First and foremost I hope that everyone is safe and healthy in these very unprecedented times. We are in the midst of a worldwide public health emergency. It is Seguin Township's priority to keep all of our employees and our residents safe and healthy while continuing to provide essential services throughout the Township. Council is continuing to meet on its original schedule via electronic means.
Seguin Township continues to follow the advice of the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, the West Parry Sound Health Centre and the Province. The advice from all is to "stay at home" for everything except essential reasons. The West Parry Sound Emergency Command Group meets three times a week during this emergency. Seguin is represented at this table by our Fire Chief, Don Hood. Don debriefs with our Chief Administrative Officer and I following each meeting.
As of April 7, 2020, 466 people had been tested for COVID-19 in our region. 7 cases have been reported, 5 of which are resolved. We have experienced no deaths and 1 person has been hospitalized. There is a testing centre in Parry Sound. If you believe that you have any COVID-19 symptoms, you are urged to use Ontario's Self Assessment Tool which can be found at https://covid-19.ontario.ca. and call your health care provider or the Health Unit at 1-800-563-2808. You must have an appointment to go to the Parry Sound testing centre.
We are all being urged to stay home and avoid non-essential travel. All residents of Seguin, whether they own primary or secondary residences, are expected to follow all of the public health directives, including self isolation. Anyone arriving from outside of Canada or who has been in contact with a presumptive case of COVID-19 must self isolate for a minimum of 14 days. That means no trips to the post office, grocery store or to pick up take out at a restaurant. You must stay within your own home for the full 14 days. Many grocery and pharmacy outlets are offering delivery. A comprehensive list of these can be found at seguin.ca.
Physical distancing is paramount to preventing the spread of the virus. You have the power to help the spread by staying home except for very essential reasons. Only one family member should visit shops as needed. Shopping is not a family outing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Province has closed most retail outlets on Friday April 10 and Sunday April 12 to give those front line workers a break and much deserved time with their families.
If you are residing in Seguin, please support your local businesses. Many have new websites and are offering telephone and online ordering. Many of these businesses have increased their inventory to help support all of us during the outbreak. Many will prepare your order for curb side pick up. They deserve our support in this difficult time.
The Province has implemented a Restricted Fire Zone in our region until further notice. This means no burning at any time of day including for warmth and cooking. By provincial order, Seguin's marinas, boat launches and campgrounds are closed until further notice. I know that many people were looking forward to being out on the water in their boats. The only boats that can be launched are for emergency use or for year round Seguin residents that can only access their sole Canadian address by boat.
You may have heard that some of our neighbouring municipalities declared a state of emergency and closed all of their offices and laid off staff. I believe that the Provincial Emergency declaration gives us the necessary powers to act in the best interest of our residents and staff and that more "emergency declarations" could cause unnecessary panic. As your Mayor, I do have the power to declare a municipal emergency if the need changes. Seguin is continuing to provide essential services by telephone and online or by appointment at our municipal offices. Our Public Works Department is working at full compliment to keep our roads safe throughout the spring thaw and to maintain our transfer stations. Please obey all of the half load restrictions on our township roads to help us as the frost comes out of the ground.
seguin.ca is full of information on COVID-19 resources. Please visit it to learn about federal employment insurance and CERB benefit application processes for individuals and the financial assistance for small businesses. We hope that as many of our local businesses will be able to retain as many of their staff as possible by leveraging the federal assistance packages.
Many of you reading this message may be serving your community on the very front lines as medical workers, grocery or pharmacy personnel, truck drivers or cleaners. To you we say an enormous thank you for all that you are doing to keep us safe, healthy and together as a community. You are our heroes!
We are living through an unprecedented time in history. Although physical distancing is a must right now, social cohesion is more important than ever. Please reach out to your loved ones and neighbours electronically. A telephone call to a senior living alone can be so important to their well being and our community. And if you cannot find an answer to your question or want to provide feedback, please feel free to call me at my home (705-732-6401).
Seguin is a wonderful place to call home. I believe that we will survive and thrive following the COVID-19 time. Please stay safe and at home. I wish everyone a wonderful Easter and Passover season.