Thompson YWCA COVID-19 Outbreak Update – Contingency Plan in Effect – What’s Open and What’s Not

This press release has been prepared by the YWCA. We are distributing it on their behalf at their request.

(Thompson MB – Oct 16, 2020) A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared and remains in effect at the YWCA in Thompson in an effort to stop any further spread of the virus at the facility. The public heath investigation has identified that the risk to short-term stay residents is low, however, out of an abundance of caution, public health has recommended self monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms to anyone who stayed at the YWCA between October 4 – 14, 2020.

“We thank the public and our partners for their outpouring of support during this challenging time,” Executive Director Kim Hickes said. “The outbreak is contained on the third floor and it’s important for the public to know that we are maintaining our operations in the rest of the building as best we can.”

The Y’s Shelter in Place Program (SHIPP) operates from the third floor. The program is self-contained on the third floor of the YWCA: program participants access the building through the separate entrance, and interactions with staff and clients outside of this program are extremely limited. Visitor access has been restricted as a result.

The SHIPP initiative was developed earlier this year to address concerns over COVID-19 and Thompson’s homeless residents.

Public Health staff from the Northern Health Region are conducting contact tracing and are supervising the staff and clients currently in isolation.

“We really need a community effort to support the Y and its operations as they work with health officials to contain and address this outbreak,” YWCA Board President Charlene Lafreniere said. “Kindness and understanding go a long way at a time like this and we know if we work together as Northerners, we can beat this.”

Media Contact:
Kim Hickes, Executive Director YWCA
(204) 679-7069

Background information on the SHIPP initiative can be found here: https://northernernews.ca/2020/04/18/ywca-first-wave-homeless-pandemic

MCMURDO BECOMES CITY COUNCILLOR, CRIPPS SCHOOL TRUSTEE IN 2020 MUNICIPAL BY-ELECTION

The votes are in! Braden McMurdo has won the 8th City Council seat with 355 votes, and Li Cripps has won the office of School Trustee with 630 votes.

A total of 1104 residents turned out to cast their votes.

The voter turn-out this year is slightly lower than the last by-election in 2019, where 1202 votes were cast among three candidates for City Council.

City CouncilVotesSchool TrusteeVotes
Braden McMurdo355Li Cripps630
Kathleen Bluesky280Bryan Young454
David Kobliski48
Ron Matechuk293
Jason Bayer117

Making Masks Work For You

Masks are an important part of slowing the spread of COVID-19. We’ve known for some time that masks stop the immediate spread of particles created by breathing, coughing, or sneezing, and the US CDC recently updated it’s webpage to acknowledge that respiratory particles may remain in the air longer than a few minutes.

Though masks may offer you limited protection, their primary purpose is to keep other people safe. That means that the more people who wear masks, the more effective masks are at stopping the spread of the disease.

What makes a good non-medical mask?

The best materials for non-medical masks include at least two layers of tightly-woven fabric. They should provide a relatively snug fit over your mouth and nose, and ideally under your chin to catch the most droplets.

You can test how effective your mask is with a candle or a lighter. A good mask should make it difficult to blow out the lighter.

How do I make the most of my mask?

Health Canada offers these guidelines for wearing and handling non-medical masks:

  • Wear your mask over your mouth and nose.
  • Inspect your mask for rips and holes regularly.
  • Handle your mask by the ear loops, and avoid touching the surface with unclean hands.
  • Wash your re-usable mask in warm, soapy water regularly.
  • Keep a paper bag or ziploc handy to store your mask when not in use.
  • Don’t wear your mask loosely.
  • Don’t remove your mask to talk to someone.
  • Don’t share your mask
  • Don’t leave your mask hanging off of an ear or your neck.

I have a hard time wearing a mask. What can I do?

Breathe through your nose. We often instinctively breathe through our mouths when something is put over our face. However, this is a fight-or-flight response, and can lead to feelings of panic and anxiety. Try to consciously remember to breathe through your nose. It will smell a lot better, too.

You may need a different mask. Try a variety of cuts and materials that still meet the basic requirements for a mask. The best masks are light and resist moisture build-up inside.

You can also buy a plastic bracket that creates a bit of room between your mouth, making even the most uncomfortable masks a bit easier to breathe in. Check out a few options in this article: 7 Face Brackets To Make Your Mask More Comfortable!

If your glasses fog up a lot while wearing a mask, try anti-fog wipes like these ones from Smith Optics. They use a hydrophobic coating to stop glasses from fogging up once applied. They work great, and they’re especially handy in the winter, pandemic or not!

Neckwarmers may not be enough.

Research-wise, the jury is out whether neckwarmers are an effective mask. It will also be up to businesses and service providers to decide whether they will allow neckwarmers to substitute for masks during the winter.

The safest bet is to carry a dedicated mask to use indoors!

