Letter: Mississippi Mills mayor comments on pandemic

To the Editor,

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our community has shown its true character by coming together and supporting one another during this difficult time.

I am filled with sorrow for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers, friends and neighbours we have lost during the local outbreak.  These are people who contributed to the fabric of our daily lives and each loss ripples through the community. Almonte Country Haven’s updates for the past three days have announced no new passings, which may give us reason for cautious optimism.

As we navigate this unprecedented time together, it gives me a great sense of pride to see residents, businesses and organizations pull together to show support by offering supplies, help and encouragement. Many have stepped up to help their neighbours:  some by shopping and gathering supplies for vulnerable neighbours and others by making and masks for front line workers.

We have seen local companies like the Dairy Distillery shift production to make hand and surface sanitizer; Canadian Hydro Components has helped to produce and donate face shields; Paddye Mann Design has made masks and gowns and Guido Patrice and his team are delivering groceries for workers at Almonte Country Haven. The list goes on and on and it makes me smile each time I hear of someone helping someone else.

While we are facing this unsettling situation there are other communities that are similarly affected. To build connections and learn from others, I reached out to Mayor Letham from Kawartha Lakes – the Pinecrest Care Home in Bobcaygeon is in his community.  They are 7-10 days ahead of us in terms of their outbreak. We spoke about lessons learned from the support his municipality and community provided the care home. One thing he shared with me is that many of the families at Pinecrest called the Long Term Care Crisis Line where they could seek answers.

To access the expanded Long-Term Care ACTION Line, please call 1-866-876-7658.  For TTY services, call 1-800-387-5559.  Individuals can also visit the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care website at www.health.gov.on.ca

This morning I spoke with Minister Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care, to learn more about recent announcements made by Premier Ford regarding increased support for long term care homes.  I learned of valuable resources like “SWAT teams”, boosts to workers, and increased supplies that can be made available to long-term care homes should they request it. I have shared this information with the management of Almonte Country Haven should they determine that this support would be beneficial.

I have also reached out to MP Scott Reid and MPP Randy Hillier for support and guidance. I will continue to advocate for our municipality and will work with Council and staff to make decisions that are in the best interest of keeping our community safe.

To stay informed we receive regular updates from sources such as the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit, Almonte County Haven and the Province of Ontario. Municipal staff share important information to residents on a regular basis via the municipal website, social media as well as flyers recently circulated by post.

Our municipal facilities continue to be closed to the public and some services have been modified in order to protect both residents and staff.  Rest assured that we are still here to provide essential services and to assist you.  Please call or email our staff with any municipal related questions. They can be reached at 613-256-2064 or at town@mississippimills.ca.

In closing, I want to thank everyone on the frontlines, the healthcare workers and first responders, who show up every day and who work so tirelessly to serve our most vulnerable.  Thank you to the essential workers; we could not do this without you.  And thank you to every single person in this community who supports them, showing that we truly are in this together.

Stay safe and be well.

Mayor Christa Lowry

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