The Royal Victoria Hospital Regional Health Centre is set to resume having visitors starting Friday morning, the first day of the first phase of the Province’s three-step reopening plan Roadmap to Reopen.
With new COVID-19 cases continuing to decline in North Simcoe Muskoka, and in alignment with the provincial roadmap, RVH is able to welcome back a limited number of visitors, effective 10 a.m. Friday. Visitor restrictions were introduced as a safety measure to limit non-essential entry to the health centre, contain the spread of COVID-19 and keep patients safe.
“People have understood that visitor restrictions were an important safety precaution taken during the pandemic, but we recognize that the separation was very difficult for patients and their loved ones,” says Nancy Savage, executive vice president Patient and Family Experience.
“Visitors are vital to patients’ well-being and recovery and integral members of the care team. RVH is thrilled that we are now able to begin lifting visitor restrictions.”
In Step one of the visitation plan:
• Each patient will identify a main designated visitor and alternate
• Visiting times will be scheduled in advance. Designated visitors must book their visit with the patient’s care team by calling the inpatient unit directly or by calling RVH at 705-728-9090 and pressing “0”. Visitors must be on an approved list to be permitted entry
• Patients will be allowed one visitor over 16 years old during one of the daily visitation blocks – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Visits to patients in mental health are permitted 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. Visits are limited to no more than one hour at a time
• All visitors must use RVH’s main entrance where they will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms. Visitors who fail screening will be denied entry to the health centre
• Visitors will be issued a hospital mask which must be kept on at all times
• Visitors are not permitted in common areas of the health centre such as the Food Court or Café Royale
• Ambulatory patients coming to RVH for an outpatient procedure or clinic visit will be allowed one essential support person in circumstances where assistance is needed. That essential support person should be identified at the time the appointment/treatment is booked
• Visitors/support person in emergency is at the discretion of the care team
There are exceptions to the policy for compassionate reasons, such as critical or palliative patients, patients who require the presence of a family caregiver, partners of patients in labour, parents of paediatric patients or at the discretion of the care team.
Provincial guidelines and the future path of the pandemic will determine when RVH can move to the next stage of easing visitor restrictions. For more information visit the COVID-19 section on the RVH website rvh.on.ca.

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Patio season has well and truly arrived in Barrie with city council’s decision to extend hours as the province moves into Step One of the three-phase Road to Recovery.
At a meeting Thursday night, council voted to extend patio hours in recognition of the easing of restrictions allowing only outdoor dining, with all other regulations continuing to apply with the operation of the patio. These hours come into effect on Friday June 11, with four people being allowed per table on a patio.
The hours that a person can enter or re-enter an outdoor area are extended:
• from 10:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Monday – Thursday
• from 10:30 p.m. to 1:45 a.m. Friday, Saturday, and July 1 Canada Day
The hours that a person be permitted to remain in the outdoor area extended:
• from 11:15 p.m. to 12:15 a.m. Monday-Thursday
• from 11:15 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Friday, Saturday and July 1 Canada Day
This will be in effect until indoor dining is permitted.

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“There is no way I can properly express how I am feeling about reopening. I’m excited, happy, overwhelmed, scared, nervous and exhausted. I am a mixed bag of emotions. I am hopeful that we can move forward from the last 15 months. Covid closures and lockdowns have been very difficult. A terrifying last lockdown. I am grateful that I have been able to survive all the lockdowns.” – Sarah Lynne Maloney of Malones Pint House


As Barrie and the rest of the province move into Step One of the three-step reopening plan on Friday, noticeable local results will be the removal of the fences surrounding Meridian Place and lockdown-weary residents enjoying patios and shopping across the city.
Downtown Barrie, between Bayfield and Mulcaster streets, will be a pedestrian-only zone starting Saturday, as Open Air Dunlop kicks off, one week earlier than planned. Every Saturday during the summer, Dunlop Street will be closed to traffic from 5 a.m. to midnight.
The reopening, if only a partial one, is welcome news to small businesses. Sarah Lynne Maloney, proprietor of Malones Pint House on Bradford Street, likely spoke for many in the hospitality sector who have been anticipating a return to some sense of normalcy.
“There is no way I can properly express how I am feeling about reopening. I’m excited, happy, overwhelmed, scared, nervous and exhausted. I am a mixed bag of emotions. I am hopeful that we can move forward from the last 15 months. COVID closures and lockdowns have been very difficult. A terrifying last lockdown. I am grateful that I have been able to survive all the lockdowns,” she said.
“However the road we will travel will be all uphill. Our phone hasn’t stopped ringing since the announcement of reopening. Our days are filling up fast with reservations and that makes my heart full. I had one customer actually thank me for surviving and reopening. I look forward to hosting live music again. We need that. So, I guess the best description on how I am feeling is determined. Malones will provide a safe and relaxing environment. I couldn’t be more proud.”
Meridian Place has been fenced off since April 29 when Mayor Jeff Lehman issued an emergency order in response to ongoing gatherings that occurred contrary to the provincial legislation and regulations.
As per Step One of Ontario’s reopening directions, outdoor gatherings must be limited to 10 people, and four people per table on patios. Non-essential retail can open at 15 percent capacity. Initial steps are focused on low-risk outdoor activities with small groups of people. It will also permit more limited indoor settings to be open, all with restrictions in place.
City council is also meeting (Thursday) at 7 p.m. to discuss extending patio hours until indoor dining is allowed. Watch it here.
The Province has tied reopening to vaccination rates, with 60 percent of adults needing at least one dose to trigger Step One of the reopening plan. As of June 6, 72 percent of adults had that first shot. The province recorded 590 news cases today; on Wednesday, 411 new cases were recorded, the lowest since February. There are 515 people in hospitals being treated for COVID-19, a drop of 55 from the day before. Of those 450 are being treated in intensive care units (ICUs), a drop of 16.
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is reporting 25 new cases since its last update; the unit updates daily, Monday through Friday. Currently, 70 percent of adults 18 years and older living in Simcoe Muskoka have had at least one dose of vaccine, and 36 percent of youth 12 to 17 years of age have had their first shot.

