Coronavirus: City of Kawartha Lakes activates emergency control group, closes all public facilities

City of Kawartha Lakes council called a special meeting Tuesday morning to update residents on its coronavirus pandemic response as well as how it will move forward during the next month.

The municipality activated its pandemic response team on March 12.

“Number one was the health safety of our community. That’s you, the staff and our members of the public and their families. That’s paramount,” said CAO Ron Taylor.

“We don’t know what we don’t know.  We don’t know how long this will go.”

The city activated its emergency control group and emergency operations centre (EOC) on March 16. It will be active for the next two weeks, meeting each Monday.

“The EOC will meet on a weekly basis as required,” said fire Chief Mark Pankhurst.

The City of Kawartha Lakes has not declared a state of emergency.

“We would declare when we feel the surge and our response is exhausted. That’s when we will declare to open up all the services we need,” added Pankhurst.

Essential services in the city, including fire, police, water and wastewater, will continue during the pandemic.

“Safe water is a top priority in the city and that will not be compromised. Road services will continue and spring flooding will go through our public works department. Lindsay transit will continue for now and landfill access is restricted to the public,” said Mayor Andy Letham.

As of 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, all municipal buildings will close to the public.

All community centres, community halls, libraries, pools, museums and service centres are closed.

Curbside recycling and garbage collection will continue as scheduled, but all landfills will be closed to the public.

Human services administrative offices in Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton are closed to the public.  All supports for housing, Ontario Works and Children’s Services will continue by telephone at 705-324-9870 during business hours.

All licensed child care centres in Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton are now closed.

Victoria Manor continues to operate under restricted access protocols as directed by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Long Term Care.

Al fire and paramedic buildings will close to the public.  The services will continue to operate.

Building officials will not be conducting inspections on projects that contain an occupied dwelling.  This temporary halt to inspections continues until April 6.

Lindsay Transit will continue service with modifications.  LIMO specialized transit cancellation of non-essential services.  All fares are waived in an effort to staff and the public safe.

The municipal airport is closed, with access only for Ornge and emergency vehicles.

“This is today, tomorrow is tomorrow — we’ll see how long this goes,” added Letham.

“Some will say we’re overreacting. I sure hope they’re right.”

Property tax scheduling continues as usual.

“We’re still operating business as usual in our municipality for now,” said Taylor.

Coun. Doug Elmslie was recently on a cruise and chose to self-isolate and was not in attendance.

All council and committee meetings are cancelled until May. Next Tuesday’s council meeting is being moved to this Thursday, where all council business that needs to be wrapped up will be.

If needed, with 24 hours’ notice, council can call another emergency meeting.

Residents will be kept up to date at kawarthalakes.ca/covid19

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk is low for Canadians but warn this could change quickly. They caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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