19 Assessment Centres, please check with the hospital website associated with each COVID-19 Assessment Centre or contact the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit at 1-800-660-5853 or Telehealth Ontario (toll-free) at (866) 797-0000 or Toll-free TTY at (866) 797-0007.

For information about other local COVID-19 Assessment Centres, and future pop-up centres and mobile testing, please visit the Health Unit website  https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/assessment-testing-results/ , follow the Health Unit on social media, or call 1-800-660-5853.

Posted September 25, 2020


Media Release: ONTARIO TO FUND EXPANSION OF LOCAL COVID-19 TESTING: MPP CLARK

18 Sep 2020 12:25 pm

(BROCKVILLE) — Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes MPP Steve Clark announced today a three-part strategy to increase the availability of COVID-19 testing across the region.

“With the return to school and continued reopening of our economy, I recognize the challenges the increased demand for testing has caused for families and individuals as well as the incredible staff working tirelessly in our local assessment centre,” said Clark. “I’m so pleased that our community partners have stepped up in response to develop this strategy to increase capacity and that our government is providing the funding to make it happen.”

Clark said the steps being taken to increase testing capacity include:

  • Providing testing in Kemptville as the first phase of establishing a full assessment centre in the community.
  • Increased hours of operation and adding additional staff at the Brockville assessment centre to expand capacity.
  • Creating a community paramedic mobile testing program that will allow for pop-up testing in municipalities throughout Leeds and Grenville.

Clark said the expanded testing capacity will ease wait times, relieve pressure on assessment centre staff and ensure people are able to get the COVID-19 tests they need. “I’ve heard from parents frustrated by lengthy waits to get their children tested so they can return to school and I understand their concerns,” said Clark. “I’m confident that with the support of community partners like our primary care providers, hospitals, health unit, paramedics and municipalities including North Grenville, along with funding from our government, we’ll be able to meet local demand for COVID-19 testing.”

Posted September 21, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

September 11, 2020

Getting Back to Child Care and Schools COVID-SMART

Health Units have had many questions about COVID-19 from families with children attending child care centres, and families with children and youth in schools.

We already know that COVID-19 is spread through droplets from a cough, sneeze or singing by someone who is infectious to someone who is close to them. This is a good time to remember that the droplets can land up to two metres away and can survive for a few hours on hard surfaces. Symptoms may look like a cold (sore throat, runny nose, cough, fever, headache) or other symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. Symptoms can develop up to 14 days after being infected – usually two to five days.

Public health and school boards are asking parents to use an anonymous online screening tool (also available in printable version) each day to provide direction about what to do if a child is experiencing symptoms. This should become part of your family’s morning routine.  Teachers, school staff and any other individuals entering the school will also be asked to self-screen using the COVID-19 self-assessment tool, and follow its directions.

The Leeds Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit has been working with the Schools Boards in our regions as well as the Eastern Ontario Health Unit to implement the Ministry of Education Guidelines for child care and school re-opening . The Guidelines are based on the key public health measures that have helped us “flatten the curve” and keep cases low in our communities.  We are promoting that people be COVID – SMART to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in all regions – see a link to what this acronym means here: https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/gatherings-social-circles/

Preventing and minimizing transmission is our priority. Our case and contact management team is ready 7 days a week to investigate new positive COVID-19 cases and trace who might have been exposed.  Public Health will be involved at every step and are ready to answer questions and offer guidance related to symptoms and testing.

Public Health will contact all the families of children/youth, as well as teachers and others who might have had close contact (less than 2 metres) with an individual with COVID-19.  Close contacts are required to stay at home for 14 days, or as directed by public health, and will be informed about testing requirements. The school will also activate infection control procedures such as cleaning and disinfection of the classroom and any other affected areas of the school.  Parents of children/youth will be notified that someone has tested positive for COVID-19 in their child care centre or school.

If there is an outbreak at the school (two or more cases linked from within the school), public health will determine, through investigation, whether class cancellations or school closure are necessary.  The status of cases and outbreaks will be posted on the websites of schools that have a website, school boards and their respective health units. The LGL area will be listed here: https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/local-cases-and-statistics/schools/

“Timely and transparent communication with families and the school community is important to us,” says Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health for Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit. “Providing specific guidance to parents if there is a case in a child care centre or school can help respond to people’s concerns.”

While the child care and school communities will be kept informed through information on the website, it’s important to remember that public health has an obligation to protect the privacy of any individuals who are suspected and confirmed to have COVID-19.

“We also are committed to respecting children’s privacy and ask that people be kind and resist the temptation to speculate about absences or share rumours about possible cases – especially on social media,” Stewart continues. “Kindness and compassion need to be shown at all times.”

For more information on COVID-19 and the re-opening of schools, please visit the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit’s website at https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/schools/ or call 1-866-236-0123.

 

To view your local school board’s return-to-school plan, visit their website:

Posted September 14, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

July 6, 2020

Local health units announce regional approach to mandatory masks

Today Medical Officers of Health from Eastern Ontario Health Unit; Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit; Renfrew County and District Health and Ottawa Public Health announced a regional approach to the use of face coverings/masks in enclosed public places within their respective jurisdictions.

Each public health unit will be issuing an Instruction under the province’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act Stage 2 which states that the person responsible for a business or organization that is open shall operate the business or organization in compliance with the advice, recommendations and instructions of public health officials, including any advice, recommendations or instructions on physical distancing, cleaning or disinfecting.

In Leeds, Grenville and Lanark, this Instruction will require businesses to adopt a policy to ensure facial coverings/masks are worn inside enclosed public spaces/settings that are openly accessible to the public. The Instruction comes into effect as of Tuesday, July 7, 2020 at 12:01am and will be reviewed on September 30, 2020. The LGLDHU, to support implementation of this Instruction, will provide information and consultation to operators of enclosed indoor spaces. This directive is to be primarily used to educate people on facial covering/mask use in enclosed public spaces where 2-metre physical distancing cannot always be maintained.

As the province continues to reopen, there are increased opportunities for people to have close contact with others in enclosed public spaces. This could lead to an increased risk of potential spread of COVID-19, especially indoors or confined spaces where there is minimal airflow, higher concentrations of people, and an increased chance of sharing high-touch surfaces.

Evidence shows that wearing a mask or face covering, such as a bandana, scarf or cloth that covers the mouth and nose, can help contain the spread of COVID-19 when used in combination with staying home when ill, frequent handwashing and practicing physical distancing. Facial coverings/masks that cover your mouth, nose, and chin help to prevent respiratory droplets from your mouth and nose from reaching others or landing on surfaces.

“We have learned over the course of this pandemic that we have to get ahead of the COVID19 virus – it is very infections and can spread easily among people with close contact in enclosed spaces. Most people do not have immunity to COVID-19 and some people may experience no symptoms but still be able to spread the virus,” says Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health. “We have been recommending the use of face coverings/masks in enclosed indoor spaces for many weeks. With the increase in opportunities for people to be indoors in public spaces with others, now this is the time to add facial covering/mask use to the existing requirements for operators of indoor public spaces. Each person wearing a facial covering/mask says I am protecting you. We all need to reciprocate this behaviour – it is social responsibility.”

The Health Unit has staff answering COVID-19 related questions and concerns for the public from 8:30am to 4:30pm every day at 1-800-660-5853 extension 2499. Public Health Inspectors are also available to discuss environmental health concerns. You can also get more information about COVID-19 by visiting www.healthunit.org/coronavirus or by connecting with LGLHealthUnit on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted July 6, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

June 26, 2020

True North Strong & COVID Free

This Canada Day let’s stay ‘true north strong and COVID free’! The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit would like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday. “Canada Day is a good time to celebrate how resilient we have been as a nation and community says Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health. “Over these past months we’ve gone to great lengths together to flatten the COVID-19 curve, so let’s continue with all the public health measures this Canada day, and beyond”.

Whether you are exploring our beautiful landscape ‘far and wide’ or sticking close to home, the Health Unit has some reminders and suggestions for your celebration.

  • If planning to travel, learn about and respect municipal and provincial precautions and restrictions in place. Do not travel if sick.
  • Check out the Government of Canada’s virtual celebrations and join the conversation on their social media platforms.
  • Celebrate on a smaller scale. Remember that the Provincial emergency order is still in place limiting social gatherings to a total of 10 people or less. Physical distancing of at least two metres should be maintained with those outside of your social circle.
  • If serving food at your small gathering, avoid sharing food from the same plate with those outside of your social circle. Follow the four steps to food safety (clean, separate, cook & chill) and provide individual dishes and cutlery for guests. Offer hand sanitizer or a place to wash hands before and after eating. Encourage guests to dispose of their own garbage.
  • Have fun decorating your house, and yourself, in red and white and listening to some great Canadian music. But if you want to sing, stay at least 12 feet away from those outside of your social circle, as respiratory droplets can travel further while singing. Consider using noisemakers instead of shouting in celebration.
  • If your plans involve camping or picnicking, use these tips for Food on the Go. Consider choosing foods that do not require special care and are shelf stable at room temperature and require less handling.
  • Exploring a local trail may be on the agenda. Check to see if it is open ahead of time, and what precautions are being advised. Be aware of ticks and dangerous weeds.
  • If it’s a hot and humid day, take precautions.
  • Local beaches are not able to be tested for water safety during the week of Canada Day but you can check with your local municipalities about which beaches are open; before going out, think about issues that may affect the quality and safety of the water, such as heavy rain in the area within 24 hours and water fowl droppings in the water or on the beach as these may contribute to high bacteria levels. 
  • Fill your sand bucket with these tips before heading out to the beach: practice physical distancing and hand hygiene; avoid spitting when in the water; be prepared as not all change rooms may be open.

