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

Local Update

First, since the “low-water” mark of February 18th , there has been a 30% increase in the 7-day rolling average of reported new cases in Ontario. This suggests that a third wave is occurring, at least in the Greater Toronto, Ottawa and Thunder Bay areas. New case numbers in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph (WDG) Public Health area have not yet seen an uptick.

Second, the Ontario Science Advisory Table estimates that variants of concern (VOCs) make up more than half of all new cases province wide.  The Advisory Table is particularly concerned about the COVID UK variant — referred to as B.117.  These more easily transmissible VOCs are likely to drive the third wave, and this is worrisome.

FAQs

1. How can I get an appointment for my vaccine shot?

  • Check the WDG Public Health website frequently and you will find when it is your turn to register.  The website is:  https://www.wdgpublichealth.ca/
  • Currently, residents 60 years and over, persons with other diseases and all persons involved in health care and long-term care are eligible.
  • The first step (for those who are eligible) is to pre-register online at https://wdgpublichealth.inputhealth.com/ebooking/. Next, you will be contacted and given a unique code so that you can schedule a date, time and location.
  • Or you can register by phone: 844-780-0202 (although it may take time to get through)

2. I am hesitant to get the vaccine.  What is your advice?

  • People have different reasons for “vaccine hesitancy”.  Despite knowing that many diseases, such as smallpox and polio, have been eradicated or controlled by vaccines, the speed of development and political pressure to get a COVID-19 vaccine has created some scepticism.  However, a lack of understanding of the science is less likely the driver of hesitancy, than is the lack of trust in public institutions.
  • One vaccine – the AstraZeneca/Oxford (AZ) - has had a problematic rollout with a dosing error in the phase three trial and subsequent poor communications.  Recently it has been suggested that AZ vaccine has caused blood clotting in leg veins and lungs.  This has resulted in seven or more European countries suspending its use. However, there is no hard evidence that AZ does cause blood clotting.  Although this issue, and others, are disturbing, the openness of information should contribute to public trust.
  • A good way to help decide about vaccination is to educate yourself by getting as much vaccine information as you can, and by speaking with trusted acquaintances — family, friends, a family doctor or a religious leader.

3. How can I know that the vaccines are safe?

  • Before acceptance, each vaccine approved for use in Canada underwent three clinical trials.  The final and largest was a phase three trial that involved  two large groups of people.  One group was given the vaccine, the other was given a placebo - a “pretend” vaccine.  The effectiveness at preventing COVID-19 was compared between the two groups.  Side effects or adverse events were also identified.  These groups are large, often having 10,000 people in each group, in order that the trial results can be considered significant.  
  • Once a vaccine is approved and vaccination starts, the vaccine continues to be studied.  This is a phase four trial (a “real-life” trial), and these trials are massive.  The Israeli phase four trial, which has recently been published, had about 600,000 vaccinated people compared to a similar group of 600,000 non-vaccinated persons.  A huge study like this will provide further information about possible rare side effects, confirm the degree of efficacy, and identify other benefits such as the prevention of death.

4. What are the differences between the Canadian approved vaccines?

  • There are four approved vaccines: Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen (or Johnson & Johnson). Based on the phase 3 trials, each vaccine resulted in a number that indicates the effectiveness (the efficacy). Largely these reported efficacy numbers only relate to the original COVID virus, although the J&J vaccine also provided evidence on some of the VOCs. The efficacy ratings are:
    • Pfizer BioNTech(Pf)
      95%
    • Moderna (Mod)
      94%
    • AstraZeneca (AZ) (two studies)
      62% and 79%
    • Janssen (two studies)
      66% and 85%

  • The Janssen vaccine is a single-dose vaccine. It is also effective in protecting against some of the VOCs – 82% efficacy with the South African variant and 88% with the Brazilian variant.

  • There are other differences. The four vaccines are produced by two quite different biological processes. And they also have quite different pricing – Pf.$20, Mod $37, AZ $4, J&J $10. (These are the approximate costs in $US per dose.)

5. Can you explain “efficacy” in real numbers?

  • For example, Pfizer’s efficacy is 95%. This means the vaccinated group tested positive and experienced some symptoms for COVID-19. 5/100 as often as the unvaccinated group. This was 1/20th as often as people in the unvaccinated group.

  • The AZ efficacy is 62% — meaning that people in the vaccinated group were experiencing symptoms and testing positive for COVID-19 38/100 as often as the unvaccinated group. This was a little more than 1/3rd as often as the unvaccinated group.

  • It is notable that the modest drop from 95% to 62% has a large implication in the degree of protection of the vaccine.

6. Currently in WDG the Pfizer vaccine is being given with an interval of 4 months between the first and second doses.  How effective is this vaccine after a single dose?

  • In the Israel study, the largest study yet reported, efficacy was 90% by day 21 after the first jab with the Pfizer vaccine.  So, you do have some very good protection even after the first dose.

7. Are the vaccines effective against the new variants?

  • The vaccines provide significant protection from the dominant VOC now in Ontario (the UK variant), however the effectiveness against the South African and Brazilian variants is not generally as high.  However, the vaccine manufacturers say that they can readily adapt their vaccines and create booster doses to manage variants.

8. What other factors are important in addition to quoted efficacy numbers?

  • The vaccines are very effective not only for increasing your resistance to developing symptoms or carrying (without symptoms) the COVID-19 virus, but importantly, if you are infected, all vaccines are very effective at reducing the likelihood of severe disease or death.

9. Do I have a choice of which vaccine I will receive?

  • At this time, WDG Public Health is only giving the Pfizer vaccine.  It is expected that all four vaccines will be available some day in the future.  There has been no mention about the option of personal selection of a 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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