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From the RVH

A message from Dr. Jeffrey Tyberg, RVH Chief of Staff. The RVH has released two reports detailing its commitment to patients and families through an unprecedented and challenging year


Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) has released both its annual digital report to the community, Vitalsigns, and its annual highlights document, A Year in Review. These products provide an overview of RVH’s commitment to patients and families through an unprecedented and challenging year.
“Although we have faced many challenges during the pandemic, TEAM RVH’s dedication to caring for the people of this region never wavered. I have been impressed and humbled by the courage, compassion, and commitment TEAM RVH has shown to our patients — and to each other — during these tough times,” says Janice Skot, RVH president and CEO.
“Although the pandemic has been our collective focus over the past year, it has not overshadowed our commitment to expanding specialized care to the people of this region.”
The videos featured in Vitalsigns highlight RVH’s incredible response to the pandemic such as:
• leading the region’s Infection Prevention and Control hub and supporting the teams at almost 30 long-term care and retirement homes as they faced devastating impacts from COVID-19 
• supporting our partner hospitals, accepting more than 200 patient transfers from the Greater Toronto Area
• creating a third COVID-19 unit and opening a 70-bed Regional Pandemic Response Unit
• operating a very busy COVID-19 test clinic, and late in 2020 opened the region’s first immunization clinic
A Year in Review, focuses on some of our many successes, made possible thanks to the skill, commitment and hard work of TEAM RVH and the strong support of our community and our healthcare partners. Some highlights include: 
• providing access to the ‘gold standard’ of care expanded to heart attack patients across Simcoe County and Muskoka through the Simcoe Muskoka STEMI protocol
• becoming the first hospital in North Simcoe Muskoka to provide same-day hip, knee and shoulder procedures
• renovating the Emergency Department resulting in a reduction in the length of stay for patients by one hour on average
• expanding chemotherapy treatment options and saving our patients from travelling for care. Both reports can be found on the RVH website www.rvh.on.ca

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Forecast needs for growth and upgrades, renewal, as well as operations and maintenance from 2021 to 2030 total $128.2 million a year. Planned yearly funding comes in at $79.8, leaving an annual shortfall of $48.4 million. Of the gap, $41.9 is tied to growth and upgrades, $5.8 million to renewal, and $700,000 to operations and maintenance

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Barrie faces a transportation infrastructure gap of more than $48 million a year until 2030 as demands related to growth and renewal outpace budgeted spending, according to a report from Kelly Oakley, the city’s manager of corporate asset management.
The City, says the report, “has substantial gaps between needs and available funding forecasts for growth/upgrade and renewal activities over the next ten years. The City also has a substantial backlog in road renewal and reconstruction and must plan for increased operations and maintenance costs to accommodate new transportation assets.”
Ward 9 councillor Sergio Morales said the report represents the most significant challenge facing Barrie over the next 30 years, calling it extremely scary.
Forecast needs for growth and upgrades, renewal, as well as operations and maintenance from 2021 to 2030 total $128.2 million a year. Planned yearly funding comes in at $79.8, leaving an annual shortfall of $48.4 million. Of the gap, $41.9 is tied to growth and upgrades, $5.8 million to renewal, and $700,000 to operations and maintenance.
The gap relating to growth and upgrades is largely due to slower-than-anticipated growth, a factor outside the City’s control, says the report. It continues that growth-related capital will be recovered from development charges to the “greatest extent possible, as regulated by the Development Charges Act, and expended as growth proceeds.”

Presentation delivers update on City-owned assets

In a presentation to general committee Monday night, Oakley delivered an overview of Barrie’s transportation assets, a refresher on asset management, and a snapshot of the City’s current and future funding challenges.
“Without these assets, we can’t provide reliable services … asset management is about understanding the risks associated with providing services to make informed decisions about how to spend capital and operating budgets,” said Oakley.
“At the City, every group and department is doing asset management every day, even if we don’t call it that: scheduling maintenance on fleet vehicles, assessing the condition of our pavements, planning which fire stations and recreation centres we need for growth, and understanding the cost for all of that work are all examples of asset management planning. There is a direct connection between the service levels we provide to the public and what we invest.”
The City owns about $5 billion in assets, which include roads, sewers, buildings, and equipment. “Proactive investment to keep roads and other transportation assets in good condition is less costly over the long term, than repairing or replacing failed assets,” says the report.
The report also concludes:
• Historically, we have been underspending in transportation assets and, even with future increases, we are not keeping up with identified needs
• When there is not enough funding to meet needs, the service level drops. Asset management helps to understand this risk so it can be managed
• Meeting the City’s growth needs is a substantial challenge, but it is also critical to remain focused on renewal and preservation of existing assets to avoid a growing infrastructure gap
Barrie is one of a number of cities under a growth direction from the Province; under its Places to Grow policy, the Province has set a population target of 298,000 by 2051, and 129,000 jobs to support the growth. When asked by Morales if the Province intended to provide funding to help the City pay for growth-mandated transportation needs, Oakley told him it did not.
The report included ten recommendations for improvements:
• It is recommended that the City determine an appropriate methodology to complete a condition assessment of sidewalks, either as part of the road condition assessment, as an individual project, or as part of mandatory sidewalk inspections
• It is recommended that the City obtain better and more complete inventory and condition data for traffic signals, signs, illumination and retaining walls. The City should develop processes to ensure that asset inventories are accurate. Information regarding asset ownership should also be improved for asset classes for which this data is lacking (eg. retaining walls). A priority for this data collection should be to ensure that the next AMP does not rely on the use of any PSAB data, which is not sufficient to produce accurate asset management analysis
• As the City incorporates performance management processes and indicators into its business practice, the next AMP should establish benchmarks for performance beyond the provincially mandated LOS. These should be backed by at least two years of data. This may include expanding on the use of customer feedback systems. Tracking complaints can be used to calibrate LOS targets and actual performance. Capacity of the road network, and active transportation should be considered for measurement
• The City should work with its railway operator to understand and complete an asset management plan for all of its rail assets
• For high consequence of failure assets (e.g. bridges) where condition is a predictor of remaining life, the City should consider improving it’s ability to predict the timing of critical interventions, including detailed condition assessments where appropriate
• For future AM Plans, the City should consider switching from a HIRA 4-point methodology risk matrix to a HIRA 5-point methodology. This will align better with the Stormwater, Water and Wastewater AMPs
• Before the next Transportation AMP, the City should improve its tracking of operations and maintenance expenditures to better support asset management planning
• The City should continue to explore alternative treatments for renewal of assets, including “do nothing,” asset (replace, rehabilitate, maintain/operate differently) and non-asset (failure management plan, rebate for failure, different level of service). Programs should be piloted to assess the effectiveness and cost of these alternative treatments prior to implementing network-wide application
• Financial assumptions in the next AMP should be linked to other financial documents within the City including Long Range Financial Plans
• By the next AMP, the City should incorporate more demand and levels of service processes and performance indicators into its business practice, the AM Plan can then identify specific failure modes that prevent meeting customer and other stakeholder levels of service
The information presented by Oakley is of great importance, said Mayor Jeff Lehman.
“If you are running a city, this is one of the most important issues. There is a lot on tonight’s agenda (speed limits on Lakeshore, the Heart (symbol) Barrie sign), but certainly this is a key issue for all of us interested in running a good organization forward, and managing something that affects every corner of the City of Barrie.”