‘Stand on Guard’ for COVID 19: stay home if sick, practice physical distancing and good hand hygiene, cover your cough or sneeze, wear a face covering when physical distancing is a challenge, and clean & disinfect commonly touched surfaces.

COVID-19 Phone lines will not be available on Canada Day. Please contact us by email at contact@healthunit.org  and we will reply on July 2 or call 613-345-5685 if you have public health emergency.

The following Health Unit Essential Services will not be available on Wednesday, July 1, 2020

  • Well water testing bottles will not be accepted Friday, June 26 to Wednesday, July 1, 2020 inclusive
  • Sexual Health Clinic appointments in Smiths Falls and Gananoque will not be available Wednesday, July 1, 2020
  • Breastfeeding Clinic appointments in Kemptville not be available Wednesday, July 1, 2020
  • Smart Works services will not be available at Health Unit sites on Wednesday, July 1, 2020 – check our website for where to get services.
  • Essential services will resume Thursday, July 2, 2020.

Assessment Centres are open for COVID-19 testing in Brockville and Smiths Falls on Canada Day. The Centre at the Brockville Memorial Centre is open to walk-ins 10am -2:30pm. Smiths Falls is open by appointment only from 10am-4pm, call 613-283-2330 ext. 1402. For regular Assessment Centre hours, visit: https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/assessment-testing-results/

Posted June 29, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

June 12, 2020

Province Encourages “Social Circles”

The Province has announced that as of today, people of Ontario can expand their household “bubbles” and establish a “social circle” of no more than 10 people. These 10 people can come into close contact with each other without having to practice physical distancing measures. It’s a chance to reconnect with loved ones; something many of us have been craving.

“Social circles will support the mental health and well-being of people in our communities and help reduce social isolation,” says Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health. “However, it is important that we make a contract to only be in close contact with those in our circle to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus.” Restricting close contact to one circle of 10 people will help keep the number of contacts low in the event a member of the “circle” becomes infected with COVID-19. If anyone in the social circle develops COVID-19 all members of the social circle will be required to self-isolate and get tested.

  • To form a safe social circle these steps should be followed:
  • Start with the people you live with or who regularly come into your household. Large households may not be able to add additional people to their circle, as it would exceed ten people.
  • If your current circle is under 10 people, you can add members to your circle, including another household, family members or friends.
  • Get agreement from everyone that they will join the circle and no other one.
  • Keep your social circle safe. Maintain physical distancing with anyone outside of your circle.
  • Be true to your social circle. No one should be part of more than one circle.

Find out more from the Ontario website: https://www.ontario.ca/page/create-social-circle-during-covid-19?_ga=2.171083104.1307259032.1591985207-1302784084.1591985207

It is important to clarify that these “social circles” are different than social gatherings. Visits with non-circle people would be considered a social gathering and must use the same rules as before including being outside, keeping a physical distancing of at least 2m/6ft, staying home if sick, practicing good hand hygiene, covering your cough or sneeze, and cleaning & disinfecting commonly touched surfaces.

The Health Unit has staff answering COVID-19 related questions and concerns for the public from 8:30am to 4:30pm every day at 1-800-660-5853 extension 2499. Public Health Inspectors are also available to discuss environmental health concerns. You can also get more information about COVID-19 by visiting www.healthunit.org/coronavirus or by connecting with LGLHealthUnit on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted June 13, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

June 8, 2020

LGL gets green light to participate in Stage 2 re-opening

Ontario has given the green light for some regions to open up Friday, June 12, 2020 at 12:01 am as part of their Stage 2 plan. In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local health officials, the government is easing restrictions in communities where it is safe to do so, based on trends of key public health indicators such as few new cases in the past two weeks, adequate capacity in hospitals, and progress made in testing.

The region of Leeds, Grenville and Lanark has been identified as one of the regions that can move to Phase 2. “Our region has done well in following the public health precautions for COVID19,” says Medical officer of Health, Dr. Paula Stewart. “Let’s keep this going as we prepare for the Stage 2 opening of many more amenities and businesses. It is critical that everyone continue to practice physical distancing of 2m/6ft, stay home when you are sick, wash your hands, and do regular cleaning of common hard surfaces. When you do need to go out in public, take a cloth face covering/mask with you so you can put it on when you are potentially in close contact with other people.”

For businesses, the key to success in this Stage 2 re-opening is to wait to open till all safety precautions for your employees and customers/clients are in place. A listing of 105 guidelines for business safety precautions is found here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/resources-prevent-covid-19-workplace?_ga=2.204924242.390648340.1591631735-1391031727.1591631735

A listing of the businesses included in this Stage 2 re-opening is available at: https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/06/ontario-permits-more-businesses-and-services-to-reopen-in-the-coming-days.html  For questions about business call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.

Included in this Stage 2 re-opening is an increase to the limit on social gatherings from five to 10 people across the province. Additionally, all places of worship in Ontario will be permitted to open with physical distancing in place and attendance limited to no more than 30 per cent of the building capacity to ensure the safety of worshippers.

The Health Unit has staff answering COVID-19 related health questions and concerns for the public from 8:30am to 4:30pm every day at 1-800-660-5853 extension 2499. Public health inspectors will be doing their regular inspections on places that have public health requirements to open, and are also available to discuss environmental health concerns – for questions, dial 1-800-660-5853 extension 2308. You can also get more information about COVID-19 by visiting www.healthunit.org/coronavirus or by connecting with LGLHealthUnit on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted June 9, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

May 25, 2020

Province expands testing for COVID-19

Yesterday, a directive was sent to Ontario Assessment Centres to provide testing to support the early detection of individuals who have COVID-19. This type of testing will provide valuable information about the spread of the virus in different communities across the province and help in the protection of vulnerable populations and people in our area. The approach to testing will continue to evolve, based on evidence and the public health indicators that are being closely monitored.

Should you get tested?

The province is recommending that people come forward and get tested who meet the criteria below.

  1. All people with at least one symptom of COVID-19, even mild symptoms. Please see the list of symptoms on the assessment tool here: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/
  2. People who do not have symptoms but are concerned that they have been exposed to COVID-19. This includes people who are contacts of or may have been exposed to a confirmed or suspected case.
  3. People who do not have symptoms but feel they are at risk of exposure to COVID-19 through their employment, including essential workers (e.g., health care workers, grocery store employees, food processing plant employees).

No person who is symptomatic or who is concerned they have been exposed to COVID-19 will be declined a test at an assessment centre.

How to get tested?

The Ministry of Health will have a listing all of the assessment centres on the www.ontario.ca website for people to find assessment centres in any area. People no longer need to be referred to an assessment centre by Telehealth Ontario, Primary Care, or Public Health. Our Assessment Centres will likely experience increased volume as a result of this directive so there may be longer wait times to be tested.

  • Brockville: Open to walk-ins. People can come and get a test anytime Monday to Friday 10:00 – 5:30 pm and Saturday and Sunday 10:00 – 2:30 pm
  • SF: By appointment only. Anyone can book their own appointment by calling 283-2330 ext. 1401 to schedule an appointment. The telephones are answered from Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm and Saturday 10am to 4pm.
  • Almonte: People do not need a referral but do need an appointment. Call 613-325-1208 to make an appointment. The hours are Monday to Saturday, from 10 am to 6 pm

Getting your results

  • You can see your results on line at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/.  You will need your Health Card number to access them.
  • You will also be contacted by the health care provider that did your test.
  • If you have not been contacted about your results within 7 days and do not have access to view your results online, please call the Health Unit 1-800-660-5853.
  • All positive tests will be followed up by public health.

What if you are have a positive test?

  • You will get guidance from the health care worker that contacts you with instructions on what to do if you had symptoms or not. If you are not hospitalized with COVID19,this includes self-isolation for 14 days from symptom onset with no fever and resolving symptoms.

What if you have a negative result?

  • If the test results say that you were negative at the time of the test, it is possible you have already been exposed to the virus and haven’t developed enough virus to test positive. You can also be exposed to this virus after the test was done. So please continue to monitor your health, watch for symptoms and get tested again if you experience symptoms.
  • Follow public health precautions:
    • Stay home as much as possible
    • Practice physical distancing – stay 2m (6ft) away from people in public areas.
    • Use a face covering/cloth mask if you cannot stay 2m (6ft) away from people when out in public
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer after being in touch with others or handling anything from outside your home
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
    • Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or into your arm, not your hands
    • Do not share personal items that come into contact with saliva such as toothbrushes, eating utensils, drinks, water bottles, and towels

The Health Unit has staff answering COVID-19 related questions and concerns for the public from 8:30am to 4:30pm every day at 1-800-660-5853 extension 2499. Public Health Inspectors are also available to discuss environmental health concerns. You can also get more information about COVID-19 by visiting www.healthunit.org/coronavirus or by connecting with LGLHealthUnit on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted May 26, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

May 14, 2020

Ontario Starts to Re-open for Business

On May 14, The Ontario Government announced some re-opening strategies for businesses and a plan to start Stage 1 on Tuesday May 18. The list of businesses opening this weekend can be found on the Ontario website.