Masks are just one part of staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Remember to distance yourself physically, avoid travel if possible, and stay home if you’re sick. Check out our basic guidelines article for more information!

Read more about non-medical masks at this link from Health Canada: Safely Using A Non-Medical Mask

Basic Guidelines For Staying Safe During COVID-19.

COVID-19 has officially been identified in Thompson for the first time since the spring, so its important we all take basic pandemic precautions seriously.

Please remember the basic rules and guidelines that have been in place since March. Don’t wait until the numbers start climbing: following these guidelines now helps ensure that local cases remain isolated and do not spread.

  • Stay home when you’re sick. If you can work from home, great! If you can’t, be sure to speak with your employer about your options around time off due to illness.
  • Space yourselves out. Two meters/six feet is the standard distance, however this is only a guideline. The more distance you give people, the better.
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently. At the very least, clean your hands before entering a public place, and after you get home.
  • Wear a mask. The best fabrics for non-medical masks are at least two layers of cotton, polypropylene, or some combination of the two. When you’re not wearing a mask, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Learn more at https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/covid-19-safely-use-non-medical-mask-face-covering.html
  • Limit your shopping trips, and the number of shoppers. Make a list of what you need, and send only one person at a time to run errands. This limits your exposure and gives everyone room to breathe. Follow all precautions put in place by stores and service providers.
  • Show compassion. Not everyone catches COVID-19 because they were irresponsible. In the meantime, there are practical difficulties to self-isolating for a lot of people. Find out how you can lend a helping hand at https://www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/updates/prepareandprevent.htm

To avoid more drastic closures and public health orders, its important that we all do our part to ensure COVID-19 spreads as slowly as possible. It’s never been easier to save a life!

We Want To Help Businesses Support Electric Vehicles in Thompson!

Help pioneer electric vehicle infrastructure in Thompson! Natural Resources Canada has announced that businesses interested in hosting Level 2 electric vehicle charging stations can apply to have 50% ($5,000 max per outlet) of the purchase and installation costs covered by the federal government under the Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program.

Each application must be submitted as a community, and requires a minimum of 20 outlets to be considered for the grant. The City of Thompson will coordinate identifying interested businesses and organizations in Thompson, who would like to take advantage of this grant opportunity, as we work in putting together a submission.

We would like to have as many interests being expressed by October 30, 2020 to demonstrate to the Federal Government that Thompson is serious about taking a unified approach towards becoming a greener, EV-friendly community.

If you’re a commercial or multi-unit residential property owner and are interested in accessing the grant, please contact our Economic Development Coordinator, Keisha Davis at ecdev@thompson.ca to find out more.

We’ve applied for one charging station so far!

Back in July, Council approved the application to fund the purchase and installation of a Level 3 charging station at the TRCC with the help of Natural Resources Canada.

A Level 3 charger is among the fastest consumer chargers, and can charge a vehicle battery from 0-80% in roughly 20 minutes. However, the cost of these charging stations limits the number that we can effectively purchase and install.

Why are we keen on Electric Vehicles?

Charging stations in Thompson also open up new opportunities for Winter Weather Testing in Thompson by delivering the infrastructure that testers need, and open doors to help the next generation of electric vehicles ready for the real-world rigors of northern Canada.

Electric vehicle battery technology also relies heavily on nickel, which means supporting the adoption of electrical vehicles also supports our local mining economy.

Contact for Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program:

Keisha Davis
Economic Development Coordinator
ecdev@thompson.ca

Positive Case of COVID-19 Identified in Thompson

Provincial Public Health officials have confirmed a case of COVID-19 in the Thompson/Mystery Lake District of the Northern Health Region.

Public Health nurses and staff are already conducting extensive contact tracing and monitoring, and the City of Thompson is working closely with the Northern Health Region and community partners to help contain this event.

Mayor and Council would like to remind residents to continue to practice the fundamentals to keep COVID-19 at bay in the North:

  • Stay home when you feel sick;
  • Wash your hands frequently or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
  • Cover your cough or sneeze;
  • Follow all precautions implemented by local businesses;
  • Maintain physical (social) distancing, and wear a mask when in group settings;
  • Limit errand runs and groceries to one person, if possible.

“No one should be surprised or caught off-guard by this announcement: we knew this day was coming. That’s why it’s important that we follow precautions and public health orders properly,” said Mayor Colleen Smook. “This positive case does not need to turn into an outbreak, but we need to start taking this virus seriously.”

All municipalities in Manitoba have been advised to refer to and publish case information as it is publicly released by the Chief Provincial Public Health Officer and the Province of Manitoba to ensure information is accurate and consistent. The City of Thompson will provide updates as the situation progresses, in due collaboration with provincial authorities.

If you are experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms, we encourage residents to use the Manitoba Shared Health self-screening tool prior to reporting to a testing location.