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The task force is comprised of seven members: Brandon Wu, Cheryl Blondell-King, Haily MacDonald, Masa Sone, Irfan Toor, co-chair Donald Carty, and co-chair Esther Enyolu.


The Barrie Anti-Racism Task Force plans to report to city council on Monday (June 14) on its progress and activities, including its commitment to “transition Barrie into an anti-racist city.”
The group’s origin goes back to last summer (June 29) when council backed a motion brought forward by the Barrie Police Service to create the task force, with a mandate to “bridge and promote a stronger more positive understanding and representation of the City’s racialized groups, through actively working with and holding accountable the police services, educational systems, health services, community groups, associations, municipal organizations, social services, business, labour and government.”
It is focusing on five areas to achieve its goals:
• Understanding: To address and promote a stronger understanding of the needs of the city’s racialized populations
• Messaging: To create and expand race-based programming, education and resources to raise awareness about racism and the impacts of white privilege and dominance
• Connecting: To raise awareness and correct the absence of a significant reflection of the City’s diversity within its institutions and create safe spaces for dialogue
• Transitioning: To challenge workplace practices, evaluate and promote changes that address the needs of the city’s racialized groups
• Strengthening: To establish institutional accountability that ensures and strengthens the involvement and sense of belonging and well-being of racialized persons
The task force reports its activities include public engagements and awareness/communication campaigns. Its education and awareness initiatives include:
• Participated in Barrie Police focus groups to review its organizational culture and systems
• Police services (videos-unconscious bias, bigotry, stereotypes)
• RVH Interns (microaggressions-social determinants of health)
• Barrie and Area Ontario Health Team Planning Table
The presentation includes a timeline of goals from July to December, and an employment report, the objective of which is to “understand the experiences of racialized peoples with working within healthcare, policing, municipal government, and education within Barrie, Ontario and to explore anti-racism practices within each employment sector.”
The task force is comprised of seven members: Brandon Wu, Cheryl Blondell-King, Haily MacDonald, Masa Sone, Irfan Toor, co-chair Donald Carty, and co-chair Esther Enyolu.

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With the entire planet consumed by the COVID-19 pandemic for more than a year now, it’s perhaps easy to forget there are other viruses out there that need to be controlled, including one spread by mosquitos.
The City has been spraying municipally owned catch-basins for years to control the  West Nile Virus (WNv), the first Canadian case of which was seen in Ontario back in 2002. It was first discovered in the West Nile District of Uganda in 1937, and symptoms include headaches, fever, and fatigue in most people, however it can cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and may lead to death in some cases.
Provincial regulation (199/03, Control of West Nile Virus), gives the Medical Officer of Health MOH) the authority to determine if there is a risk of exposure to the virus, “and if so, to compel municipalities to take action,” says a memo to members of council from Sandra Brunet, manager of Business Performance and Environmental Sustainability. When determining a risk from the virus is present, the MOH will notify a municipality of any required actions through a Notice to Larvicide. That notice was issued on May 19. Larviciding of municipally owned catch-basins will begin in late June. Municipally owned basins on private property will be managed on a request-only basis by the landowner, reads the memo.
Program costs will be shared by the City and the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, with 30 percent being picked up the the former, and 70 by the latter. The program is scheduled for June 21 to Oct. 31. It will be conducted by health unit staff.
“The SMDHU WNv Surveillance Program includes monitoring of, but not limited to, municipal catch-basins, stormwater ponds, and natural sites, for mosquitos and conduct adult trapping,’ reads the memo.
“The Culex pipiens/restuans species of mosquitos typically breed in catch-basins and are a major contributor to viral infections in birds. The larvicide, when applied to the catchbasin sumps, will disrupt the mosquito’s life cycle and adult mosquitos will not emerge. By reducing the adult Culex population, amplification of WNv is reduced and the risk of exposure to WNv in the human population is reduced.”