The Health Unit has recently published a fact sheet with some guidelines that will help to get your business thinking about public health measures that need to be taken when re-opening.  This fact sheet can be found on COVID-19 page of our website.

If you are a business owner and you’re wondering if you can open, we strongly encourage you to seek clarification with the Ontario Essential Services Line at 1-888-444-3659 is it called Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.  You can find information about what procedures your business must have in place prior to opening: https://www.ontario.ca/page/resources-prevent-covid-19-workplace

The public is also anxious to start shopping at local businesses again. It is important to remember that COVID-19 is still around, and although the curve is flattening, there is still a risk of it spreading in the community.  Here are some ways to help protect ourselves, others and to keep the curve from rising again:

  • If you’re sick stay home; use delivery options or get items dropped off by friends or family
  • Observe physical distancing rules; maintain at least a 6 foot/2metre distance between yourself and others
  • Be patient and follow store procedures to maintain physical distancing
  • Try to shop during less busy times to avoid crowds
  • Wear a cloth face covering if you have to go into a small space where maintaining distance is difficult or when it is required by a business
  • Practise good hand hygiene, carry hand wipes or hand sanitizer with you at all times; don’t rely on others to supply it.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth

Most importantly, be kind to others.  This is a difficult situation for everyone.

The Health Unit has staff answering COVID-19 related questions and concerns for the public from 8:30am to 4:30pm every day at 1-800-660-5853 extension 2499. Public Health Inspectors are also available to discuss environmental health concerns. You can also get more information about COVID-19 by visiting www.healthunit.org/coronavirus or by connecting with LGLHealthUnit on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted May 15, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

May 14, 2020

Outbreak declared in Lanark Lodge in Perth

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit and Lanark Lodge are working together to manage a COVID-19 outbreak. One staff had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus from swab obtained May 9, 2020. This result was received on May 12, 2020. At the direction of the Health Unit, this staff person was retested on the same day. On May 14, 2020 (today) the Health Unit received confirmation of the second positive test. Therefore, as a result Lanark Lodge has been declared in a COVID-19 Outbreak. Infection control measures under the Long-Term Care Home Act have been put in place to manage the outbreak and are being monitored by the Health Unit.

All residents of Lanark Lodge, including in the affected neighbourhood, have received their swab results back from May 7, 2020 and May 8, 2020 and were negative for COVID-19. At this time, there are approximately ten (10) staff swab results outstanding.

The affected staff member does not have symptoms and is isolating at home.

“The home is compliant with all government directives and safety measures for long-term care,” says Lanark Lodge’s Medical Director, Dr. Taylor Ferrier.

These measures include:

  • All residents in the affected area have been isolated as of May 12, 2020.
  • Staff in the affected area of the Home are wearing full Personal Protective Equipment.
  • Resident and staff members continue to have their temperatures checked twice daily along with assessments to confirm no new symptoms are presenting.
  • Dining for all residents in the affected area is by tray service in each individual room with staff supervision.
  • Physical distancing is continuing to be practiced.
  • Rigorous frequent cleaning of all high touch surfaces remains in place.

“We appreciate your ongoing support during this challenging time. As always, our priority is the health and safety of both residents and team members and collectively we are focused on resourcing the care and services accordingly. The health and safety of our residents and staff is our highest priority. ” Dr. Taylor Ferrier added.

“With the early recognition of one staff person who has COVID-19 Lanark Lodge has been able to put the needed prevention and control measures in place,” says Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health. “We have learned in working with other Homes how important it is to identify a COVID-19 outbreak early to control the spread of infection.”

Stewart adds, “the recent outbreaks in LGL also show that the virus is still in our communities and that we all need to follow the recommended actions even though some restrictions are slowly being lifted. By working together we can protect the most vulnerable among us!”

The best way to get reliable information about COVID-19 is by visiting www.healthunit.org/coronavirus. Please call the Health Unit if you have any questions at 1-800-660-5853 extension 2499 from 8:30am to 4:30pm every day. You can also get important public health updates by connecting with LGLHealthUnit on Facebook and Twitter.

If you have respiratory symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who does, self-isolate at home and then use Ontario’s Self-Assessment Tool or call the Health Unit or your health care provider to be screened for assessment. Brockville Assessment Centre accepts walk-ins for screening at 100 Magedoma Boulevard (Brockville Memorial Centre), call the Health Unit or check our website for open hours this weekend. Appointments or referrals are no longer required. If you have transportation issue, contact the Health Unit.

Visit Ontario’s website, www.Ontario.ca/coronavirus to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.

Posted May 14, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

May 13, 2020

Consider the Views before Enjoying the Cottage View

With the nicer weather here, it is tempting to head out to a cottage. It may seem like a great place to retreat to for COVID-19 self-isolation. But before heading out, the Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit would like everyone to really think through their decision.

“Consider the impact your decision has on your family and your neighbours,” says Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health for the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark Area. “Consider, as well, the demands on the local community and health care system.”

If deciding to go to your cottage, think about the following:

  • If you have to check on your property for insurance purposes, try to make it a day trip.
  • Opening a cottage may involve hiring services. Is this essential work right now?
  • Going to a cottage may involve a long car ride with multiple stops for gas or food. This could put you in contact with more surfaces and people along the way. Reduce your risk by packing your own snacks and drinks for the trip, and practicing physical distancing and good hand hygiene at stops.
  • If your cottage takes you away from your usual stores, this may create tension on the retail supply in a smaller rural community and make it difficult to maintain a physical distance at the store. Bring enough food from your own grocery store to eliminate the need to shop.
  • Determine a plan if you or a family member becomes ill. You may think you can drive to your own hospital or health care provider for care, but COVID-19 symptoms may come on abruptly and you could be severely ill. Is there adequate cell phone service to call for help? Could emergency services access your road and get to you in a timely manner?
  • Cottage life may encourage riskier activities like climbing ladders, water sports, and driving ATVs. These may lead to hospital visits or the use of local first responders; services that may already be stretched. Avoid risks or take smart ones. Check out these safety tips.
  • Be prepared for ticks; they prefer to live in humid, wooded areas. Bring along insect repellent containing DEET or Icaridin, tweezers to remove a tick, and proper clothing and footwear.
  • If you have to access your cottage by boat, ensure this can happen. At this time, marinas are not open to the public and can only let people use their boats to go to their primary place of residence. Check in with your local municipality to see if you can launch your boat there.
  • Socializing and cottages often go hand in hand. Remember, gatherings of more than 5 people are still not permitted.
  • Comply with other Provincial orders as well; avoid recreation facilities and amenities that are identified as closed.

Don’t forget to bring along all the public health measures you’ve been doing so far. Limit contact with others, practice physical distancing, and hand hygiene. If you are ill, stay at home and don’t go to the cottage! We are all giving up a lot right now to protect ourselves and others. By staying at your primary residence you could be saving lives, including your own!

The Health Unit has staff answering COVID-19 related questions and concerns for the public from 8:30am to 4:30pm every day at 1-800-660-5853 extension 2499. Public Health Inspectors are also available to discuss environmental health concerns. You can also get more information about COVID-19 by visiting www.healthunit.org/coronavirus or by connecting with LGLHealthUnit on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted May 13, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

May 12, 2020

Outbreak declared in Maple View Lodge in Athens

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit and Maple View Lodge are working together to manage a COVID-19 outbreak. One staff member and one resident have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Infection control measures under the Long Term Care Home Act have been put in place to manage the outbreak and are being monitored by the Health Unit.  

The resident has been isolated in their room and all infection management protocols are in place to prevent the spread of this, or any other infection to others.  The staff member is at home self-isolating and following the direction of public health and ministry requirements. As part of the provincial testing of all residents and staff at long-term care homes, the United Counties Community Paramedic Program tested all the residents in the Home and over half the staff members over the past weekend. This testing found the positive resident and staff person. The remaining staff will also be tested.

“We are working in close partnership with our local public health unit and medical director to ensure every possible step is taken to protect our residents and staff,“ said Tracy Jordan, Administrator for Maple View Lodge. “We have been, and continue to, follow all public health and provincial directives to protect our residents and staff.  The health and safety of our residents and staff is our highest priority. ”

“The outbreaks in long-term care homes and retirement homes in LGL serves as a reminder that we all need to follow the recommended actions to decrease the risk of spread of COVID-19 in the community;” says Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health, “this includes staying at home as much as possible keeping a distance of 2m/6ft away from other people. By working together we can protect the most vulnerable among us!”

The best way to get reliable information about COVID-19 is by visiting www.healthunit.org/coronavirus. Please call the Health Unit if you have any questions at 1-800-660-5853 x 2499 from 8:30 to 4:30 every day. You can also get important public health updates by connecting with LGLHealthunit on Facebook and Twitter.

