Mayor Bill Mauro – “Our geographic isolation is in our favour”

Mayor Bill Mauor
Mayor Bill Mauor

THUNDER BAY – Mayor Bill Mauro wants to re-asssure people in Thunder Bay that “We will get through this unprecedented global event. Thunder Bay is the City with a giant heart. We have to be responsible for our own health, and the health of our fellow citizens. We must be vigilant, and not panic”.

Mayor Bill Mauro issued the following statement in response to the monitoring and planning for COVID-19:

“As COVID-19 spreads across the world, we are reminded of the benefits of living in Thunder Bay. This is one of the times when our geographic isolation is in our favour and, with that, the independence and strength of our residents. At the very least, that isolation buys us time. The Medical Officer of Health has cautioned the community yesterday she has moved away from considering ’if the pandemic will impact us here, to when it will come here.’

We have had a number of benefits that other places in the world have not.

Close Co-operation: Here in Canada, we have been fortunate that our public health officials have been diligent. There has been close cooperation between Public Health Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Health and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit, under the leadership of our Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Janet DeMille. And there is close cooperation between the Health Unit and the City of Thunder Bay.

I was in discussion with Dr. DeMille this morning. At this point in time she is not recommending we take immediate action to close City facilities or cancel programming. However, circumstances could change. We will be in ongoing communications with the MOH to get her latest recommendations.

Time to Plan: We’ve had time to plan. The City of Thunder Bay has been working diligently to monitor and prepare for the impacts of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). We continue to closely monitor developments related to COVID-19, and the health and safety of all residents remains paramount.

The City’s Executive Management Team has updated our COVID-19 response plan to enhance our corporate readiness. This includes planning for critical services and staffing options.

The Municipal Emergency Control Group has met and continues to monitor the situation and is ready to respond as required. We are well connected and working collaboratively across the community.

With the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 a pandemic, Pioneer Ridge and Jasper Place are responding to protect our long-term care residents. That has been a priority for me and my colleagues on Council since we first became aware of the impacts of the virus on older adults. At Pioneer Ridge and Jasper Place, there is Active Screening by staff at its entrances. If visitors are exhibiting symptoms or have travelled to affected areas, they cannot visit at this time. Pioneer Ridge and Jasper place have also reduced visitation to the hours of 9 am to 6 pm. They are recommending that visitation is limited to one visitor at a time and that they only visit their own loved one. Some programs have been canceled including the intergenerational programs. There are also enhanced environmental cleaning and assessment protocols in place.

Our People: It is paramount, of course, that we put in place the protocols to protect our long-term care residents. They are the people who built our community and helped make it what it is.

As we plan for the virus, I’m grateful for the people of Thunder Bay. We are resilient. We take care of each other. We take care of ourselves.

On that note, public health advice remains:

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water or use an alcohol-hand sanitizer,
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough, or sneeze,
  • If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough in your sleeve, and
  • Stay home if you are ill – and most certainly stay away from long-term care facilities and hospitals.

These measures may seem simple, but they are very powerful ways to protect yourself and others from getting sick. We can also reduce the risk of exposure and help stop the spread of germs by using alternative greetings instead of a handshake, keeping a distance of two metres from those showing symptoms (e.g. cough) and reducing exposure to crowded places.

Our Neighbours: It is important to be prepared, and consider what you may need to do if you get sick and have to stay home. It is important to check in on our neighbours, and be mindful of others in the community, especially those who are more vulnerable such as seniors and those with underlying medical conditions.

These people are our parents, our grandparents, our family members, and our fellow citizens. We have a collective responsibility to ensure that we do not contribute to the spread of this virus in our community, and that we take care of each other. That’s what we do in Thunder Bay.

Our Giant Heart: We will get through this unprecedented global event. Thunder Bay is the City with a giant heart. We have to be responsible for our own health, and the health of our fellow citizens. We must be vigilant, and not panic. “

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