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“We’re thankful for the support from Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation of Canada and our local Firehouse Subs restaurant, in Barrie. This new RPAS will greatly contribute to our service’s ability to capture footage at a variety of calls, in a manner that is safe and effective for all involved.” – Kimberley Greenwood, Chief of Police, Barrie Police Service


Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation of Canada has awarded $41,877 to the Barrie Police Service, which will use the funds to purchase a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS), more commonly known as a drone, for emergency purposes.
The non-profit group has provided more than $1.5 million to hometown heroes to date. The drone will ensure the community is better prepared for emergencies, says the service. This RPAS includes a thermal camera and accessories, as well as training and calibration.
RPASs are invaluable in a variety of occurrences, such as missing person searches, motor vehicle collisions, crime scene reconstruction, suspect apprehensions, and can achieve results not possible in any other way. The RPAS has helped make communities safer and police services more efficient.
RPASs are multi-purpose, and provide an aerial view for a variety of uses that can increase efficiency and save costs associated with other means of gathering information, in addition to helping keep police officers and the public out of harm’s way.
“We’re thankful for the support from Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation of Canada and our local Firehouse Subs restaurant, in Barrie,” said Kimberley Greenwood, Chief of Police, Barrie Police Service. “This new RPAS will greatly contribute to our service’s ability to capture footage at a variety of calls, in a manner that is safe and effective for all involved.”
The Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation of Canada has awarded 228 grants to public safety organizations since 2015. This grant is one of 11 Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation of Canada awarded to public safety organizations during the most recent grant cycle. The 11 grants will provide critical lifesaving equipment valued at more than $277,000 across Ontario. 
To donate and learn more visit any Firehouse Subs restaurant, or donate online CanadaHelps.org

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From the City

Keep the good news about your business going during the lockdown, and emerge stronger and prepared for the growth that awaits. Get noticed, build your brand and audience with Devine Media Service, specializing in brand journalism. Display your ad and/or promotion, have it proactively promoted through social media feeds, have those feeds managed, and support local journalism, for one, affordable and inclusive price

In May, the City started collecting data for Barrie’s first-ever Business Data Survey, a large-scale data collection project with a goal of creating a comprehensive list of all Barrie businesses. The City will conduct direct outreach to businesses in commercial and employment districts through phone calls and door-to-door outreach to support data collection efforts, pending COVID-19 regulations.
“The data from this survey will allow the City to better understand existing business and industry classifications, business sectors, business longevity and employment trends,” says Stephannie Schlichter, Director, Economic & Creative Development. “It will give more insight into the City’s economic landscape and will help the City make informed decisions that better support our businesses and residents.”
In this phase of data collection, expected to continue into August, Barrie businesses may be contacted by a City employee to ask for participation in the survey. Alternatively, businesses can provide their data through an online form at buildingbarrie.ca/BusinessDataSurvey. Data received via online survey submissions will be verified by City employees for accuracy. 
Participation is voluntary. By participating, businesses will become part of a future online business directory to be published online by the City. Upon completion of the project, any information provided to the City that is not in the public realm will only be released publicly in an aggregate form, as part of a business community profile.
This initiative is intended to be an annual survey, with 2021 as a baseline inventory. Like other municipalities undertaking similar projects, data will support the identification of employment trends and concentration in the City, business sector growth and other key information that the City can use to inform future policy and program decisions, such as transit service, road improvements and others.
Businesses can learn more about the survey and the ways to participate at investbarrie.ca/data/business-data-survey

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Barrie police are investigating what they call a suspicious incident on Wednesday, around 9:30 p.m., which originated in the downtown and ended in the area of Bradford Street/Vespra Road.
The incident involved two adult females who were walking westbound on Dunlop Street from the area of the Five Points intersection, and a male operating what is described as black Dodge RAM pickup truck. The victims report that as they crossed the intersection, they observed the driver of the pickup truck staring at them. The truck would drive by them slowly, stop ahead and wait for them to pass and repeat this strange sequence of events.
As the females approached the Dunlop/High streets construction area, they turned left onto High and continued southbound onto Bradford. The driver of the pickup then maneuvered around the construction zone and eventually parked in front of the former Prince of Wales School. It was at this point that the male began to shout at the two females (unknown what exactly was said), and at one point opened the door of his truck, got out and began to approach them. The driver then jumped into his truck as the females ran towards the Tim Horton’s and was last seen westbound on Vespra.
The suspect is described as: male white his 40s to 50; average build; wearing glasses; clean shaven; light brown hair with buzz-cut; light blue or grey t-shirt.
If anyone recognizes the description of this male or the pickup truck involved, they are encouraged to contact police by emailing the investigating officer Constable Curtis Fisher at cfisher@barriepolice.ca, or calling Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS or leave an anonymous tip online at www.p3tips.com.

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• From the RVH

Clinical externs Brady MacDonald and Amanda Van de Sande and Brady MacDonald on RVH’s Respiratory Unit

Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) recently welcomed 60 clinical externs who are working alongside nurses as a set of helping hands to ensure a safe response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In order to create capacity and relief from staffing challenges, the Ministry of Health created the Enhanced Extern Program. RVH was one of only 40 hospitals in the province selected to participate in this unique opportunity.
Clinical externs are students in various stages of their schooling in the fields of nursing, respiratory therapy, medicine or paramedic programs. The externs work with members of the inter-professional team under supervision of registered healthcare providers. Their duties include helping patients with care needs, preparing them for procedures or tests, taking vital signs and medical charting.
Stephanie Crampton, RVH’s Interim Manager, Professional Practice & Education, oversees the program, orientation and training, with the assistance of two clinical supervisors.
“These new positions are of tremendous help to our clinical teams particularly during this pandemic when needs are much higher. The feedback we have received has been really positive and nurses are telling us how grateful they are for the support.”
The extern program not only benefits patient care, but provides a rich learning and training opportunity for the students.
“The experience and opportunity this role is providing is amazing,” says Brady MacDonald, currently in his second year of the RN program at Georgian College. “Being able to interact with the patients and the nurses and get hands-on experience has made me realize I have definitely chosen the right career path.”
Throughout the pandemic, RVH has continued to focus on delivering high-quality patient care.
“This program is another way RVH has ensured a safe response during the pandemic,” says Darrell Sewell, vice president Facilities and Chief Human Resources Officer.
“To meet staffing needs we have hired over 350 people, including nurses, respiratory therapists and personal care assistants. We also received support from healthcare workers in the Home & Community Care sector as RVH opened an additional 120 beds, including critical care beds and those in the 70-bed Regional Pandemic Response Unit. The clinical extern program, which is currently funded until March 31, 2022, is yet another way we can ensure we deliver the very best patient care and create a talent pipeline for our future health human resource needs.”

