As provincial directives roll forward to enforce social isolation in the continuous effort to“flatten the curve”of the COVID-19 pandemic,theauthoritiesinWestNipissing have had to continually adjust their pro- cedures. Tasked with ensuring that ever- evolving regulations are respected, from a complete provincial fire ban to social distancing guidelines, it is a challenge that requires constant collaboration, through a local Emergency Control Group that meets weekly, and adaptability.
Things have certainly changed around town hall in the span of two weeks. There are no more in-council meetings, offices are closed to walk-in traffic, and administration is in reaction mode as it is forced to respond to new measures and guidelines coming hour by hour from health officials, the province and the federal government – all while dealing with public panic, a paralyzed local economy and staffing challenges because of isolation measures. Without officially declaring an emergency, the town council is fighting a battle against a common enemy. COVID-19 has disrupted every facet of our collective lives.
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The WN COVID-19 Assessment Centre “is getting busier” according to WN General Hospital CEO Cynthia Desormiers, who adds that between 15 and 20 tests have been conducted at the Sturgeon Falls site from its opening on March 30 to Monday, April 13.
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Depuis la mi-mars, les décrets provinciaux se succèdent à grande vitesse pour ralentir la propagation de la COVID-19, ordonnant la fermeture d’institutions et commerces, l’isolement social et le confinement, et même une interdiction de faire du feu. En conséquence, les autorités locales doivent continuellement ajuster leurs procédures pour faire respecter ces nouvelles règles, ce qui demande de la flexibilité et une collaboration constante. La concertation est assurée par des rencontres hebdomadaires du Groupe d’intervention d’urgence locale, qui réunit la police, les pompiers, l’administration municipale et les services de santé.
A phenomenal thing is happening in West Nipissing. A business that had to close its doors because of COVID-19 has picked up the gauntlet to help people re- quiring facemasks. Sarah Pitre of Stitch N Love has a cohort of helpers sewing from their homes and has already donated over 700 facemasks to a variety of organiza- tions throughout the province – and all these facemasks are made locally, in kitch- ens and bedrooms and sewing rooms of West Nipissing.
With the province in a state of emergency, schools closed since mid March, many workers forced into isolation and now all non-essential businesses ordered to close, there is no doubt the COVID-19 outbreak is having a devastating effect on the economy and West Nipissing is no exception. On March 24, Ontario Premier Doug Ford put out the list of essential businesses allowed to continue operations, and everyone else had to lock their doors – a hard pill to swallow for many small businesses who rely on day-to-day revenue to stay afloat and keep people employed.
It’s not likely going to be a movie, but the Stuart Seville and Gayle Primeau version of Out of Africa is riveting enough. The couple is well known in Sturgeon Falls for the work Gayle does in downtown beautification and Stuart as a real estate entrepreneur. The two avid travelers took a trip to South Africa in early March, just before COVID-19 began to take hold in Canada, and had a very difficult time trying to get back home in the midst of international shutdowns that quickly followed. By publication date, they will have almost completed their 14 days of strict isolation at home in Sturgeon Falls – where they are very relieved to be now.
Marc Serré is back at home in Verner, ensconced in his house as everyone else is, keeping the lines open to his constituents in the safest ways possible to protect the health and safety of his staff. The Nickel Belt MP has been inundated with questions and concerns, of course, as people try to figure out how they will come out of the COVID-19 crisis and how recently-announced government aid will help them if they’ve lost their job, are self-employed and not earning income, or otherwise affected by this unprecedented situation.
Le Centre d’évaluation de la COVID-19 à Sturgeon Falls «devient plus achalandé» selon la directrice de l’Hôpital général de Nipissing Ouest, Cynthia Desormiers. Elle dit que 15 à 20 tests de dépistage ont été effectués au site local depuis son ouverture le 30 mars jusqu’en date du lundi 13 avril.
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MPP John Vanthof, Timiskaming-Cochrane, has a provincial riding going from West Nipissing to Cochrane, with constituents in three different health unit areas. As of April 1, those three health units had announced a total of 14 positive COVID-19 cases, with numbers expected to rise. On top of facing this growing crisis, Vanthof has been mourning the loss of his mother Georgina, who passed away on March 20th, and is in social isolation at his home in Earlton. Despite all of this, he continues to make himself available to his constituents.
À 8 heures le matin du mercredi 1 avril, il n’y avait toujours aucun cas confirmé de COVID-19 dans le Nipissing Ouest, mais cela pourrait changer à tout moment. Débordée par le travail que demande la réaction à la pandémie, la directrice de l’Hôpital général de Nipissing Ouest, Cynthia Desormiers, a pris le temps de répondre à quelques questions et d’assurer que l’hôpital prend toutes les mesures nécessaires pour être prêt à toute éventualité.
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Le retour d’un voyage de plaisance est souvent triste, marquant la fin d’une belle aventure, mais c’est avec grand soulagement et joie que Gayle Primeau et Stuart Seville sont montés à bord d’un vol d’Air Canada pour rentrer au pays le 21 mars, écourtant leur vacances en Afrique du Sud. Le couple est bien connu à Sturgeon Falls, Gayle pour son travail bénévole à embellir le centre-ville, et Stuart comme entrepreneur en immobilier. Passionnés de voyage, ils ont quitté pour l’Afrique du Sud le 9 mars, juste avant que la crise du COVID-19 éclate au Canada.
As of 8 am on Wednesday, April 1, there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in West Nipissing, but that will most likely change. An extremely busy Cynthia Desormiers, CEO of the West Nipissing General Hospital, was able to respond to some questions, affirming that the WNGH is doing everything it can to prepare for any eventuality.