Joined by Mayor Bonnie Crombie, the City of Mississauga organized a virtual town hall on March 20 covering pressing questions and issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Residents were also invited to participate in the Tele Town Hall by asking questions through a call-in hotline.
The event was live streamed through the city’s website.
The discussion format included speakers representing the City of Mississauga, Peel Region Public Health, and the Trillium Health Partners. Updates were also provided by city councillors and senior staff from Emergency and Public Health Departments and Peel Region Police.
The hour-long session addressed in detail the “concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, and to inform the public about what the city is doing to protect their health and safety.”
Speaking on the call, Mayor Crombie called the pandemic “a rapidly evolving situation with information changing by the hour.”
During the call, she outlined several measures being taken with the goal of “reducing the spread of the virus and flattening the curve.”
Changes in Mississauga
Mississauga has activated its Emergency Operations Centre—the City’s incident and disaster management office—to meet regularly with key staff, Peel Public Health, and the Region of Peel’s Emergency Operations
Mississauga’s city programming is altogether cancelled, including limited public gatherings over 50 people until April 5
Ensuring grocery stores remain stocked, retail deliveries will take place over 24-hour periods
Property taxes will be deferred for 3 months “to provide our residents and our local businesses with financial relief”
MiWay bus fleets will allow rear door boarding, promoting distance between passengers and operators
“I also ask that you be kind to one another,” said Mayor Crombie in response to unprecedented panic buying at grocery stores, adding, “don’t take more than you need. No hoarding, no stockpiling in the checkouts.”
Dr. Lawrence Loh, Medical Officer of Health for Peel Region, called the situation “a golden period in disease control,” and encouraged communities to “flatten the curve” by taking “strong, decisive actions.”
He reassured the public that positive COVID-19 cases “that do not have links with travel” means that “we are now at the stage where stronger social distancing measures can actually make a difference.”
Strong recommendations issued
Non-essential businesses, including “banquet halls, conference venues, personal service settings and retail, with the exception of groceries, pharmacies, and gasoline” to close, effectively “decreasing destinations that people might wish to travel to.”
Cancel unnecessary celebrations or gatherings. Prevent having to visit health care facilities or assessment centers “unless absolutely necessary to ensure that health care services are focused on those who need it the most.”
Practice the two-metre rule in lines, crowds or public transit, wash your hands frequently, and try not to touch your face.
“I cannot stress how important it is that there be a whole community approach taken to public health,” said Dr. Loh. “We’ll continue to track down cases, and contacts, and work with our partners around testing and providing recommendations.”
On the hospital front, Trillium Health Partners (THP) have employed the help of 13,000 staff to “actively manage COVID-19 today and prepare for what might be an unprecedented set of service needs into the next weeks and months ahead.”
Michelle E. DiEmanuele, President and CEO of Trillium Health Partners, further highlighted some key actions being implemented across its health centres and hospitals, with the goal of “keeping patients safe… keeping our people who are working in the hospital safe, and preparing for that major influx of patients that we are expecting.”
Precautionary hospital practices
Over 1,200 elective surgeries have been cancelled until April 3, ensuring that “urgent and emergent surgeries are getting through.”
The hospital’s “Critical Care Plan” ensures that “sickest patients have that critical care that is needed with ventilation and other forms of services.”
30 per cent of Trillium health clinics have been converted to virtual care visits or phone calls. These enhanced screening measures means patients can still receive the same support and “shorten hours of operation to continue to reduce our activities [that are] not essential.”
Solutions to increase the capacity of hospitals have resulted in helpful developments, such as having 380 “ready” beds, and working with local businesses to receive crucial services that will support hospitals in “fighting this pandemic.”
When it comes to public safety Chief of Peel Regional Police Nishan Duraiappah reminded residents of remaining vigilant “in the absence of crime and vigilance.”
“When social norms and behaviours have changed, there are always questions whether there is a potential for further victimization, whether it be through businesses, personally or in residences,” added Duraiappah.
Duraiappah reported that the police division has not witnessed “any trends that have caused us any concern.”
“Protect those who are most vulnerable in our community, including people with compromised immune systems, pregnant women, and of course the elderly,” said Mayor Crombie.
The COVID-19 Tele Town Hall was concluded with a question and answer period with local residents calling in.
A full recording of the event, including questions and answers, can be found at https://web.mississauga.ca/city-of-mississauga-news/news/city-of-mississauga-to-hold-covid-19-tele-town-hall/