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Barrie police are looking for the public’s assistance in identifying a suspect wanted for recent armed robberies in Barrie. 
On Sunday at approximately 2 a.m., police were called to the Circle K location at 100 Little Avenue for a robbery that had just occurred. The suspect entered the store, displayed a weapon, and made a demand for cash. The suspect obtained a quantity of cash and cigarettes before fleeing north on Bayview Drive on foot. The employee was not physically injured as a result of the incident.
The same suspect is also believed to be responsible for similar robberies that occurred on Saturday at approximately 3 a.m. at the Circle K location at 181 Livingstone Street East, and Sunday, May 30 at approximately 2 a.m. at the Circle K location at 353 Duckworth Street. No one was physically injured in these incidents either. 
The suspect is described as: Male, white; about 30 years old; about 5’10” tall; medium to heavy build; dark hair; wearing glasses. 
Investigating officers are asking anyone who may have information to please contact Detective Constable M. Mulhall at mmulhall@barriepolice.ca or 705-725-7025 Ext. 2561. Any information can be provided anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or leave an anonymous tip online at www.p3tips.com.

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From the Barrie Chamber of Commerce

“Chambers of commerce and boards of trade have been indispensable resources in their communities since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. Public health and the health of our economy are interdependent. That is why our chamber is proud to distribute rapid tests to small businesses in our region.‘ – Paul Markle, Executive Director at the Barrie Chamber of Commerce. 

The Barrie Chamber of Commerce has launched its COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario and Canadian governments.
Through this initiative, which began locally Wednesday, the chamber will roll out free rapid tests for small- and medium-sized businesses in the Barrie area.  
“Chambers of commerce and boards of trade have been indispensable resources in their communities since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. Public health and the health of our economy are interdependent. That is why our chamber is proud to distribute rapid tests to small businesses in our region. We hope that through this program, we will be able to curb the spread and reopen our local economy safely,” said Paul Markle, Executive Director at the Barrie Chamber of Commerce. 
The COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative will provide free rapid antigen tests for employees of small and medium-sized businesses. The tests are being distributed through participating local chambers of commerce and boards of trade across Ontario. Businesses (including non-chamber members) with 150 employees or less are welcome to participate in this program.
The goal of the program is to identify asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in the workplace that might otherwise be missed, helping to curb the spread in the workplace, at home and around the community in Barrie. The Initiative was first successfully piloted in the Waterloo region by the Greater Kitchener Waterloo and Cambridge Chambers of Commerce in partnership with Communitech, the Government of Ontario, and the Government of Canada.
Through this pilot, these chambers have delivered over 120,000 kits to more than 1,400 businesses in their region. This means that up to 30,000 employees in essential workplaces are receiving regular screening twice weekly in the Waterloo region alone.
The COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative builds upon the success of this existing program and delivers tests into the hands of small and medium-sized businesses across the province. 
“Rapid testing is one of the key ways to keep workplaces as safe as possible during the pandemic as we wait for the full vaccination roll out to be completed. It will be an essential part of curbing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities so that we can get on the path to economic recovery faster,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. 
Interested SMEs can visit http://barriechamber.com/rapidscreen to order their free two-week supply of rapid tests. The kits will be ready for pick-up at the Barrie Chamber of Commerce building at 121 Commerce Park Drive, Unit A, Barrie by appointment scheduled at the time of placing the order. A designate from each SME, responsible for supervising the self-screening collection onsite, will be required to complete training prior to their first pick-up.  
Each SME will be required to electronically submit their screening results after each occasion and will be recommended to screen staff twice weekly. The accumulated data will be reported to the Ministry of Health bimonthly. Individual employee names and results will not be submitted with the data, and company names will not be submitted with the aggregate data to the Ministry. 
If a test results in a preliminary positive for COVID-19, the employee will be required to leave the workplace, arrange for a PCR Test within 24 hours at an approved COVID-19 assessment site, and self-isolate until a confirmatory test result is received.  
“As the indispensable partner of business, we are proud that many of our member chambers of commerce and boards of trade, including the Barrie Chamber of Commerce, will be offering this program, distributing rapid tests to small and local businesses across the province. Rapid tests will be going out to communities across Ontario with close to 100 of our chambers participating in rolling this program out,” added Rossi.

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• From the RVH

“I was so appreciative to be able to see my wife. You think you’re a tough guy, but I got very emotional. Being able to see my wife has given me incentive to get better and to be able to go home.” – Tom Culyer, seen here with RPN Josee Hill


