Unlike other variants throughout the pandemic, evolving data is showing that while the Omicron variant is less severe, its high transmissibility has resulted in a larger number of hospital admissions relative to ICU admissions. Staff absenteeism is also expected to rise and affect operations in workplaces across Ontario due to Omicron infection and exposure, including in hospitals and schools.
Niagara Health asks public to help relieve pressure on emergency departments
Niagara Health is seeing a high number of patients in our Emergency Departments (ED) who do not need this level of healthcare and could access the right level of care through their family physician or other primary care provider.
A significant number of these people are seeking a COVID-19 test and have mild or no symptoms. In these cases, people should stay home and rest while self-isolating to limit the spread of this highly contagious virus. Patients should reach out to their primary care provider for help managing symptoms at home, if needed.
Demand for COVID-19 testing in Niagara is currently very high and continues to increase. Niagara Health is prioritizing tests for those at greatest risk, including healthcare workers and emergency responders.
Welland, ON – The City’s draft Community Trails Strategy (CTS) will be presented at a second open house on January 13 from 7-8 p.m. via a Zoom webinar.
The CTS enhances connectivity and accessibility of both on and off-road trails initiatives that the City and its partners have previously undertaken. In addition, the project aims to identify opportunities for several types of trails and active transportation trips, including commuting, recreation, fitness, and touring.
“Given the growth the city will experience in the next few decades, now is the exact time to finalize a community trails strategy to guide us into the future,” said Rob Axiak, director of community services. “With a shift toward more active communities and creating spaces for people to walk, run, hike, and bike, this strategy is about as important as anything else going on right now.”
Creating an active future for Welland provides options for healthy, active living and more ways to reduce traffic, save money, improve local air quality, support local economies, and make travel easier and safer for those who can’t drive, especially children.
Additionally, active transportation and trails support energetic lifestyles, improve physical and mental health, and protect the environment.
The project will also aim to provide on and off-road connectivity to popular destinations within Welland and the surrounding area, including regional and provincial trails networks.
Those wishing to participate can register to receive reminders about the event the day before and one hour before the session begins.
Anyone looking to learn more can find more information about the project’s timeline and work completed up to this point on EnagageWelland.
Ontario updates COVID-19 testing and tracing protocols
Key changes include the following:
Symptomatic testing will be available for high-risk individuals, and individuals who work in high-risk settings.
Individuals with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 are presumed positive and they should follow isolation and/or self-monitoring guidelines.
Testing for asymptomatic contacts of cases is generally no longer recommended, except for high-risk contacts/individuals that are part of confirmed or suspected outbreaks in high-risk settings, as recommended by public health.
Positive rapid antigen tests will no longer require PCR confirmation.
Individuals with COVID-19 should isolate for five days if they are fully vaccinated or under the age of 12, and if their symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours.
Government of Canada launches applications for the expanded Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit
The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, announced on December 30 that the expanded access to CWLB is now in effect and Canadians in designated regions affected by lockdowns or qualifying capacity restrictions can apply for the benefit.
Currently, British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nunavut are included in the list of designated lockdown regions. This list will be updated as provincial or territorial governments introduce changes to public health restrictions.
The Ontario government has raised the general minimum wage to $15.00 per hour starting today. This new, higher general minimum wage is expanded to now include bartenders and alcohol servers. The special minimum wages for students under 18, homeworkers and hunting, fishing and wilderness guides have also increased.
Welland, ON – Last fall, Welland City Council approved a motion directing staff to prepare the terms of reference for a committee that would review Council compensation.
The Council Compensation Review Committee is responsible for reviewing the remuneration and benefits paid to council members for the upcoming term of office: November 2022 to November 2026.
The committee’s membership will include five citizen members, two of whom are business representatives from within the business community. In addition, the city clerk and manager of human resources or their designate will also attend meetings, and only committee members may vote on any issue.
“Committees of Council play a critical role in our community and how the City moves forward,” said Tara Stephens, city clerk. “We hope to get a good turnout of applicants. And as always, the staff are here to answer any questions people may have.”
All committee members will be interviewed and appointed by a staff panel consisting of the Director of Finance/Treasurer/CFO, Manager of Human Resources and the City Clerk. Councillors will not make any appointments to the committee.
The committee will not have any decision-making capacity or delegated authority, except to direct staff to assist with the administrative support, including gathering information and resource materials to help the group with this review.
Many Ontario municipalities have established committees related to the review of council compensation. The purpose of establishing the committee is to allow for an objective third-party assessment of council remuneration and expenses.
Learn more about the committee and how to apply by visiting the City’s website.
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Federal Program ERROR in Calculations for Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program
Effective Thursday, January 6, at 11 p.m., Niagara Health is temporarily closing the Urgent Care Centre at their Fort Erie Site in order to redeploy emergency-trained physicians and nurses to Emergency Departments (ED) where they are most needed.
Visits to Urgent Care Centres are not life-threatening and can usually be attended to in primary care settings. Members of the community seeking healthcare should first contact their primary care provider. The Urgent Care Centre in Port Colborne remains open, and people can also access virtual urgent care services at www.UrgentCareOntario.ca. In an emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest Emergency Department. For more information, please visit the Niagara Health website at www.niagarahealth.on.ca/KnowYourOptions.
The Town of Fort Erie has expressed concern over the temporary closure, stating that it does not support the decision to temporarily close Fort Erie’s Urgent Care Centre (UCC) due to staff shortages without consulting Town representatives first.