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

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.

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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