Town of Mono's COVID-19 Message Centre:

Transmission of COVID -19 Viruses

This message from the Town of Mono was posted on 
October 6, 2021

The three main factors which govern the spread of the COVID-19 virus are: its own biology (how contagious) the susceptibility of the populace (how vaccinated) and the population’s behaviour (how people protect against the virus and interact with others).  

Appropriately, when this pandemic began, there was a huge focus on public health measures that should prevent virus transmission. These measures are well known from experience with other infectious diseases.  These well-known basics are wearing face masks, cleaning surfaces including the hands, physical distancing from adjacent persons, and not gathering in large groups. These four public health measures are based on the expected behaviors of the virus as it infects people. However, our understanding of the infectious process has evolved and at the same time variants have become more transmissible and more severe.  These factors must govern our future public health and personal care planning.

Initially we concentrated on the concept that an infected person passed on the virus primarily in large droplets by coughing and sneezing.  These droplets were thought to be large enough that after coughing or sneezing they dropped to the ground or floor within two metres.  This understanding drove the guidance to distance oneself at least two metres from others.  Further, we felt that the large droplets could be prevented from leaving the infected person by them wearing a mask – or protect a non-infected person by wearing a mask.  This is all correct.  

We also thought that the virus could infect a person by being transferred from a contaminated surface to one’s hand and then to the mouth. However, this has rarely been documented and questions the validity of the ubiquitous practice of frequent sterilization of many “public” surfaces.

The newer information is that the virus is present in high concentrations in fine droplets often called aerosols, which are less than five microns in size.  These droplets are usually formed deep in the lungs and are expelled by normal breathing. They are produced in great amounts by talking, singing and during heavy exertion. The concentration of virus in fine droplets is frequently greater than that in large droplets.  Most concerning is the fact that these fine droplets can remain suspended in the air for hours and if indoors they will build up in concentration overtime. This build-up occurs in varying amounts depending upon the frequency of air exchange in the room and the quality of air filtration. There is robust evidence that the bulk of COVID-19 infections are due to fine droplet transmission rather than by large droplets.  It is particularly telling that people have rarely been infected when outdoors, and further, spreader and super spreader events occur indoors.

Both the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have acknowledged that at both long and short distances inhalation exposure to small droplets is the most important mode of spreading of COVID-19.

See Appendix for more details.

How Does the Use of Face Masks Protect Us from Droplet Transmission?

Although masks are very effective at decreasing large droplet transmission, the story is not as good for the effectiveness of masks in preventing the passage of small droplets. Fine droplet protection will depend upon the filtration quality of the mask and how snuggly the mask fits the face. To improve filtration of fine droplets, mask construction should use finely woven or spun materials in three layers.

Mask fit to the face is also important.  A good quality face mask with gaps at the sides of the mask will allow significant amounts of air to escape or enter and will result in loss of much of the value of the mask.  This gap problem is sometimes present with medical masks that commonly use ear loops. These leaks can easily reduce the efficiency of the mask to 50%.  Double masking such as wearing a tight-fitting cloth mask on top of a blue “paper” medical mask can obliterate gap problem as can knotting the blue ties close to the mask.  Both double masking and knotting are very effective.

The best masks are N95 or K95 — which by design prevent the transmission of at least 95% of airborne particles which are 0.3 microns or larger — as long as the mask fits snuggly to the wearer’s face.  Most studies of N95 masks show a filtration efficiency of over 99%.  Early in the pandemic these masks were in short supply, and were reserved for high-risk health care workers, but are now available on the internet.  High quality masks are very necessary indoors or in enclosed spaces where the concentration of fine airborne droplets can build up.  

In summary recent knowledge is that fine droplets are produced by normal breathing and talking.  These droplets are heavily laden with virus.  If the air is not moving, they can float about and build up concentration over time. Epidemiological evidence supports fine droplets as the cause of most transmissions of COVID-19 virus.

The basics for protection from fine droplet spread is being cautious when indoors, having frequent circulation of filtered indoor air and the use of efficient face masks.

Appendix :  Additional Data on COVID-19 transmission.

ABOUT AIRBORNE DROPLETS

Fine droplets (aerosols) are smaller than 5 microns. The majority are less than 1 micron (for reference – a human hair is about 70 microns in diameter).

Depending on their size, fine droplets can remain floating in the air for ½ to many hours before dropping.

In laboratory studies the half-life of virus in aerosols in terms of retention of infectivity is 1-3 hours for Covid -19.  This may vary for variants.