If you have respiratory symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who does, self-isolate at home and then use Ontario’s Self-Assessment Tool https://covid-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment/ or call the Health Unit or your health care provider to be screened for assessment. Brockville Assessment Centre accepts walk-ins for screening at 100 Magedoma Boulevard (Brockville Memorial Centre), between 10:00am–5:30pm, on weekdays and 10:00am–2:30pm on weekends. Appointments or referrals are no longer required. If you have transportation issue, contact the Health Unit.

Visit Ontario’s website, www.Ontario.ca/coronavirus to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.

Posted May 12, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

May 8, 2020

Outbreak declared in Royal Brock Retirement Residence in Brockville

The Health Unit is working with Royal Brock Retirement Residence to manage a COVID-19 outbreak. One staff member has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Infection control measures under the Long Term Care Home Act have been put in place to manage the outbreak and are being monitored by the Health Unit.  The staff member is home under self-isolation and staff have been instructed to report any symptoms to public health immediately.

The safety and security of our staff and residents is a primary concern for us as is minimizing the risk of transmission,” says Jenifer Willis, Director of Care for Royal Brock Retirement Residence. “We remain vigilant in our efforts to manage this outbreak and thank our staff, residents and family members for their compliance and support of our efforts. We continue to follow heightened COVID-19 infection control and screening protocols and all recommendations of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit.”

“The number of outbreaks in long-term care homes and retirement homes in the area serves as a reminder that we all need to follow the recommended actions to decrease the risk of spread of COVID-19 in the community;” says Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health, “this includes staying at home as much as possible keeping a distance of 2m or 6ft away from other people.”

The best way to get reliable information about COVID-19 is by visiting www.healthunit.org/coronavirus. Please call the Health Unit if you have any questions at 1-800-660-5853 x 2499 from 8:30 to 4:30 every day. You can also get important public health updates by connecting with LGLHealthunit on Facebook and Twitter.

If you have respiratory symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who does, self-isolate at home and then use Ontario’s Self-Assessment Tool https://covid-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment/ or call the Health Unit or your health care provider to be screened for assessment. Brockville Assessment Centre accepts walk-ins for screening at 100 Magedoma Boulevard (Brockville Memorial Centre), between 10:00am–5:30pm, on weekdays and 10:00am–2:30pm on weekends. Appointments or referrals are no longer required. If you have transportation issue, contact the Health Unit.

Visit Ontario’s website, www.Ontario.ca/coronavirus to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.

Posted May 8, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

May 8, 2020

Fishing and boating on your mind this weekend? – Health Unit reminds you to be safe

Local people often look forward to pike and pickerel fishing as well as getting out on the water to enjoy the many lakes and rivers in the area. Because of this, some local municipalities/cities/towns are opening their boat launches this weekend. Check your local area website for information on which ones are open.

The Health Unit is offering tips on safe boating and fishing during the COVID-19 response.

  1. Keep the physical distance of 2m/6ft when using boat launches
  2. Gatherings of more than 5 people are still not permitted
  3. Boat or fish by yourself or with people you live with – do not fish where prohibited
  4. Do not move any barriers placed by the municipality/city
  5. The marinas are still off limits for public use – pay attention to local signage (Recent government changes are permitting staff to prepare the marinas for opening dates which are yet to be determined.)
  6. Be mindful of where to empty garbage
  7. Be safe when boating, kayaking and canoeing: link to https://healthunit.org/health-information/injury-prevention/water-safety/
  8. Do not use recreation facilities and amenities that are identified as closed under the provincial emergency orders such as parks, playgrounds, ball diamonds, water access points, washrooms and picnic tables.

The Health Unit staff are answering COVID-19 related questions and concerns from 8:30am to 4:30pm every day at 1-800-660-5853 extension 2499. Public Health Inspectors are also available to discuss environmental health concerns. You can also get more information about COVID-19 by visiting www.healthunit.org/coronavirus or by connecting with LGLHealthUnit on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted May 8, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

May 7, 2020

Health Unit and Farmers’ Markets are working together to safely bring local food to the community

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark strongly supports local Farmers’ Markets. They encourage people to buy healthy local food, and are a way for farmers to sell their produce.  They have also been a social gathering place which supports individual and community well-being.  Unfortunately at this time, with COVID-19, where social gatherings used to be a strength, they now pose a risk to both the vendors and the people who come to the market.

The provincial government has allowed Farmers’ Markets to open under the agricultural exemption to the provincial emergency directives.  The provincial directive about avoiding gatherings of more than 5 people still applies.

The Farmers’ Markets of Ontario has identified public safety protocols for two acceptable models: Option 1: Multi-Vendor/Multi-Stand market; and Option 2: an ECommerce model with a drive/walk-through pickup of pre-ordered and prepaid food. Both options require the market organizers to work with local public health and present a plan for opening.

“This is not business as usual for markets as only food can be offered for sale and social interaction must be limited to maintain social distancing.” – Farmers’ Markets Ontario

The Leeds Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit has been working with all Farmers’ Markets in the region that are interested in opening under these restricted requirements.  Originally, the Health Unit proposed Option 2 as this was the lower risk of the two options. The situation has changed now with a gradual relaxation of restrictions. In addition, in Lanark, Leeds, Grenville, most people are following the public health measures, including physical distancing, with the result that the number of new people infected with COVID-19 in the community is low.  Therefore, Option 1: Multi-vendor /Multi-stand market has become less risky, as long as careful protective measures are put in place.  The Health Unit will work with the markets who are interested in this approach. This will hopefully make local produce available to people who cannot use the e-commerce approach.

The Health Unit is required by law to ensure there is no additional risk to either the community or the vendors from the Farmers’ Markets being open. Their plans are reviewed and suggestions made to further decrease the risk of COVID-19 spread.

The critical factors are:

  • Control of people coming in, getting the produce, and leaving;
  • Ensure 6 foot distance between buyers;
  • Ensure the vendors are 6 feet away from people buying food;
  • Adequate hand washing stations;
  • No sampling of food;
  • No reusable customer supplied containers; and
  • No communal table or seating.

The Health Unit recognizes the economic importance of farmers being able to sell their produce to the public. A safe market set up can allow this to happen and not put anyone at increased risk.

The Health Unit staff are answering COVID-19 related questions and concerns from 8:30am to 4:30pm every day at 1-800-660-5853 extension 2499. Public Health Inspectors are also available to discuss environmental health concerns. You can also get more information about COVID-19 by visiting www.healthunit.org/coronavirus or by connecting with LGLHealthUnit on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted May 8, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

May 7, 2020

Give the Gift of Safety this Mother’s Day!

What better way to show your mom you care then to keep her safe and protect her from COVID-19. The Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit would like to remind everyone that social gatherings over 5 are still prohibited by the Province, to prevent the spread of the virus.

This Mother’s Day will be different for many of us. The usual brunches, spa days, or family get-togethers will have to be postponed for this year. But we can still celebrate mom while protecting our loved ones and our community. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Write a letter and send it in the mail. Getting a letter instead of a bill might be a nice surprise.
  • If you live with your mom, give her a break from her usual tasks (e.g. make breakfast, clean the bathroom).
  • With more time on our hands, we may have had more time to go through old keepsakes and photos. Create a scrapbook or video showcasing these.
  • Follow this link for fun craft ideas to give to mom.  Children can practice their pencil and scissor skills by colouring the paper before cutting it into strips for the craft.
  • Give the gift of positive parenting. For parenting tips, call 1-800-660-5853, email triplep@healthunit.org or visit www.triplep-parenting.ca .
  • Pick up and deliver groceries or pharmacy supplies.
  • Bake something and leave it on mom’s doorstep.
  • Have mom join your meal virtually.
  • Order and pre-pay your mom’s favourite takeout meal and have it delivered.
  • Garden centres and nurseries are now permitted to be open. Consider supporting your local centre by making a purchase such as a plant or gardening supplies. You may just inspire mom to take up a new hobby!
  • If you plan to visit your mom or loved one at a cemetery, check in with them first to see if they are open. Practice physical distancing and respect any other rules the cemetery may have.
  • Going for a drive together may seem like a good idea. If you do not live in the same household as your mom, then this is not recommended. If you do have to share a vehicle, take precautions such as limiting passengers, having the person from the other household sit in the back seat, rolling down windows, washing hands before and after trip, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, and wearing a cloth mask as an added measure.

The Health Unit staff are answering COVID-19 related questions and concerns from 8:30am to 4:30pm every day at 1-800-660-5853 extension 2499. Public Health Inspectors are also available to discuss environmental health concerns. You can also get more information about COVID-19 by visiting www.healthunit.org/coronavirus or by connecting with LGLHealthUnit on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted May 7, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

May 1, 2020

Giving the Green Thumbs Up to Community Gardens in Leeds, Grenville & Lanark

Residents in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark will be able to start planting in community gardens soon. On April 25, 2020 the government of Ontario lifted restrictions, allowing community gardens to operate following the guidance of the local Medical Officer of Health.

Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health for the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit supports Ontario’s decision. ”Community gardens increase access to healthy foods, provide a sense of community belonging and support mental well-being, and physical activity”.

Under the provincial Emergency Order, only gardens with the capacity to follow the requirements are permitted to operate. The Health Unit has prepared safe operating requirements for local municipalities, community organizations related to: entrance restrictions, physical distancing, hand hygiene, sharing and cleaning of equipment, signage, and communication.

