Newswatch COVID-19 Digest: Monday, March 23, 2020

(LGL Health Unit via Newswatch Group)

Here is the latest local, regional and national headlines on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) for Monday, March 23, 2020:

  • There have been 503 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Ontario. Eight of those have been resolved. Six people have died. Another positive case in Eastern Ontario – a woman in her 60s who contracted the virus through close contact. She is self-isolating. That’s the fourth case in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit jurisdiction. The number of Ontario people tested is 28,506; 19,586 were negative and test results are pending for 8,417.
  • Canada’s confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 case total is now 1,471. The country has 20 COVID-19 related deaths – 10 in British Columbia, one in Alberta, five in Ontario and four in Quebec.
  • The third case of coronavirus in Eastern Ontario is another Prescott-Russell resident. The man in his 30s is a healthcare worker at The Ottawa Hospital. The hospital is doing contact tracing of staff and patients there there while the Eastern Ontario Health Unit is looking at the trace history in Prescott-Russell. After the third case, the health unit says it won’t be releasing specific details on each case given how much the virus has spread now.
  • The City of Brockville will only be running the “evening route” (yellow) as of 6:45 a.m. this morning (Monday). Blue, red and green routes are not running. The yellow route will run normal operating hours through 9 p.m. The city has temporarily suspended non-essential services.
  • The only essential services operating with the City of Brockville are police, fire, waterworks, solid waste and transit. Non-essential services are scheduled to return March 30.
  • The Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce has closed its office until Wednesday, April 1. It’s still available via email only –
  • The Brockville Police Services Board meeting on March 24 is cancelled. The City of Brockville council meeting on March 24 is cancelled.
  • The Brockville Police Service will responding to emergency calls but non-emergencies will he handled over the phone. Chief Scott Fraser says the police station on Parkedale Avenue is closed to the public but you can speak to dispatch through the intercom outside the building. Fingerprinting is rescheduled.
  • Leeds Grenville Economic Development has launched a web page for business to help them during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can find that website here.
  • The Brockville Tourism Development Fund, intended to help local events, is postponed until further notice. The fund is $20,000 and applicants could apply for funding from $1,500 to $5,000.
  • The Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority has cancelled some of its specialized programming and closed its administration offices to walk-ins. But conservative areas remain open “for physical and mental health benefits.”
  • The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit is encouraging social distancing even more as Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam says the country is at a “fairly critical period” with coronavirus. As of today (Monday), all health unit offices are closed to walk-ins. The health unit is still taking calls at 1-800-660-5853.
  • In Westport, Mayor Robin Jones says the local food bank is making adjustments. Recent layoffs are putting pressure on the food bank. To avoid handling cash, Jones says the best way to help is an e-transfer donation to the treasurer, Norman Lapointe, at The food bank number is 613-273-9195.
  • The Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands has cancelled all non-essential services and closed public facilities. They are scheduled to reopen April 6. More information on what is operating and what hours is on their website here.
  • The United Counties of Leeds and Grenville has passed a bylaw to allow for electronic participation in meetings during the coronavirus outbreak. The province made the change for local councils but each one has to change its procedural bylaw.
  • The Town of Prescott has all public facilities closed through April 5. The town’s emergency management committee continues to meet regularly. Essential services – waterworks, emergency services, garbage and recycling – continue to operate.
  • The United Way of Leeds and Grenville has postponed its Volunteer Appreciation Event, originally scheduled for Friday, March 27, to a later date, to be determined.
  • The Ontario Real Estate Association has asked realtors to stop open houses.
  • Driver testing is on hold. Ontario is closing all DriveTest examination centers and part-time Travel Point locations, effective today until further notice.
  • Parliament will be recalled on Tuesday to address measures in the federal government’s $82 billion aid package to address economic concerns over the pandemic. Local MP Eric Duncan won’t be there but will instead be working from home. “My Caucus colleagues & all of the MPs who will gather have my full faith & confidence,” he tweeted.
  • Oops! New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday that St. Lawrence County had its first case of coronavirus. But it turns there was a mapping error in the governor’s briefing and there is no positive case. The Canada-U.S. border has been shut to non-essential traffic since midnight Saturday morning. New York State has over 15,000 positive cases.
  • In order to keep the supply chain going, Walmart Canada is adding 10,000 workers to it payroll.
  • The St. Lawrence Seaway is scheduled to open April 1 and its management company is putting COVID-19 measures in place. There’s a strict 96 hour advance notice ocean vessels have to give before coming into the seaway. Crews have to notify the traffic control center in Saint-Lambert if there are any confirmed or suspected cases on board before seaway inspectors board the ship. All cruise ships with 500 or more people are prohibited.
  • Canada won’t participate in the Tokyo Olympics, unless the games are delayed by a year. They are scheduled to start July 24. The International Olympic Committee is considering options, including postponing the competition.

Have a story or news release related to COVID-19? Send it along for possible inclusion in a future digest on Brockville Newswatch. Email Please put “COVID-19 Digest” in the subject line.

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