The concentration of virus in fine droplets is often 2 times that in large droplets.

ABOUT THE VIRUS

The infectiousness of a person with Covid-19 often peaks two days before symptom onset and extends for a variable time thereafter.

Commonalities among superspreading events include indoor settings, crowds, exposure durations of 1 hour or more, poor ventilation, vocalization, and lack of properly worn masks.

CDC currently recommends that all persons – both unvaccinated and vaccinated wear a mask indoors in areas of substantial risk of transmission.

For more details see:    https://www.science.org/doi/full/10.1126/science.abd9149

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Previous Messages

First Vaccine Message

In 1796 Edward Jenner developed a vaccine against smallpox.  The concept was revolutionary,  disease prevention — rather than disease treatment after sickness occurs. This was a new approach to disease, a new era for medical care.   A vaccine — by mimicking an infectious agent such as a virus or bacteria, would stimulate the body’s immune system to create a defence mechanism that would prevent an infection.

Jenner’s development was followed by a long list of vaccines — mostly developed in the 20th century, to prevent diseases such as rabies, diphtheria, plague, tetanus ,mumps, measles, polio and tuberculosis.  Staying healthy on planet earth had suddenly become much easier.  It was a revolutionary concept — to prevent, rather than to treat!

In the history of medicine, the development of vaccination will be remembered as one of our biggest stories.

It was in December 2019 that the new Covid-19 virus, escaped from Wuhan China and within 12 months spread to almost every country in the world.  Today it has infected 77 million people and killed over one and a half million.  

In early 2020, scientists in many countries embarked on accelerated programs to produce safe and effective coronavirus vaccines. The startling prospect of a devastating pandemic stimulated the most intensive vaccine development effort that the world has ever seen.  Typically, vaccines require years of research in the laboratory and then more years of clinical trials and data assessment.  Currently, worldwide,  there are 63 different Covid -19 vaccines undergoing clinical trials in humans, 11 of which have reached phase 3 trials.  

Phase 3 is the last phase of testing before widespread use.  This phase involves thousands of participants and is usually composed of a two groups — one group who gets the vaccine (active treatment group) and one group who gets a simulated vaccine — a substance which has no known effects (placebo group).  When the phase three clinical trial is completed, data and analyses are submitted to our regulatory authority — the Health Products and Food Branch (HPFB) of Health Canada.  The vaccine is then considered for possible use in Canada. The HPFB assesses the vaccine’s efficacy, safety and possible adverse effects. Based on this data the decision to use or not will be decided by a risk/benefit analysis.  

The Government of Canada has signed agreements to establish a guaranteed supply of at least six different potential vaccines — up to a total of 297 million doses — pending each vaccine’s trial completion  and Health Canada’s regulatory approvals.

Phase 4 trials are done after the drug is approved, is being used, and this phase is starting at this time.  The purpose of this phase is to gather more information on the best ways to use a drug, its long-term benefits and possible risks to the population based on a much wider use than in phase 3.

The Ontario Ministry of Health has developed a priority selection protocol for vaccine recipients — the first priority is to vaccinate health care workers and essential caregivers who work in hospitals, long-term care homes, and retirement homes that take care of seniors, and the residents of these homes.  Next will be other health care workers, and then the population as a whole.

The logistics and administration of the vaccine roll out is a huge undertaking.  The coordination of people, facilities, supplies and vaccine administration is the responsibility of the Covid-19 Vaccination Distribution Task Force — an advisory committee to the Ontario Ministry of Health.  This committee is chaired by General (retired) Rick Hillier, former Chief of Defence Staff for the Canadian Forces.

Very recently, Canada approved for use, two vaccines – Pfizer-BioNTech,  and Moderna.   Last week Ontario received 6,000 doses of Pfizer BNT162 vaccine.  Two thousand, three hundred Health care workers were vaccinated.  Within the next few weeks, Ontario will receive 90,000 additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine and will use 17 Ontario hospitals to continue to vaccinate the first priority group.  In early 2021, the province expects to receive 2.4 million doses, including the Moderna vaccine — allowing vaccination of 1.2 million people. The future availability of vaccines for the population at large is not known at this time but will likely be early in the spring of 2021.

Some important questions which require clear answers will be dealt with in a subsequent message. These include — how effective and for how long can vaccination prevent or weaken infection? What and how serious are the side effects? And who should and should not get the vaccine?

Waterway Signing Survey

Please view the pictures & map below and use the intersections, roads, etc. for geographical context. There is a spot to fill in any alternative current, historical, or colloquial names of the rivers/streams/creeks/etc.