In addition, rules and guidelines for community gardeners have been developed and should be followed by all users.

  • Individuals should not attend the garden if they are sick, have had close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, or close contact with someone who has travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days. If possible, complete Ontario’s online self-assessment tool before attending. Plot owners should arrange to have someone tend their plot for them until they can return.
  • Wash hands with soap and water before and after handling common tools such as hoses or gates and before and after gardening. If there is not a sink available, bring alcohol based hand sanitizer and sanitize hands regularly. Remember gloves are not a substitute for washing hands.
  • Everyone in the garden must always maintain physical distancing of 2 metres/6 feet (unless gardening with members of the same household).
  • Adhere to the garden schedule and do not attend the garden when it is not your scheduled time.
  • Avoid touching surfaces such as gates and doorknobs if not necessary.
  • Bring your own garden tools and sanitize them after use. Health Canada has created a list of disinfectants that are safe and effective against the virus.
  • If you have to bring your children to the garden, they should be instructed to follow physical distancing and hygiene recommendations.
  • Do not bring pets to the garden with you.
  • Avoid touching your nose, mouth, eyes and face.
  • If cloth face coverings are used as an added measure, wash hands before and after use and do not share with others.
  • Place all trash in proper garbage receptacle or take garbage with you to dispose of at home.

By working together we can create a healthy and safe environment for our local community gardeners.

The Health Unit has staff answering COVID-19 related questions and concerns for the public from 8:30am to 4:30pm every day at 1-800-660-5853 extension 2499. Public Health Inspectors are also available to discuss environmental health concerns. You can also get more information about COVID-19 by visiting www.healthunit.org/coronavirus or by connecting with LGLHealthUnit on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted May 1, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

April 24, 2020

Alcohol Use Increases during COVID-19 Pandemic

According to a NANOS poll commissioned by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use, Canadians self-reported an increase in alcohol use while spending additional time at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Particularly those under the age of 54; 25% of Canadians aged 35–54 and 21% of Canadians aged 18–34 have increased their consumption of alcohol. Feelings of stress, boredom, along with changes to daily and weekly routines were cited as the top reasons for this increase. Other contributing conditions were loneliness related to physical distancing measures, and having more alcohol in the home due to purchasing larger amounts and stockpiling.

“COVID-19 has changed our usual routines and led to a time of uncertainty.  With this, comes an opportunity to rethink some of our habits and ways of coping,” says Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Paula Stewart. “Think about healthy ways to spend your time and to connect with people that increase your sense of well-being.”

The BounceBack program may help. This free program, for ages 15 and up, helps to develop coping techniques to overcome challenges and regain positive mental health.

Here are some tips to reduce potential harms associated with alcohol use:

  • If you choose to drink, use Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines to decrease the risk associated with alcohol use drinking no more than: 10 drinks/week for women, with no more than 2 drinks/day most days; 15 drinks/week for men, with no more than 3 drinks/day most days
  • Pace yourself.  Have no more than one standard drink per hour. For every drink of alcohol, have one non-alcoholic drink.
  • Do not drink when: driving a vehicle or using machinery and tools; taking medicine or other drugs that interact with alcohol; doing any kind of dangerous physical activity; or responsible for the safety of others.
  • Alcohol can affect the healthy growth of the baby so avoid alcohol use if you are pregnant or planning to be pregnant;
  • Plan non-drinking days every week to avoid developing a habit.
  • Eat before and while you are drinking. This will help the alcohol absorb more slowly.
  • Plan ahead. Try to avoid people or places that lead you to drink more. If drinking at home is a problem, avoid having alcohol in the house.
  • Accept support from a professional, friend or someone else you trust.

Looking for additional supports? Check out our “Where to go for help” webpage.

The Health Unit has staff answering COVID-19 related questions and concerns for the public from 8:30am to 4:30pm every day at 1-800-660-5853 extension 2499. Public Health Inspectors are also available to discuss environmental health concerns. You can also get more information about COVID-19 by visiting www.healthunit.org/coronavirus or by connecting with LGLHealthUnit on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted April 24, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

April 22, 2020

Uncovering the Facts on Face Coverings

The Government of Canada has recommended the use of face coverings when physical distancing (2m/6ft apart) is difficult to maintain and has mandated that all air passengers use them during travel. With this in mind, now is a good time to uncover the facts on face coverings. Knowing the facts will help you and your family make an informed decision about wearing a face covering during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Outside of air travel, wearing a face covering is a personal choice. A face covering is a non-medical mask made of cloth that covers the nose and mouth. It should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face and be secured with ties or ear loops. Here are some considerations:

  • Face coverings protect those around you by preventing your respiratory droplets from contaminating others or landing on surfaces. It is a way to cover your cough or sneeze.
  • Given recent evidence related to transmission from persons who are pre-symptomatic or have no symptoms, a face covering is another measure you can choose when keeping a distance is a challenge, such as on public transit/in taxis and in smaller grocery stores or pharmacies.
  • Remember, wearing one does not replace the need to continue with other public health measures, such as staying home as much as possible, avoiding close contact with others outside of your household and thorough and frequent hand hygiene practices.
  • Face coverings should not be placed on or used by: children under the age of two, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • You can make your own face coverings with materials you have on hand. Check out these ‘sew’ and ‘no sew’ instructions along with guidelines if you choose to purchase one made by someone else.

When wearing a face covering, take the following precautions to protect yourself:

  • Wash your hands before putting it on & taking it off.
  • Avoid touching your face covering while using it.
  • Use your own face covering and do not share yours with others.
  • Clean surfaces that your dirty face covering touches.
  • Change it as soon as it gets damp or soiled. Cloth face coverings can be laundered with other items using a hot cycle, and then dried thoroughly. Check out the Do’s and Don’t’s of using shared laundry.

Wear cloth face coverings only and keep the medical masks for our health care workers! Remember the best protection is to stay home, practice physical distancing and wash hands often. For more information on face coverings:  Government of Ontario and Government of Canada

The Health Unit has staff answering COVID-19 related questions and concerns for the public from 8:30am to 4:30pm every day at 1-800-660-5853 extension 2499. Public Health Inspectors are also available to discuss environmental health concerns. You can also get more information about COVID-19 by visiting www.healthunit.org/coronavirus or by connecting with LGLHealthUnit on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted April 22, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

April 17, 2020

Staying Active during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Physical activity is good for the body, mind and soul. During times of stress, physical activity helps us cope with life challenges.

It is okay to go outdoors for a walk, run, or bike ride if you are not under quarantine or in self-isolation due to illness or exposure. Being outdoors calms the brain, increases creativity, enhances learning and decreases anger and aggression. While out, be respectful of one way traffic flow patterns and avoid recreational areas or parks that are closed.

  • Walk, run or bike by yourself or with people you live with. Be sure to practice safe-cycling.
  • Go to places with no or very few people and keep a minimum distance of 2m/6ft from others.
  • Talk to neighbours over the fence or at a distance, like at the end of the driveway. Ensure this doesn’t lead to groups of neighbours chatting together – keep at least 6 feet apart (two arms lengths).
  • If you go fishing, make sure you do so in a place that is open to the public, and stay 6 feet away from other people.
  • Respects the signs that say a trail, beach, park or other place is closed.
  • If walking in wooded areas, protect yourself from ticks. Apply a repellant with DEET. Wear light coloured clothing that covers exposed skin, tuck your pants in your socks and wear fully enclosed shoes, not sandals.
  • Stay away from wild animals or animals you don’t know to prevent bites.
  • Wash your hands when you get home.
  • Remember to check for ticks. If you find a tick, use tweezers to grasp the tick by the head as close to your skin as possible. Pull it straight out, gently but firmly. Clean and disinfect the bite area.

If you are self-isolating, there are some great ways to be physically active and reduce sedentary time while indoors, or on your outdoor property!

  • Take advantage of online workouts. Many of these are free such as YMCA at Home Programs.
  • Check with your local fitness or yoga studio – they may have some online options for you.
  • Have a home dance party (even if you are by yourself).
  • Use video games like “Just Dance” or Wii Fit to make physical activity fun for the family!
  • Perform domestic chores, on your own property, such as cleaning or gardening. Get kids to help outside. Outdoor chores seem more fun than vacuuming!
  • Walk on your own property or walk on the spot. If you are on the phone, stand or walk around instead of sitting down.
  • Stand up whenever possible. Challenge yourself to stand every 30 minutes. If working at home, consider setting up a standing desk by using a high table or stacking a pile of books.

Physical activity and eating well go hand and hand. Remember to stay hydrated! Check out the Health Unit’s “Healthy Eating” section on the website for tips on getting the nutrients you need for good health, including a healthy immune system.

The Health Unit has staff answering COVID-19 related questions and concerns for the public from 8:30am to 4:30pm every day at 1-800-660-5853 extension 2499. Public Health Inspectors are also available to discuss environmental health concerns. You can also get more information about COVID-19 by visiting www.healthunit.org/coronavirus or by connecting with LGLHealthUnit on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted April 20, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

April 16, 2020

Brockville COVID-19 Assessment Centre Open to Walk-ins

The Brockville COVID-19 Assessment Centre, located at 100 Magedoma Blvd, has established a new “self-present” model that will begin on Friday, April 17. This means that appointments or referrals for the Centre are no longer required and people can come to the building to be assessed for testing.

