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

We know that COVID-19 is a disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.  What we are still learning is how this virus behaves.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Public Health believed that this virus was transmitted mainly by large droplets expressed from the mouth and nose during loud talking, sneezing and coughing, as well as by contact with infected surfaces.

To prevent large droplet spread, almost anything including a t-shirt over the mouth and nose was thought to provide some significant protection.  Further, these droplets, being somewhat heavy, rapidly fall to the ground a few metres from the infected person.

Two key facts have emerged that have changed our thinking about mask wearing:

  1. It is now clear that in the 2–3 days preceding a symptomatic infection, a person is usually highly contagious.  This implies each of us must consider that any apparently well person that we meet  may be in the silent stage of the infection and might transmit the virus to us.
  2. Small droplets are now recognized as an important means of disease transmission. These droplets (aerosols) are produced not only by forceful expiration of air from the mouth or nose but also by simple breathing.  They can remain suspended in the air for hours. Unfortunately, small droplets pass through cloth masks with ease.  

These facts have led to new mask recommendations by Dr. Tam, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer.  She recently announced that Covid-19, face masks for non-health care workers should be three layered with a middle layer of a blown material such as polypropylene.  Two layered cloth masks are not adequate for personal protection and for protection of your contacts.  The issue is the small respiratory droplets that carry the virus are not effectively trapped by just layers of fine cotton cloth.  A middle layer of nonwoven material placed between the mask’s inner and outer layers is effective at catching most of these Covid-19 bearing droplets.

This small droplet concept makes good sense as we know that there is increased chance of virus transmission in indoor spaces especially with poor ventilation. The fine droplets do not fall to the ground but continue to circulate in the air for hours.  Likely the concentration of them increases the longer an infected person is in the enclosed space.  This fact helps to explain the Covid-19 outbreaks that occur in indoor places where people congregate - including places of worship, bars, restaurants, cruise ships, and small social groups.

Example of an acceptable 3-layer face mask
Example of an acceptable three-layered face mask
Face mask taken apart to show 3 layers
Demonstration of the three layers of the mask

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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