With visitor restrictions still in place, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) has introduced a new pilot program to ensure patients can still spend time with their family and loved ones.
Dedicated staff members will visit units to connect patients with their families and loved ones through a variety of virtual platforms such as FaceTime, Skype or Zoom. These visits can be done through the patient bedside entertainment system or an iPad provided by RVH.
“Early feedback has been very positive and there’s been so many heartwarming stories,” says Nancy Savage, executive vice president patient and family experience, regional vice president Ontario Health and Chief Nursing Executive.
“One patient’s spouse was able to send him a virtual kiss as he was being wheeled in for a procedure; another patient was able to connect with their family in the United States and another patient was so emotional after being able to speak to his daughter and spouse that he broke down in tears, leaving staff to describe the interaction as the most emotional moment in their career.”
Patients, or family members, can contact the inpatient units directly to arrange a visit. Once a suitable time is agreed upon and appropriate technology, an RVH staff member will set up and facilitate the visit.
Barrie resident Tom Culyer has been a patient in RVH’s Integrated Stroke and rehabilitation unit for the past two months, and due to the pandemic restrictions has not had any in-person visits. He recently had his first visit with his wife of 58 years, Sylvia, and shared his experience. Through the supported virtual visit program, Tom was able to ‘chat’ with Sylvia and his two daughter-in-laws for 20 minutes.
“I was so appreciative to be able to see my wife,” says Culyer. “You think you’re a tough guy, but I got very emotional. Being able to see my wife has given me incentive to get better and to be able to go home. Nothing beats having an in person visit but this was the next best thing.”
Staff have arranged another virtual visit for Tom and Sylvia to coincide with their wedding anniversary.
The project was rolled out utilizing two staff members and will expand using newly hired externs, clinical students in various stages of their fields of learning who assist in a variety of areas of the health centre. Josee Hill, Registered Practical Nurse (RPN), is one of the dedicated staff members and remarked on the success of the program.
“This is just an exceptional program with overwhelmingly positive feedback. It is really emotional when patients and their family members connect and really does motivate patients. It also provides great reassurance – both to families and the patient – that their loved ones are ok.”

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The Barrie Police Drug Enforcement Unit, assisted by the Human Trafficking Unit, Tactical Support Unit, and uniform officers, executed a Controlled Drugs and Substances Act search warrant on Thursday at a residence located on Pepler Place in Barrie.
During the search of the home, police located a quantity of cocaine, fentanyl, Canadian currency, and a conducted energy-type prohibited weapon. As a result, the 47-year-old male resident was arrested and is currently facing criminal code and drug related charges, which include: Unauthorized Possession of a Prohibited Weapon, Possession of a Schedule 1 Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking (2 counts) and Possession of a Schedule 1 Substance (2 counts).
He has been held in custody and is scheduled to have a bail hearing today.
“I commend our officers for their expedient effort to rid this criminal activity that compromises the safety and security of our community. The Barrie Police Service takes the enforcement pillar of the Simcoe Muskoka Opioid Strategy very seriously and recognizes that no street drugs are safe, that they should all be considered potentially poisonous and that they must be removed from our streets,” said Deputy Chief of Police Wyllie Allan.

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“I am excited to accept this challenge and I look forward to meeting more people in the riding on doorsteps and at events … political issues have always been a passion for me and I believe I can advocate strongly for the people of this riding in Parliament.” – Tanya Saari, federal Liberal candidate


Tanya Saari, a Barrie businesswoman, is the new federal Liberal candidate for the Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte riding in the next election.
“I am excited to accept this challenge and I look forward to meeting more people in the riding on doorsteps and at events even as we follow pandemic protocols and social distancing. Political issues have always been a passion for me and I believe I can advocate strongly for the people of this riding in Parliament,” says Saari, a self-employed realtor in the Barrie area.
She is a relative newcomer to elected politics, having run for Barrie city council in the municipal election of 2018, and a by-election in 2019. She said there are three major issues that are important to people in the BSOM riding that need to be addressed at the national level: the environment and global warming; building a stronger, better and more inclusive economy after the pandemic; and protecting and improving social infrastructure from child care to support for seniors.
BSOM Liberal Electoral Riding Association Chairperson Scott MacLeod said his executive is thrilled to have a candidate of Saari’s calibre run in the next election.
“We had several high-quality candidates consider running in BSOM, but in the end Tanya was the person ready to commit fully to the grind of a political campaign and she did the work to be ready when the call came. She was acclaimed as the nominee by the national party and our executive,” says MacLeod.
Saari is already busy organizing her campaign, but will continue to operate her business until the writ for the election is dropped.

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A development on the grounds of the former Barrie Central High School is on hold due to the developer’s concerns about the location of a safe consumption site at 11 Innisfil Street.

The City’s development services department is meeting with representatives from HIP Developments today about the developer’s halting of a project that would bring 600 residential units to downtown Barrie, according to Ward 2 councillor Keenan Aylwin.
Reacting to council’s decision on Monday to approve a safe consumption site (SCS) at 11 Innisfil Street, Scott Higgins, President of HIP Developments, said the developer doesn’t believe it to be the correct location for the site; the development is nearby, basically on the southwest corner of Dunlop and Bradford streets.
“We don’t believe this is the correct location for the community and we were not consulted by the City or the Proponent. We will be reviewing all legal options available and as of right now our continued investment in the project will not proceed until further consultation and clarification meets with our satisfaction. This decision has halted a $250-million investment in Barrie and the jobs, taxes, levies and needed rental apartment that came with it.”
The project includes three towers on 6.94 acres. The proposed mixed-use, high-rise project on the grounds of the old Central High School includes a new three-story 77,000-square-foot YMCA. Two of the towers will be 20 storeys in height, while the third will be 10 storeys.
“The Mayor is also working on this. I’m sure we’ll have more … over the next few days,” said Aylwin.
Speaking at Monday night’s council meeting, a number of nearby residents of the chosen site complained that they had not been notified about the plans to locate a SCS there. The site selection committee said it had mailed notices to all impacted addresses. There was also some confusion about the actual address of the site, initially said to be at 80 Bradford Street, then 19 Innisfil, and finally 11 Innisfil.
Deputy Mayor Barry Ward said he was waiting for more information.
“I don’t know any more than what I’ve read online. The search committee would have been responsible for contacting property owners and representatives told city council (Monday) night all property owners within a certain distance of the proposed sites were contacted by mail. I’m hopeful representatives of the Simcoe Muskoka Opioid Strategy and HIP Developments will get together to discuss the issue and any concerns HIP may have.”