“It is important that individuals with COVID19 are identified early to reduce the risk of spreading the infection to others.” says Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health for the Leeds Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit.

Individuals are encouraged to complete the online COVID 19 assessment tool before attending the Brockville Assessment Centre between 10:00 am- 5:30 pm, 7 days a week to be assessed for testing. If getting to the centre is an issue, call the Health Unit and discuss your transportation needs.

While anyone with COVID-19 symptoms can go, the Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit is strongly encouraging that the following people be assessed at the Centre:

  • Essential workers (person working directly with the public)
  • Healthcare workers or a household member of a healthcare worker
  • Pregnant individuals who are in their third trimester
  • Returning travellers to Canada
  • Close contacts of a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 (live with, provided care for, or spent extensive time with)

We have had a number of businesses that have provided food, thanks to these partners for helping feed the Assessment Centre staff: Starbucks; Altima Dental; Gabriel Pizza; Pizza Hut; Athens FHT; Leeds and Grenville Community FHT; Upper Canada FHT; Subway; Jane and Harold Hess; Re-Store Kemptville; Century 21 Rick Burt; Mary Jean and Ian McFall; D & D Tree Service (supplied dividers for assessment area and admin area); Dr. Vijay Bhatt; Volunteer Center St. Lawrence Rideau.

Other assessment centres within Leeds, Grenville & Lanark, (Almonte and Smiths Falls) will continue to use a referral system Referrals can be sent by a primary care provider (family doctor, nurse practitioner, or clinic) or by the Health Unit, 1-800-660-5853 ext .2222.

For more information about COVID-19, visit www.healthunit.org/coronavirus.

Posted April 16, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

April 15, 2020

Farmer’s Market Operation During COVID-19

Dear Market Managers and Organizers,

On March 17, 2020 the Premier of Ontario declared a provincial state of emergency, followed by the closure of non-essential businesses. Public health measures and requirements to ensure the health and safety of the public during the COVID-19 pandemic change frequently and Farmers’ Markets were removed from the essential services list on April 4, 2020. On April 7, 2020 the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs agreed that Farmers’ Markets are considered essential and will be able to operate with the approval of the local Health Unit.

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit recognizes the value of our farmers’ markets; as they provide a source of fresh local foods. There are challenges to operating a traditional style open air farmers’ market primarily because farmers’ markets are very popular which makes social distancing difficult. Social distancing is essential in reducing the spread of COVID-19 among our citizens. The Health Unit has reviewed several models for farmers’ markets and we have determined that the drive through model is the best method in reducing social gathering and preventing the spread of COVID-19. The following criteria must be met for farmers’ markets to operate in 2020:

  1. Open air markets will not be allowed as it encourages shoppers to browse and encourages social gatherings;
  2. Farmers’ market will host an online market where customers can order and prepay for items. Orders can be picked up on their respective market day;
  3. Use of cash is discouraged at this time; we suggest that you work with Farmers’ Market Ontario as they are exploring an e-commerce platform which is scalable, reasonably priced, and user-friendly;
  4. Vendors will set up their booths well-spaced (minimum of 10 feet apart) in a row that allows for cars to drive up to the vendor;
  5. Barriers must be set up at each end of the market to prevent shoppers from entering the vendor area i.e. no walk up purchases allowed;
  6. The flow of the market traffic must be one directional to prevent congestion;
  7. Pick-up will be facilitated by vendors placing items into the passing vehicles through the window (similar to how Home depot and Michael’s are running their “curbside” pick-ups)
  8. No direct food handling or preparation will be permitted at the market, all foods must be prepackaged. For information about safe food handling practices and food temperatures visit our food safety webpage on our Health Unit website.
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  9. Only traditional farm products as defined in the Ontario Food Premises Regulation can be sold at the market this year i.e. produces, high-acid preserves i.e. jams, jellies, pickled products, baked goods, frozen inspected meats, honey products, maple syrup products;
  10. Vendors such as restaurants will not be permitted this year;
  11. Processed food products such as: low-acid preserved vegetables, preserved meats, soups or casseroles are very high risk if not processed properly and therefore are not permitted to be sold at the market. Each vendor is responsible for contacting the health unit to provide information on any processed products they intend to sell;
  12. Ensure that all vendors/volunteers have one of the following methods of handwashing: using a jug with a spigot filled with warm water, soap and paper towels; hand wipes or hand sanitizer;
  13. If your current market location is not conducive to this drive through market model, speak to your municipality as they may have another suitable location for your market;
  14. Vendors, customers and volunteers at the market can only attend if they are healthy. Farmers’ Market Ontario has signage that can be placed at the entrances and in other strategic locations at the market. Anyone attending the market should conduct a health check prior to attending the market; the Ministry of Health has provided an easy online self-assessment tool for the general public to access.

Prior to opening a farmers’ market during the 2020 season approval from the Health Unit will be required. A detailed plan must be submitted to the Health Unit for review. The plan should include a diagram showing a proposed market layout and a complete list of vendors and their products. Plans can be emailed to protection@healthunit.org or can be faxed to 613-345-7148. If the market does not meet the majority of vendors being producers as defined by the Ontario Food Premises Regulation the market will not be allowed to operate. To assist with the submission of vendors’ names and food products they will be selling at the market you can have them fill in our online form title compliance checklist for vendors.

For further information on public health measures and safe business practices at this time please contact the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit at 1-800-660-5853 and look for updates on our website at www.healthunit.org.

Posted April 17, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

April 11, 2020

Take-Out Food Safety during COVID-19

Many people are taking advantage of the decision by restaurants to offer take-out meals. Public Health Inspectors with the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit have worked with each restaurant to ensure they adhere to safe food handling practices. The Public Health Inspectors have also suggested ways to minimize the contact with the public as people pick up their food – keeping the duration of contact to a minimum, maintaining a distance of 6 feet, and washing hands or using hand sanitizer between exchanges of food with the public. People who pick up food should wash their hands before they eat the food.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, “there is currently no evidence to suggest that food is a likely source or route of transmission of the virus and there are currently no reported cases of COVID-19 transmission through food. People are unlikely to be infected with the virus through food.” https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/prevention-risks.html?topic=tilelink

If an employee of a restaurant has lab confirmed COVID-19, then the Health Unit will follow up to assess whether the public was at risk from contact with this individual.

The Health Unit has staff answering COVID-19 related questions and concerns for the public from 8:30 to 4:30 every day at 1-800-660-5853 x2499. Public health inspectors are also available to discuss environmental health concerns.  You can also get more information about COVID-19 by visiting www.healthunit.org/coronavirus or by connecting with LGLHealthunit on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted April 12, 2020


The Brockville COVID-19 Assessment Centre is open this long weekend 11:00 am – 6:00 pm for referrals and appointment times. 

If you are experiencing even mild symptoms of a new cough, fever or other respiratory symptoms and are an essential worker (health care worker, first responder or are currently working with the public), you should be assessed by your health care provider or at an assessment centre.

Do the online self-assessment tool on Ontario.ca if you have internet access – follow the instructions on who to call

o   If you are a patient of the Upper Canada Family Health Team and need a referral, please call 613-423-3333 between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm every day.

o   If you are a patient of the Leeds & Grenville Community Family Health Team, please call 613-342-4076 between 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday.  Office is closed Good Friday and Easter Monday

o   If you are a patient of the Athens District Family Health Team, please call 613-924-2624. Office will be open Easter Monday only. Closed Good Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

If you do not have a provider or your provider’s office is closed, please call Public Health at 613-345-5685 or 1-800-660-5853  X 2222 between 8:30pm – 4:30 pm any day.

Don’t worry if you don’t have transportation; discuss your needs with the assessment centre when arranging your appointment.

Posted April 11, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

April 8, 2020

Celebrating this Long Weekend the COVID-19 Way

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit recognizes that religious holidays such as Easter and Passover, are an important time to celebrate faith, or be with family and friends. Please remember that social gatherings over 5 are prohibited by the Province, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

During this time, the Health Unit would like our residents to celebrate together while being physically apart. Protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community by staying home.

  • If you belong to a congregation, check if they are offering a service online or on the radio/TV.
  • Instead of seeing family or friends in-person, call or video chat.
  • Go out for a walk with people you live with (as long as you are not under quarantine or self-isolation due to illness or exposure). If you choose to walk, find an unpopulated area, keep your distance from others (2m/6ft) and don’t forget to check for ticks and do not approach animals.
  • Help others by donating to food banks or food drives, if you can. Choose the most nutritious and safest food for donation
  • Spend more time with the family who live with you. Create new traditions together like playing games, decorating and cooking your favourite foods. Remember to apply the four steps to food safety: Clean, Separate, Cook & Chill

The Province is requiring stores to close on April 10 and 12 so that essential retail workers can have time off. You may need to plan ahead for essential items. Respect the health and safety of others while out; follow the rules of the store and don’t bring your reusable bags. Remember it’s not time to browse or socialize. Before heading out, think about if it is really essential to go to the store. Challenge yourself to be creative and use food items that you already have on hand. But if it is essential to go, choose a less busy time to shop and buy items with a longer shelf life.

