Media statement from Mayor Vrbanovic

Posted On Friday March 13, 2020

In recent weeks, the COVID-19 outbreak has become a significant issue facing our country and now our community.  I know the arrival of COVID-19 to our community, has been alarming to many. The challenge that we’re all facing today is about taking action as a caring community to mitigate and contain the spread of the virus based on facts and the professional advice of our Medical Officer of Health.

Like all municipalities in our Region, Kitchener’s response to COVID-19 has thus far been led by our local Waterloo Region Public Health and Emergency Services. We have full confidence in our local healthcare system and are working very closely with local hospitals, health care and community partners, the Ministry of Health, Public Health Ontario and national partners as we actively monitor and respond to this rapidly evolving issue.

At this time, Waterloo Region Public Health is reporting that the risk of the virus in our community is low – however, while the risk hasn’t changed for Waterloo Region, it has increased around us.

It is in our best interest as a city, and as a community as a whole, to be vigilant, but measured in our response – listening to and following the advice of our experts in the medical community to drive our decisions from an evidence-based perspective.  City of Kitchener officials, together with our colleagues from other communities within the region, are doing just that – responding not only to the situation today, but planning for the future and any potential impact escalation of this issue may drive.

Over the past few weeks, City of Kitchener staff have worked diligently to refine pandemic response and community operations plans. To date, a number of actions have taken place in response to this evolving issue. Specifically:

  • Increased signage has been posted in our facilities to create awareness of good hygiene and disease prevention;
  • Our Facilities Management team is ensuring soap dispensers are replenished on a regular basis, and are in good working order. The temperature of water has been increased at hand washing stations in our facilities.
  • Our Facilities Management team has also increased cleaning in facilities of high touch areas including banisters, handles, elevator buttons and door knobs.
  • Emergency management teams are meeting on a regular basis to respond to this issue, and to ensure that we continue to take appropriate measures maintain the ongoing health and wellness of our community.

Ongoing updates about Kitchener’s response to COVID19 will be shared via media releases, and on our website at www.kitchener.ca/covid19. I encourage you to view this page – and subscribe to it – to stay up to date as decisions are made about our facilities, programs, and operations.

Public Health is advising that the virus can spread mainly from person-to-person through close contact and are reminding us that everyday actions can help prevent the spread of germs and viruses.

-  Wash your hands often with warm water and soap or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

-   Avoid contact with people who are sick

-   Stay home when you are sick

-   Sneeze and cough into your sleeve

-   Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

Above all, in times like this, its important that we continue to be the caring and supportive community that we have always been. Think of calling to check in with loved ones, especially seniors who may feel isolated and vulnerable right now. A smile or a friendly wave to a neighbor, helps show that we’re in this together.  From the day I was first elected, I have always been proud of our community and I know that during this current challenge, we will once again demonstrate the caring spirit of our community.

 

Berry Vrbanovic
Mayor, City of Kitchener

 

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