Town of Mono's COVID-19 Message Centre

Variants of Concern

This message from the Town of Mono was posted on 
February 16, 2021

Time to get very strict — or to ease off?

A few months back we hardly knew the word.  Now, “variant” has become achingly familiar. Variants create a threat that may radically complicate our global pandemic response.  VERY worrisome is that the longer the pandemic prevails, the more that new variants will develop.

A variant is a virus whose genetic make-up is slightly altered.  It is a spontaneous change — a mutation — that occurs when the virus replicates.  Of the hundreds of COVID-19 variants, today there are three variants of concern (VOC).  Current they are — the UK,  the South African, and the Brazil variants.  Other candidates for the VOC list include one from California and one just identified from Nigeria.

The problem with a VOC is that their slightly altered genetics affect how they react when they contact a host like yourself.  The mutations in all three VOCs are changes to the knobby protuberances called spikes on the surface of the virus.  The spikes enable the virus to invade human cells, to replicate, damage the cell and create disease.  The changes to the spike allow the virus to more easily invade our cells and thus produce disease more readily than did the original coronavirus.

If a VOC is more infectious — the UK variant spreads between 50% and 70% more easily than the original coronavirus — it will soon become the dominant virus in a community.

A short math lesson….

The basic reproduction number — Ro — is the number of people on average who will get the disease from one person who has the disease. An Ro of 1.0 means every infected person will give the disease on average to one other person, and the total case numbers never change.
With an Ro of 1.1 the case numbers will gradually increase, as each infected person will on average infect slightly more than one other. The goal of any epidemic control is to get the Ro below 1.0 . This will eventually close down the epidemic. (Ro numbers are determined by the degree of infectivity of the virus, vaccines and public health measures such as distancing and mask wearing).
Here is the scary math. If 1,000 people were infected with the usual SARS-CoV-2 variant with an Ro number of 1.1, they would transmit the virus to another 1,100 people. After 10 cycles of this there would be 2,593 active cases. If the Ro number grew to 1.5 (e.g.the UK variant), after 10 cycles there would be 57,665 active cases. A cycle length is 1-2 weeks.

In England, Ireland, and Israel, the UK variant became the dominant virus in a couple of months.  This evolution was accompanied by a surge in the total number of cases.  If other factors are equal, with a more infectious coronavirus, the basic reproduction number (Ro value) will increase, and quickly we will move into another wave of increased cases.

Recent reports from England suggest that the mortality rate for the UK virus is about 33% higher than the original coronavirus.  The 53% mortality for the recent outbreak at Roberta Place in Barrie also points to a potentially higher mortality rate for the UK variant.

Another difference is very worrisome. Children almost universally shrug off the coronavirus, however children and young and older adults seem to be equally susceptible to the UK variant.

If the virus continues to circulate uncontrollably in different parts of the world, no one can return to normal. The hoped-for solution is in the creation of effective vaccines.  The hope is that vaccines will enable global control.  After the start of the pandemic the first vaccines were produced, put through phase I, 2, and 3 trials, and were approved for emergency use in 11 months — an incredible  accomplishment.

Currently we have three different vaccines that are in the public space.  They are remarkable for having up to 95% efficacy.  In comparison the flu vaccines are 40-60% effective at preventing influenza.   The thinking is that if we can get enough of the population immunized — estimates are 50-80% — the Coronavirus will become markedly diminished in its ability to spread through the community.

With the advent of VOCs, the ugly possibility is that new variants will not be sensitive to the vaccines now in use.  Studies suggest that the three vaccines in current use are quite effective against the UK Variant and somewhat less so against the South African variant.  The vaccine makers are now playing catch-up, altering their vaccines in response to the changing genetics of the mutating virus — a process that will reward the nimble, and will have a huge effect on the success of global pandemic control.

There has been recent emphasis on the importance of the quality of face masks.  Initially it was suggested that any cover including a head scarf was valuable protection for yourself and others. These inadequate face coverings are still seen in public.

The more recent understanding about COVID-19 transmission through aerosols (the tiny droplets that are swept into the air from our throats and lungs by simple breathing and then linger in the air) is that they play a huge part in indoor COVID-19 transmission.  Masks, to be effective, should obstruct the passage of these aerosol droplets.  The best masking options are to use a three layered tightly-fitting mask; to wear two masks at the same time as Dr. Anthony Fauci has recently been doing; or to use the now available KN95 masks (a version of an N95 used by at risk health care workers)

What can you do if a more infectious variant enters our community?

The answer is to do more of the same,

     and to be stricter about it!

  • physical distancing,
  • wearing a good mask,
  • not travelling or meeting indoors except with your immediate family,
  • Get vaccinated as soon as possible.

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Dive into the Town's Hot Topics

The Town's website has always been a hub of information about the Town and important topics for residents, visitors, businesses, and many others. Hot Topics is unlike any other section on the website. We hope that you will find it a valuable resource to quickly view progress on anything ongoing in the Town. Depending on the topic, we will also provide a discussion section to each hot topic to allow anyone to provide input. The discussion section may be a comment section, a survey, a department email where comments can be sent, or another feedback collection method. There may be some hot topics that are informational, but the main purpose is to allow feedback and foster discussion.

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To get our Hot Topics started, try submitting a comment in the Comments & Feedback section. Let us know what you think about our Hot Topics so far and any ideas you may have.

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 (,).

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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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