For people who live elsewhere and have cottages or trailers in our communities, please stay home. This will avoid putting pressure on our grocery stores and decrease the risk of bringing COVID-19 into our community, and needing to use our limited health care resources.

Being apart from family and friends can be very difficult for all of us. It’s normal for situations like COVID-19 to affect your mental health. For information on coping please visit our COVID-19 webpage https://healthunit.org/coronavirus/ under “Information for the Public”.

We wish everyone a safe, healthy, and peaceful celebration.

If you are feeling ill with shortness of breath, fever or new cough, call 1-800-660-5853 x 2499 any day 8:30am to 4:30pm.

Posted April 8, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

April 4, 2020

Outbreak declared in Van Horne and Willowdale Retirement Residences in Smiths Falls

The Health Unit is working with both Van Horne and Willowdale Retirement Residences in Smiths Falls to manage a COVID-19 outbreak. One staff member has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Infection control measures under the Long Term Care Home Act have been put in place to manage the outbreak and are being monitored by the Health Unit.  The staff member is home under self-isolation and staff at both sites been instructed to report any symptoms to public health immediately.

The safety and security of our staff and residents in these sites are a primary concern for us as is minimizing the risk of transmission,” says Sharon Ranalli, Vice President of Marketing & Communications for Chartwell Retirement Residences. “We remain vigilant in our efforts to manage this outbreak and thank our staff, residents and family members for their compliance and support of our efforts. We continue to follow heightened COVID-19 infection control and screening protocols and all recommendations of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and Leeds, Grenville and Lanark Health Unit.”

“The number of outbreaks in the last week in long-term care homes and retirement homes in the area serves as a reminder that we all need to follow the recommended actions to decrease the risk of spread of COVID-19 in the community;” says Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health, “this incudes staying at home as much as possible keeping a distance of 2m or 6ft away from other people.”

The best way to get reliable information about COVID-19 is by visiting www.healthunit.org. Please call the Health Unit if you have any questions at 1-800-660-5853 x 2499 from 8:30 to 4:30 every day. You can also get important public health updates by connecting with LGLHealthunit on Facebook and Twitter.

If you have respiratory symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who does, self-isolate at home and then use Ontario’s Self-Assessment Tool for their recommendations. If you need further assistance, call TeleHealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or your health care provider.

Visit Ontario’s website, www.Ontario.ca/coronavirus to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.

Posted April 4, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

April 3, 2020

Outbreak found in Lanark Lifestyles in Perth, Ontario

The Health Unit is working with Lanark Lifestyles in Perth to manage a COVID-19 outbreak. One staff member has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Infection control measures under the Long Term Care Home Act have been put in place to manage the outbreak and are being monitored by the Health Unit.  Dr. Neel Chadha of Lanark Lifestyles reports no residents and no other staff are ill at this time. The staff member is home under self-isolation and all staff have been instructed to report any symptoms to public health immediately.

“The number of outbreaks in the last week in long-term care homes and retirement homes in the area serves as a reminder that we all need to follow the recommended actions to decrease the risk of spread of COVID-19 in the community, says Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health. “This includes staying at home as much as possible, and staying 6 feet, or two arms lengths away, from others when in public places to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

The best way to get reliable information about COVID-19 is by visiting www.healthunit.org. Please call the Health Unit if you have any questions at 1-800-660-5853 x 2499 from 8:30 to 4:30 every day. You can also get important public health updates by connecting with LGLHealthunit on Facebook and Twitter.

If you have respiratory symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who does, self-isolate at home and then use Ontario’s Self-Assessment Tool for their recommendations. If you need further assistance, call TeleHealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or your health care provider.

Visit Ontario’s website, www.Ontario.ca/coronavirus to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.

Posted April 4, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

April 3, 2020

Province orders public gatherings to be of 5 or less people

On March 28, 2020 the Provincial Order made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act was amended.  The amendments strengthen the order issued on March 17, 2020 to include the prohibition of “organized public events including parades, events including weddings, social gatherings and communal services within places of worship”. It prohibits gatherings of more than 5 people.

Physically distancing ourselves right now is critical in controlling the spread of COVID-19 and will keep our loved ones healthy. Premier Ford said during his daily press conference on April 1, 2020 “We know a surge is coming (referring to COVID-19).  The hard truth is, right now, today, there is very little separating what we will face here in Ontario from the devastation we’ve seen in Italy and Spain. Thousands of lives are at stake. The actions we take today, what we do as a government and as a people, will determine what we face tomorrow.”

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit recognizes that faith communities provide support during difficult times; however drawing people together either inside or outdoors increases the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Significant religious holidays are quickly approaching and often these are accompanied by practices, ceremonies, rituals, and celebratory gatherings.  The provincial order does include these in the prohibition of organized public events.  Activities such as Easter meals, egg hunts and ceremonies cannot take place; these types of activities encourage social gatherings. Community meals providing food to our vulnerable populations may continue on a takeout and delivery basis provided they have received Health Unit approval.

Getting out for a walk is completely acceptable at this time (as long as you are not under quarantine or self-isolation due to illness or exposure).  Fresh air and exercise will help your body manage stress.  Be sure to keep your distance from others (2m/6ft) and don’t forget to do a tick check. Warmer days are upon us and ticks are active; this may increase the risk of contracting Lyme disease.

For more information, visit the Health Unit website at www.healthunit.org or call 1-800-660-5853 or connect with LGLHealthUnit on Facebook and Twitter.

April 3, 2020


Media Release: Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

April 2, 2020

Outbreak found in Stoneridge Manor in Carleton Place

The Health Unit is working with Stoneridge Manor in Carleton Place to manage a COVID-19 outbreak. One staff member has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Infection control measures have been put in place to manage the outbreak and are being monitored by the Health Unit. Staff have been instructed to wear Personal Protective Equipment at all times and to self-monitor for symptoms. The staff member is at home on self-isolation.

“This outbreak reminds us that we all need to follow the recommended actions to decrease the risk of spread of COVID-19 in the community, says Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health. “This includes staying at home as much as possible, and staying 6 feet, or two arms lengths away, from others when in public places to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer for the Province, has recommended that all people over age 70 and people who have chronic illnesses stay at home as much as possible.

A quarantine period of 14 days is now mandatory for all Canadians returning from travel outside of the country. Returning travellers must go straight home upon their return to the country, and rely on help from family, friends, their municipality and local agencies for anything they need.

The best way to get reliable information about COVID-19 is by visiting www.healthunit.org. Please call the Health Unit if you have any questions at 1-800-660-5853 x 2499 from 8:30 to 4:30 every day. You can also get important public health updates by connecting with LGLHealthunit on Facebook and Twitter.

If you have respiratory symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who does, self-isolate at home and then use Ontario’s Self-Assessment Tool for their recommendations. If you need further assistance, call TeleHealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or your health care provider.

Visit Ontario’s website, www.Ontario.ca/coronavirus to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.

Posted April 2, 2020


Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit Media Release

March 31, 2020

Two COVID-19 related deaths reported in Leeds, Grenville & Lanark

It is with sadness that the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit reports that two older people, a man and a woman, with underlying health problems living in the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark area have died from infection with COVID-19. The man was living at the Almonte Country Haven Home, and the woman was living at home and died at the Queensway Carleton hospital. The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit is following up close contacts of the individuals.

“The home wishes to extend their condolences to the family of this gentleman,” says Carolyn DellaForesta, Administrator at Almonte Country Haven. “We wish to express that we understand and appreciate the concerns of our families and our community and assure you that our residents’ care and safety is our number one priority.”

“We extend our sincere condolences to the families and friends of the two people who passed away as well as to the staff of Almonte Country Haven”, says Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health. “The deaths remind us how important it is to protect the vulnerable members in our community” Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer for the Province, has recommended that all people over age 70 and people who have chronic illnesses stay at home as much as possible.

Practicing physical distancing and staying home are essential measures at this time that we are seeing an increase in the people across our region who have lab confirmed local COVID-19 infection. A quarantine period of 14 days is now mandatory for all Canadians returning from travel outside of the country. Returning travellers must go straight home upon their return to the country, and rely on help from family, friends, their municipality and local agencies for anything they need.

The best way to get reliable information about COVID-19 is by visiting www.healthunit.org. Please call the Health Unit if you do not have access to the internet at 1-800-660-5853 x 2499. You can also get important public health updates by connecting with LGLHealthunit on Facebook and Twitter.

Visit Ontario’s website, www.Ontario.ca/coronavirus to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.

April 1, 2020


Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit – Media Release

March 31, 2020

Outbreak found in Carolina Retirement Residence in Perth, Ontario

The Health Unit is working with Carolina Retirement Residence in Perth to manage a COVID-19 outbreak. One resident and one staff member have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Infection control measures have been put in place to manage the outbreak and are being monitored by the Health Unit. Staff who have been in contact with the resident have been instructed to wear Personal Protective Equipment at all times and to self-monitor for symptoms. The staff member who is at home on self-isolation.

“This outbreak reminds us that we all need to follow the recommended actions to decrease the risk of spread of COVID-19 in the community, says Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health. “This incudes staying at home as much as possible, and staying 6 feet, or two arms lengths away, from others when in public places to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer for the Province, has recommended that all people over age 70 and people who have chronic illnesses stay at home as much as possible.