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With each monthly draw, the RVH Auxiliary continues to raise funds to support its latest $5 million pledge to RVH’s Moments Matter fundraising campaign. Half of the funds will be used to support the much needed expansion in the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit.

The recent winner of the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre’s (RVH) Auxiliary’s monthly community 50/50 draws is Ann (last name withheld) from Barrie, who won $79,050, a new record jackpot.
“I started buying tickets to support through COVID. A number of our family members have visited RVH and it has always been there when we needed it,” says Ann.
With each monthly draw, the RVH Auxiliary continues to raise funds to support its latest $5 million pledge to RVH’s Moments Matter fundraising campaign. Half of the funds will be used to support the much needed expansion in the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit.
“As COVID restrictions continue to remain in place, it is important for us to continue our fundraising efforts, says Auxiliary president, Lise McCourt. 
“We are so excited to have such a big jackpot for our winner. It is always so wonderful to see the support of the community through ticket purchases and our business partners that sponsor our Early Bird Draws. A big thank you to Team Keogh and our upcoming sponsor Near North Supply.”
Tickets for the next draw are on sale now. You can buy your tickets online at https://www.rvhauxiliary5050.com/ (best opened in Google Chrome). The grand prize draw is on June 24, and the deadline to enter is 11:59 p.m. on June 23. On June 10, there will be three early bird draws, each draw with a prize of $1,000.
If a business would like to be part of the auxiliary’s sponsorship program and partner with the iconic RVH Auxiliary volunteers, also affectionately known as the Blue Brigade, please contact at 705-728-9090 x 42432.

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RVH chills with upgrade to its cooling system

The Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) recently completed a major upgrade to its cooling system, installing a new 27,000 pound air-cooled chiller which will provide an additional 350 tons of cooling to the health centre.
As the centre continues to grow, this chiller was required for additional cooling capacity. It will service the air handling units for RVH’s operating rooms and the Medical Device Reprocessing Department (MDRD), ensuring these areas maintain consistent temperature and humidity levels, which is critically important as the health centre gradually begins to ramp up surgical procedures.
“Just like medical equipment, the equipment that keeps our building safely running needs to be upgraded or replaced,” says Darrell Sewell, vice president, facilities and chief human resources officer.
“With the warmer weather coming, and with resumption of some surgeries, this new chiller means the key areas supporting surgeries – the operating room and MDRD, which does all the equipment sterilization, will not be impacted by fluctuations in temperature. This also adds to the overall safety and comfort of our patients and staff.”

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Arkady Spivak, TIFT artistic director

Talk is Free Theatre (TIFT) artistic producer Arkady Spivak has announced the programming of The Bees in the Bush Festival, featuring 12 eclectic in-person productions.
Running from Aug. 3 to Oct. 3, all programming will be performed at outdoor locations – using parks, conservation areas, residential backyards and more, for a reduced in-person audience and with observance of current COVID-19 protocols.
The festival will include several productions reconfigured for an outdoors presentation, as well as boundary-pushing new works and a return of TIFT’s hit musical-in-concert in a new setting. Six world premieres will also be produced, including the musically infused cabaret based on a Greek legend; a documentary-style interactive collection of migration stories, created by DopoLavoro Teatrale (DLT); an experimental performance piece created by Simcoe Contemporary Dancers; an intimate but amplified one-person musical discussion; an immersive installation using augmented reality technology; and an explorative piece about one of history’s most divisive figures.
As previously announced, all programming will be free, and subject to TIFT’s booking policy available at www.tift.ca. Talk Is Free Theatre supporters are offered exclusive booking privileges starting on June 15. Bookings will be open to the general public starting July 5. 

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Jane Brown Jackson said her gift to RVH was meant to honour the strength, courage and dedication provided by nurses and care teams during these unprecedented times, and to help the patients of tomorrow who will need lifesaving care in the ICU.

For the second year, Jane Brown Jackson matched up to $25,000 in donations made to Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH), resulting in $50,000 raised for an expansion to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). 
The campaign was launched during National Nursing Week in honour of the exceptional care she received from nurses in the past and to pay tribute to their heroic work during the pandemic.
“We are incredibly grateful for Jane’s inspiring support and to the community for responding with enthusiasm, matching every dollar,” says Pamela Ross, CEO, RVH Foundation. “These donations will help more people get the advanced medical care they need closer to home.”
Brown Jackson said her gift to RVH was meant to honour the strength, courage and dedication provided by nurses and care teams during these unprecedented times, and to help the patients of tomorrow who will need lifesaving care in the ICU.
“I am humbled by the generous response so thank you to everyone who responded to my matching gift with a donation of their own,” says Brown Jackson. “As members of this community, we need to be there for RVH so that its dedicated medical teams can have the best space, tools, technologies and equipment to be there for us in our time of need.”
The majority of expansions, medical equipment and technology is only possible through the support of community donations. To learn more about how you can make an impact on patient so RVH can be there for you or your loved ones in the moments that matter most, please visit RVHMomentsMatter.ca

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Barrie police received a call Monday to the new Harvie Road overpass construction site, as workers arrived to discover that multiple pieces of heavy machinery had been damaged with windows smashed. 
This act of mischief took place sometime between Friday, May 28 at 1:30 p.m. and Monday, May 31 at 5:30 a.m. As a result of the initial investigation, it is believed that the damage most likely took place on the afternoon or evening of Friday, May 28. Police are looking for a suspect(s) who may have had a bicycle with them, due to tire tracks located near one of the damaged pieces of machinery.
Anyone who may have been in the area over the weekend or noticed anything suspicious in the area is asked to contact Constable J. McArthur at jmcarthur@barriepolice.ca or 705-725-7025 Ext. 2519. Any information can be provided anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or leave an anonymous tip online at www.p3tips.com.