Personal information on this form is collected under the authority of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and will be used for the purposes of collecting alternative names for waterways for potential inclusion in signage. Questions about this collection should be directed to the Clerk’s Office: ClerksOffice@townofmono.com, 347209 Mono Centre Road, Mono ON L9W 6S3, 519.941.3599.

Please fill out your contact your preferences: phone and/or email

Reference Map for All Waterways

29 Road Crossings Selected for Signage

Please provide a list of name corrections or alternatives in the fields. Please separate each name with a comma (,).

Graphic representation of a stream

10 Other Road Crossings Not Selected

Please provide a list of name corrections or alternatives in the fields. Please separate each name with a comma (,).

↑ Go Back to Reference Map

Are there any of the above "10 Other Road Crossings Not Selected", that you feel should be selected for signage. Please reference the stream number from the previous section. Provide one waterway per line and include the reason why you feel the additional waterways should be signed.

From what resources did you obtain the information? Please let us know if there would be an opportunity for the Town to examine the resources. If you are listing multiple resources, please list one resource per line.

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An Informational Guide to Town of Mono's New Checkout Bag Bylaw

Please select whether you are a Resident / Member of the General Public or a Business

Information for Residents

On January 1, 2021, you should no longer receive checkout bags from stores in Mono. You may only receive a bag if:

  • You are first asked whether you need a bag and you respond that you require one
  • The bag you receive is a paper bag
  • You must pay for the bag

Businesses must allow you to use any reusable bag that you may already have, including bags from competitors.

Woman receiving purchased products in reusable bag

Are There Any Exceptions? 

You may still receive bags in situations when the bag is being used to do any of the following:

  • Package loose bulk items, such as fruit / vegetables, nuts, grains, or candy;
  • Package loose small hardware items such as nails and bolts;
  • Contain or wrap frozen foods, meat, poultry or fish;
  • Wrap flowers or potted plants;
  • Protect prepared foods or bakery goods that are not already packaged;
  • Contain prescription drugs received from a pharmacy;
  • Transport live fish;
  • Protect linens, bedding, or other similar large items that cannot easily fit in a reusable bag;
  • Protect newspapers or other printed material that may be left outside;
  • Protect clothes after laundering or dry cleaning;
  • Protect tires that cannot easily fit in a reusable bag;
  • Collect and dispose of animal waste

You may also receive small paper bags at no charge for smaller purchases.

For more information, view the Plastic Bag Bylaw.

Remember Your Bags Graphic

Information for Businesses

On January 1, 2021, you should no longer provide checkout bags to customers. You may only supply a bag if:

  • You first ask customers whether they need a bag and they respond that they require one
  • The bag you provide to customers is a paper bag
  • Customers must pay for the bag. Businesses can set whatever price they feel is appropriate for these bags.

Customers should be allowed to use any reusable bag that they may already have, including bags from competitors.

Customer receiving purchases in a reusable bag

Are There Any Exceptions? 

You may still provide bags in the following situations if the bags do any of the following:

  • Package loose bulk items, such as fruit / vegetables, nuts, grains, or candy;
  • Package loose small hardware items such as nails and bolts;
  • Contain or wrap frozen foods, meat, poultry or fish;
  • Wrap flowers or potted plants;
  • Protect prepared foods or bakery goods that are not already packaged;
  • Contain prescription drugs received from a pharmacy;
  • Transport live fish;
  • Protect linens, bedding, or other similar large items that cannot easily fit in a reusable bag;
  • Protect newspapers or other printed material that may be left outside;
  • Protect clothes after laundering or dry cleaning;
  • Protect tires that cannot easily fit in a reusable bag;
  • Collect and dispose of animal waste

You may also provide a small paper bag at no charge for small purchases.

Penalties

Contravening the new Plastic Bag Bylaw will result in a fine of $150. Any person who is charged with multiple or repeat offences under this Bylaw is liable to the following fines if found guilty under Part 3 of the Provincial Offences Act:

  • $500 for each day or part day that the offence continues, limited to $10,000
  • $500 for each offence in a case of multiple offences and the total of all fines for each included offence is limited to $10,000

For more information, view the Plastic Bag Bylaw.

We're Listening

We are interested to hear about what the switch away from plastic will mean for you at checkouts. What changes will you as a customer or a business need to take? What supports may be helpful? Let us know in the comments. We are ready for your feedback and we are listening.


Comments & Feedback

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