A quarantine period of 14 days is now mandatory for all Canadians returning from travel outside of the country. Returning travellers must go straight home upon their return to the country, and rely on help from family, friends, their municipality and local agencies for anything they need.

The best way to get reliable information about COVID-19 is by visiting www.healthunit.org. Please call the Health Unit if you have any questions at 1-800-660-5853 x 2499 from 8:30 to 4:30 every day. You can also get important public health updates by connecting with LGLHealthunit on Facebook and Twitter.

If you have respiratory symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who does, self-isolate at home and then use Ontario’s Self-Assessment Tool for their recommendations. If you need further assistance, call TeleHealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or your health care provider.

Visit Ontario’s website, www.Ontario.ca/coronavirus to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.

Posted March 31, 2020


Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit Media Release

March 29, 2020

Outbreak found in Almonte Country Haven

The Health Unit is overseeing the management by Almonte Country Haven of a COVID-19 outbreak in the long term care home – 3 residents and 1 staff member have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Infection control measures have been put in place to manage the outbreak and are being monitored by the Health Unit. All staff have been instructed to wear Personal Protective Equipment at all times and to self-monitor for symptoms, and to self-isolate at home when not working.

Over the last few days, the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit has received confirmation of 15 cases of COVID-19 as of March 29 at noon – 3 long term care residents, 1 long term care staff member, 8 isolating at home and 3 in hospital. The increase in cases is not surprising for several reasons. The risk is higher in the United States now and more people returning are testing positive. The Assessment Centres are increasing access to both assessment and testing, and hospital labs in Ottawa and Kingston are now able to process the tests of people in our area with results back in one to two days.

“The increase in the number of people in our community who have tested positive for COVID-19 reinforces the importance of people staying at home as much as possible, and staying 6 feet, or two arms lengths away, from others when in public places to reduce the spread of COVID-19.” recommends Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health. In addition, staying home when sick, coughing in to your sleeve, washing hands frequently with soap and water or hand sanitizer, and cleaning commonly touched surfaces will reduce the risk of people becoming ill.

A quarantine of 14 days is now mandatory for all Canadians returning from travel outside of the country. Returning travellers must go straight home upon their return to the country, and rely on help from family, friends, their municipality and local agencies for anything they need.

The provincial government has now directed all food premises to close to the public unless they can arrange for take-out services, all non-essential businesses and personal services settings are closed to the public as well to reduce physical distance between people.

The best way to get reliable information about COVID-19 is by visiting www.healthunit.org. Please call the Health Unit if you have any questions at 1-800-660-5853 x 2499 from 8:30 to 4:30 every day. You can also get important public health updates by connecting with LGLHealthunit on Facebook and Twitter.

If you have respiratory symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who does, self-isolate at home and then use Ontario’s Self-Assessment Tool for their recommendations. If you need further assistance, call TeleHealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or your health care provider.

Visit Ontario’s website, www.Ontario.ca/coronavirus to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.

Posted March 31, 2020


Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit Media Release

First Person with confirmed COVID-19 reported in Leeds, Grenville & Lanark

March 26, 2020

Today, Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health for the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit, confirmed that an individual living in the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark area has tested positive for COVID-19. The person is in isolation at home and had recently returned from the United States.

A woman in her 70s was assessed and tested using all appropriate precautions and is isolated at home with follow-up from the public health nurse. The Health Unit is actively investigating people who were in contact with the individual and will require all close contacts to self-isolate for 14 days.

“Having an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 in our area is not surprising” reported Dr. Stewart. “This reinforces the importance of the public health measures in place such as school and non-essential service closures, as well as personal precautions like staying at home for 14 days after travel outside the country, physical distancing, covering coughs and sneezes, staying home when sick, and regular hand hygiene.”

The best way to get reliable information about COVID-19 is by visiting www.healthunit.org. Please call the Health Unit if you have any questions at 1-800-660-5853 x 2499. You can also get important public health updates by connecting with LGLHealthunit on Facebook and Twitter.

If you think you may have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, first self-isolate and then use Ontario’s Self-Assessment Tool to see if you need to seek further care.

If you need further assistance, call TeleHealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or your health care provider.

Visit Ontario’s website, www.Ontario.ca/coronavirus to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.

Posted March 26, 2020


Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit – Media Release

March 24, 2020

Slowing the Spread of COVID-19 While Grocery Shopping

Together, we can slow the spread of COVID-19 by making a conscious effort to keep a physical distance between each other when we have to go out in public. Public Health is working with our food stores to ensure this vital service continues so we all have access to safe food.  Many food stores have put strong measures in place to protect their staff and the public.

The following practices will also help reduce your exposure in the grocery store setting, and protect those who are providing this vital service.

If you are sick do not go out and shop.  STAY HOME.

If you have arrived home from travelling, DO NOT SHOP, ask a friend or family member to help or Take advantage of on-line curb side services or grocery delivery services

Keep Clean

  • Clean the handle of your cart
  • Bring your own wipes and hand sanitizer, although the stores have been trying hard to keep a public stock the supplies are short.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands as you enter and after to get into your car
  • If you use reusable bags or containers be sure to clean and sanitize these between uses

Keep your distance

  • Avoid shopping in large groups
  • Keep your distance from other shoppers and employees while in the store, 2 arms-length from each other is an easy way to measure your distance.
  • Avoid common greetings, such as handshakes a simple wave and a friendly smile is just as effective
  • If the grocery store seems busy, come back another time to prevent larger gatherings
  • Offer to grocery shop for those who are self-isolating or those who may be at higher risk like older adults and those in poor health

Keep Safe

  • Remember everyday food safety practices such as separating raw meat from ready to eat food in your cart
  • Wash fruits and vegetables when arriving home and before eating

Please do not hoard, when you do this your friends and neighbours may go without.

The Leeds, Grenville, Lanark District Health Unit understands this is a very stressful and uncertain time for everyone.  Physical distancing can also lead to social isolation, check on the well-being of friends and family but please do it safely.   Try to spend some time outside each day.

Posted March 24, 2020


Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit: What Does Social Distancing Mean?

Here is a description of what Social Distancing is, provided by Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health:

Social distancing means limiting the number of people with whom you come into close contact to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect our community.

Public health officials encourage residents to stay home, when possible, and reduce their interactions with others.

The most important thing you can do is stay home when you are sick. You can also:

Cancel gatherings

  • cancel gatherings, especially with vulnerable residents, including seniors and people with pre-existing health conditions

Cancel non-essential trips

  • consider if outings are necessary
  • no parties or play dates

Limit, postpone or cancel small social gatherings

  • if you can, connect with friends by phone or online
  • keep children away from group settings including indoor play dates with other children

For essential trips (e.g. groceries, work)

  • sanitize or wash your hands when entering and exiting buildings
  • avoid long lineups
    • o use tap to pay rather than handling money
  • when taking public transit, avoid prolonged close contact with others
  • travel during non-peak hours
  • take shorter trips rather than one long trip

Go outdoors

  • take a walk, go to the park, walk the dog
  • keep a distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from others and stay home when sick
  • greet others with a wave, a bow or a nod (in place of handshakes or hugs)
  • after going outside, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

Avoid visits to care facilities

  • protect vulnerable family members by avoiding visits to long-term care homes, retirement homes and other care settings unless it is absolutely essential

Consider alternative ways to work

  • work from home, if feasible
  • facilitate virtual meetings (video or teleconferencing)

Stay physically active

  • go for walks or exercise outdoors
  • do yoga or aerobics at home

While you may not feel sick we ask that you be mindful of those more vulnerable in our community.

Thank you for your efforts to keep everyone healthy.

We are all in this together.

Posted March 20, 2020


Health Unit Media Release 

Public Health Message to LGL Residents about Food Premises

Posted March 19, 2020


Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit Poster

poster outlining the different steps you can take to protect yourself against COVID-19

Posted March 18, 2020


Update on COVID-19 from the Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit 

Board of Health Meeting

February 27, 2020

On December 31, 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) China Country Office was informed of cases of pneumonia of unknown etiology (unknown cause) detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province in China.  A novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was identified as the causative virus by Chinese authorities on January 7, 2020.  On February 11, 2020, the WHO released the official name for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) as COVID-19.  The Health Unit Website provides detailed information about COVID-19.

The Health Unit is participating, for Lanark, Leeds and Grenville, in the provincial strategy to contain the spread of COVID-19.  The incident Management Structure (IMS) is working very well for the Health Unit to keep on top of the evolving COVID-19 situation.  The Health Unit’s local role is to:

  • Provide information to health service providers and respond to queries about possible cases,
  • Monitor people who have had potential travel exposure and who are self-isolating at home,
  • Provide information and advice to school boards and other community partners, and
  • Provide general information to the public through the website and social media,
  • Work with health care partners to develop, and plan for, any changes to the current situation.

At this time, the key message to the public is to protect yourself and others from any respiratory disease, including influenza and the common cold, by:

  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer,
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you have just washed your hands,
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or you arm, not your hand,
  • Stay home if you are sick, and keep your children home if they are sick,
  • Keep commonly used surfaces clean.

Posted March 9, 2020