Hello, bonjour, and welcome, to Carlsbad-Vars Radio, CJRO, at 107.7 and 107.9 FM in Carlsbad Springs, Vars, Edwards, Navan, southeast Ottawa, and online, at CJROradio.com.
I’m Candice Vetter, reporting from my home office in North Russell.
Written updates are also posted to our website, CJROradio.com. And I will be presenting some useful tips for COVID Coping on Local First.
We’ll start the news with health.
To avoid confusion and misunderstanding, authorities are using the words physical distancing, instead of social distancing. This explains we can still be social, we just can’t be close together. This term helps people understand the difference, so they feel less lonely and emotionally isolated.
Numbers coming out from Public Health in Ontario may be giving residents a false sense of security.
We don’t know about the vast majority of cases, because there are nowhere near enough testing kits available for Ontario. Most provincial assessment centres are only testing people if they are both very high risk and have symptoms.
In Southern Ontario even front line health workers are not getting tested quickly. So it is more important than ever that physical distancing is maintained. Don’t be fooled by low numbers in the news. Statistics without context are worthless. And for some context, health professionals in Ontario, on Monday morning, said they now estimate that sixty-five per cent of COVID-19 cases came from community transmission.
One in four ICU beds in Ontario are now filled with COVID-19 patients. So health professionals warn, very strongly, that this is the time to be isolated. Do not be lulled into a sense of false protection. If you cannot be isolated, then you must have a robust protocol for sanitizing and protecting yourself and others.
Another concern, especially for young people, has also arisen. Vaping and smoking, which are often done socially, have the potential to both spread the virus through sharing, and to weaken lungs, making a person more likely to get very sick.
In Carlsbad Springs the Optimist Club has sent out a schedule of cancellations.
The Easter Egg Hunt has been postponed to next year.
The Flying Squirrel trampoline activity scheduled for April 19 is rescheduled to November 8.
There will be no brunch in April and possibly May.
Youth Night sessions are cancelled. Maureen Mackie will start the fall sessions September 10.
There will be no Roadblock on May 2.
Soccer, which was to run May 18 to June 22 is cancelled. Everywhere in the City of Ottawa there is no access to sports fields until the end of June.
The bike rodeo scheduled for May 30 is currently on hold. Chances are it will be cancelled.
The Mixed Slow-Pitch Ball Tournament scheduled for June 19 to 21 is expected to be cancelled.
The City of Ottawa has developed a handy guide to help residents support local businesses during the pandemic.
Go to Ottawa.ca, click on business, and click on Economic support and recovery.
The City has a good list there of Business Closure Best Practices, and Support for Businesses and Workers. A list on the website gives links for ways to purchase everything, from takeout foods to online gift certificates to arts and culture to beer delivery.
The City has also extended payment times for some interim and final property tax bills. They were due March 19 and June 18, respectively. Now a grace period until October 30 has been established. But you must apply – it is not automatic. Go to the Taxes homepage on Ottawa.ca for information.
The federal government is warning of a text scam preying on Canadians. The text says you have been given about $1300 dollars from the Government of Canada and you just have to provide your information to receive the funds. This is a lie! It is not true! Don’t participate.
The federal funds are going to be issued, through existing channels, in early to mid-April. No one from any government organization will be sending texts or emails, or making phone calls, asking for your banking information.
Also the Canada Revenue Agency has announced that it will not be starting contact with taxpayers regarding audits, in all but exceptional cases. No new audits will be launched, no audits will be finalized, and CRA will make no requests for information about existing audits. So if you get threatening calls or texts or emails from CRA, ignore them.
Another financial aspect of the pandemic involves the five major banks. The banks are supposed to be cooperating with government edicts protecting small business. However, CJRO has been informed that this is not always the case. So if you are having a problem with your bank, whether as a business owner or an individual, we would like to hear about it. Please send an email to newsCJRO@gmail.com .
For people who commute into Ottawa, note that OC Transpo is running on the Saturday schedule. While the City is reducing hours to reflect a reduction of 70 to 90 per cent in ridership, it has also created new concerns about crowding on the buses. And, of course, crowds are the problem.
If you choose to drive into downtown be aware that Elgin Street is closed northbound from Catherine Street to Nepean Street, for approximately 17 weeks.
The City is replacing sidewalks, installing art, pavers, landscaping, street furniture and doing the top lift of asphalt.
While closed, all northbound motorists, cyclists and transit will be detoured from Elgin Street to Metcalfe Street.
On a more cheerful note, there is some good news from Orleans.
The Orléans Sobeys and the Trim and Innes Sobeys donated over $1,100 dollars in food items and over $1,300 dollars in Gift Cards to the Orléans-Cumberland Community Resource Centre food bank. Food banks are struggling from lack of donations and increased need right now, so this help is most welcome.
And in the Avalon community in Orleans neighbours have given the rest of the country a good example of how to be physically distant, but not socially isolated. That suburb is holding happy hours every evening from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Residents bring their drinks, snacks and lawn chairs to the ends of their driveways and everyone has a visit, while maintaining well over the minimum distance.
Finally, a reminder, with spring and summer coming, Parks Canada has suspended all visitor services and motor vehicle access to national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas.
For current pass holders, the end dates of annual passes and Discovery Passes will be automatically extended. If you have a campsite reservation the Parks will try to contact you, or you can go to Canada.ca.
If you have an interesting take on COVID coping we’d like to hear from you. Send an email to newsCJRO@gmail.com.
CJRO – last on the dial, first for local news.