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The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) will begin construction of a new Anne Street bridge starting this Saturday. The project is expected to take 18 months, and will require the closure of Anne Street from Edgehill Drive to Donald Street. The bridge will be demolished overnight on Saturday, June 5.
To help pedestrians get around the construction, a free pedestrian Barrie Transit shuttle option will be offered at a stop on either side of the bridge, starting Saturday morning. There will be two phases of detours for Barrie Transit during this project. In phase one, Barrie Transit’s routes 5, 6, and 8 will be on detour from May 29 to June 5. The phase 2 detour will be from June 6 to Fall 2022 and include routes 5 and 8. Visit www.barrie.ca/TransitNotices for more details.
Notification and detour signage will be installed to give motorists ample warning of the pending closures. For more details on the project, visit Anne Street Bridge Replacement project page via www.barrie.ca/RoadWork.

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“Ramping-up is very complex, so RVH’s plan takes a safe, measured and equitable approach to resuming non-urgent surgeries and procedures. Although COVID cases and hospitalizations are on the decline, RVH continues to be extremely busy caring for critical COVID patients, so the ramp-up must be done in a cautious, safe way that ensures RVH remains ready to respond to any unexpected COVID-19 surges.” – says RVH president & CEO Janice Skot


As the number of new COVID-19 cases continue to decline in Ontario and vaccination rates grow, the Royal Victoria Hospital Regional Health Centre is gradually resuming non-urgent surgeries and procedures, which had been halted to provide resources for COVID patients filling up beds in intensive care units (ICUs).
Last month (April), Ontario Health President and CEO Matthew Anderson sent a memo to Ontario hospitals telling them to “ramp down” all but emergency and essential surgeries to prepare for a surge of third-wave COVID-19 cases transferred in from COVID-19 hotspots, and a redeployment of resources to those areas.
The RVH will focus on resuming non-urgent day surgeries and procedures that don’t require a patient to stay overnight for recovery. The approach is to ensure the centre can continue to respond to a potential increase in COVID patients, as well as meet the needs of those COVID patients who remain in hospital. Physicians and surgeons’ offices have begun contacting patients whose procedures were delayed to advise them of new surgery dates.
“Ramping-up is very complex, so RVH’s plan takes a safe, measured and equitable approach to resuming non-urgent surgeries and procedures,” says RVH president & CEO Janice Skot. “Although COVID cases and hospitalizations are on the decline, RVH continues to be extremely busy caring for critical COVID patients, so the ramp-up must be done in a cautious, safe way that ensures RVH remains ready to respond to any unexpected COVID-19 surges.”
In keeping with strict criteria from Ontario Health, RVH must also maintain enough beds and healthcare workers to support the province’s critical care needs, remaining ready to accept patient transfers from the GTA. Since December, RVH has accepted the transfer of more than 200 patients from the Toronto area in an effort to “load balance” critical care activity in the province.
Throughout the government-directed surgical ramp down, RVH continued to perform emergency and urgent surgeries, such as cancer, vascular and trauma, However, it’s estimated that at least 1,300 procedures were delayed during the almost six-week ramp down.
RVH has performed almost 5,000 fewer surgical procedures this year, compared to its pre-pandemic volumes and cautions that the backlog of cases won’t be eased quickly. The centre says the resumption of surgeries will be gradual and cautious, with a plan to have nine of its 11 operating rooms operational over the summer, in alignment with the provincial recovery plan.
“Although the surgical pause was necessary to ensure hospitals had capacity for critically-ill COVID patients, we recognize it has been difficult and frustrating for patients whose care has been postponed twice during the pandemic,” says RVH’s Chief of Staff Dr. Jeff Tyberg.
“RVH is anxious to resume surgical activity as soon as possible with safety remaining our top priority. We will continue to monitor critical care demands to ensure RVH can do its part to ensure the system continues to function safely.”
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is reporting that more than 325,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the region. More than 297,700 individuals living in Simcoe Muskoka have received their first dose of vaccine, which represents over 49 percent of the total population. More than 33,000 residents, 5.5 percent of the population, have had a second shot of vaccine.
For the current week, 109 new cases have been reported. Last week, 303 new cases were reported, 12 percent lower than the 345 cases reported the previous week. For the week of May 16, the positivity rate in the region was 4.4 percent, while the reproduction rate (Rt) was less than one percent, at 0.9.

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Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre healthcare workers on the COVID-19 front lines share their experiences in a new social media campaign, #SeeWhatISee


• From the RVH

Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) has launched a #SeeWhatISee social media campaign to share frontline healthcare workers’ reflections on the impact of COVID-19. Sharing these reflections offers a glimpse inside the health centre and the reality of COVID-19.
Frontline workers like Jennifer, manager, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) reflect on the impacts of breaking public health guidelines and protocols. “You would see how devastating it is when because of a family member’s action, somebody dies. Just a dinner turns out not to be just a dinner.”
Karen, and ICU resource nurses, says: “We are seeing entire families wiped out, multiple family members, parents, and children, all being wiped out over a chance encounter. No masks, no precautions and what is left behind is complete destruction,” shares Karen, an ICU resource nurse.
RVH staff see the devastating impacts of COVID-19 on a daily basis and it takes its toll on staff. Nicole, a registered nurse on the Respiratory Unit says that if you could see what she sees, you would see “a nurse who is going into a dying patient’s room, who is holding an iPad for when they are taking their last breaths. It is very hard, I’m the one that is being there for them when there is no one else that can be in there for them.”
Hospital staff and physicians are experiencing a high level of fatigue, stress and burn out. However, despite the challenges, TEAM RVH is digging deep to ensure they continue to be there for anyone needing medical help.  The goal of this video campaign is to catch a glimpse into the daily impacts of COVID-19 at the health centre to encourage everyone to stay the course.  Stay home, follow public health safety measures and sign up for a vaccine when eligible.

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