During these unprecedented times, our utmost concern is to ensure the safety of the people who receive services from Community Living Parry Sound. While the State of Emergency presses on in the province of Ontario, our priority remains to keep every person associated with our organization (i.e. people supported, staff, board members and/or community partners) well-connected and well-informed. As the pandemic unfolds and the situation evolves, we will do our best to share information and resources pertaining to COVID-19 that may be helpful to people with disabilities and their families. For more frequent updates regarding the Parry Sound community, please follow our Social Media pages (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter). We invite you to share with us any resources that have helped you or your family through these challenging times. We are all in this together.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is the disease caused by a coronavirus, more specifically, the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Those who are infected with COVID-19 often show few symptoms or even none at all. You may not know you have symptoms of COVID-19 because they are similar to a cold or flu.
Symptoms have included:
- difficulty breathing
- pneumonia in both lungs
- In severe cases, infection can lead to death. Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19. This is the longest known incubation period for this disease. It is for these reasons that the COVID-19 outbreak has become a pandemic.
Plain Language Guide for COVID-19
Another great resource written in plain language can be found here. Finally, APTUS created two social stories that can be used to help people with disabilities understand their housemate’s or their own COVID-19 diagnosis, should such a scenario occur.
COVID-19 and The Developmental Disability Sector
The following video is an informative 30-minute webinar led by Dr. Rick Rader who is a Medical Advisor for the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals. It discusses the role that direct support professionals play in ensuring the health and safety of the people they support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
How to Keep Your Family Healthy
What is Physical Distancing?
You have probably seen signage in stores or have maybe heard people talking about physical or social distancing. As of right now, physical distancing is the only known way we can slow the spread of COVID-19. Because the SARS-CoV-2 virus is spread by water droplets (expelled by breathing), keeping a ‘safe’ distance (6 feet or 2 metres or more) between people [not in your household] is crucial.
How do I Self-Isolate?
It is imperative that you isolate yourself from others if you have COVID-19 symptoms or may have been exposed to COVID-19. Follow these steps if you have been directed to self-isolate by your health care provider or Telehealth.
COVID-19 Outbreak Updates
With so much information about COVID-19 circulating, it’s easy to get frustrated and even frightened. A great way to focus on what’s important is checking only a couple of sources for trustworthy updates – like the Government of Ontario, or your local Health Unit. Community Living Parry Sound relies on the updates of the North Bay Parry Sound Health Unit to stay informed.
As COVID-19 cases continue to rise at an alarming rate, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is imposing a Provincewide Shutdown. Additional restrictions will be put into place and reinforce that Ontarians should stay at home as much as possible to minimize transmission of the virus and prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. As of December 26 at 12:01 am, the shutdown will take effect.
The current COVID-19 Response Framework will be paused when the Provincewide Shutdown comes into effect. The impacts of these time-limited measures will be evaluated throughout the 14 days in Northern Ontario and 28 days in Southern Ontario to determine if it is safe to lift any restrictions or if they need to be extended.
In response to these exceptional circumstances, the Provincewide Shutdown would put in place time-limited public health and workplace safety measures similar to those in other jurisdictions. It would help stop the trend of high COVID-19 transmission in communities, preserve health system capacity, safeguard vulnerable populations and those who care for them, and save lives. Measures include, but are not limited to:
- Restricting indoor organized public events and social gatherings, except with members of the same household (the people you live with). Individuals who live alone may consider having exclusive close contact with one other household.
- Prohibiting in-person shopping in most retail settings – curbside pickup and delivery can continue. Discount and big-box retailers selling groceries will be limited to 25 percent capacity for in-store shopping. Supermarkets, grocery stores and similar stores that primarily sell food, as well as pharmacies, will continue to operate at 50 percent capacity for in-store shopping.
- Restricting indoor access to shopping malls – patrons may only go to a designated indoor pickup area (by appointment only), essential retail stores that are permitted to be open (e.g. pharmacy, grocery store), or, subject to physical distancing and face-covering requirements, to the food court for takeout purchases. Shopping malls may also establish outdoor designated pickup areas.
- Prohibiting indoor and outdoor dining. Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments will be permitted to operate by takeout, drive-through, and delivery only.
The CLPS Planning Team has created a plain language resource that you can share with your loved ones. It will help to explain why Ontario is shutting down and what the shutdown entails.
Update* As of January 9, the Province-wide Shutdown has been extended for northern Ontarians for an additional 14 days.
Looking for things to do while staying home?
Finding engaging and fun activities to keep yourself or your loved ones busy can be frustrating – especially when we’re meant to spend most, if not all, our time at home. Thankfully, Community Living Huntsville has shared this resource guidebook filled with online sources of entertainment. We hope that you can find something worthwhile inside!