Download the COVID-19 Alert app from Health Canada to find out if you have been in contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. The More people who use the app, the more effective it will be.

Visit www.manitoba.ca/covid19 for accurate information about COVID19 in Manitoba.

More Road Work Is Coming This Season, Weather Permitting!

***Update, September 14, 2020:

Public Works crews were able to repair the Princeton Drive/Purdue Place intersection themselves, so instead, we’ll be paving part of Weir Road instead!


We will also be addressing the Thompson Drive access to City Centre Mall in lieu of the Westwood Drive/Thompson Drive intersection. Though both sections of road need attention, the mall access is in more urgent need of care.

Original Article:

The first layers of asphalt went down on Thompson Drive this week, but we have even better news heading into the weekend!

With some tight project management from our Manager of Infrastructure, the Thompson Drive paving project has come in at almost $200, 000 under budget. That means we can pave an additional five intersections this fall!

As there is limited time remaining in the construction season, completion of additional roadwork will depend on the amount of rain we continue to receive into the fall: paving cannot take place in the rain.

However, if the weather cooperates, our plan is to repair the following areas:

  • Thompson Drive/Westwood Drive intersection
  • Westwood Drive between Arctic Drive and Partridge Crescent (southbound lane)
  • Waterloo Crescent/Nelson Road Intersection
  • Princeton Drive/Purdue Place Intersection
  • Elizabeth Drive (Highway 6/City Hall Access)

Our original road renewal plan had to be scaled back quite a bit when bid prices came in much higher than previous years. We’re really excited to recover a portion of our original vision this year!

Council Selects Stantec Consulting To Design New Pool Facility!

On September 8, Mayor and Council accepted the recommendation of the Community Pool Committee to award Stantec Consulting with the contract to design a new pool facility to replace the Norplex Pool!

We received proposals from 13 different design firms before the RFP closed on July 8. Three evaluation teams were created to tackle the submissions, with each team including a citizen representative from the Community Pool committee’s planning and design team.

Respondents were evaluated based on the experience of their over all firms and the experience/qualifications of their lead personnel. This includes experience specific to our circumstances, including government/municipal projects, aquatic facilities, an working on projects in northern, rural, and remote areas.

The proposals themselves were judged based on their ability to demonstrate:

  • Green design and energy efficiency;
  • Understanding construction challenges in northern/remote areas;
  • Accommodating our wish-list, with the ability to scale the design down depending on budget limitations;
  • Understanding the expectations of our community and stakeholders;
  • Safety compliance;
  • Sound, innovative ideas

The recommendation of administration and the Community Pool Committee is expected to be put forward for approval at the August 24 regular meeting of Council, and the chosen firm will have their first meeting with city administration within a week of being notified that they have won the bid.

What Else is New?

Public fundraising activities are starting to ramp up again after being on hold due to public health orders and responsible social distancing: they have a few exciting ideas lined up for this winter! In the meantime, our team has continued to apply for grants as they become available, and public donations are always welcome!

The City and the Community Pool Committee still hasn’t received word from the federal government regarding the Investing in Canada’s Infrastructure Program grant: earlier in the spring, we received word that large grants will likely not be announced until Fall of 2020, so we hope to hear back soon as September approaches!

The 2020 Health and Leisure Mart Runs September 11 – 12!

After a lot of uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, we have some good news: the annual Health and Leisure Mart is going ahead this year on Friday, September 11 (5:00pm to 9:00pm) and Saturday, September 12 (10:00am – 2:00pm), in the TRCC Parking Lot!

Sign up as a club to promote your activities and collect members, or come out and sign up for your favourite winter activities!

The Health and Leisure Mart is open to recreation clubs, sports clubs, health organizations, businesses, service groups, and small crafters.

If your organization would like to get involved, call the Recreation Department at 204- 677-7952, e-mail rec@thompson.ca, or visit the TRCC Front Desk!

You can download the registration forms and guidelines below, and email the filled-out forms to rec@thompson.ca:

Fill Out the Thompson Community Safety Survey

The The City of Thompson and the Community Wellness and Public Safety Advisory Committee wants your help in developing a comprehensive public safety strategy for Thompson by filling out the Thompson Community Safety Survey.

We want residents to not only express their sense of safety and its causes, but also your sense of community connection, and your vision of Thompson in the present and future.

Click here to Fill Out the Thompson Community Safety Survey.

You can fill out the survey online at the link above, or get a paper copy at City Hall or the Ma-Mow-We-Tak Friendship Centre. Hard copies can be returned in a sealed envelope to the Front Desk at either office during public hours. The survey is anonymous: hard copies submitted will be compiled by the committee’s consulting team, Community Safety and Knowledge Alliance (CSKA) and submitted to the committee as a whole.

What is the Community Wellness and Public Safety Advisory Committee?

The Community Wellness and Public Safety Advisory Committee began its work in January 2020; in March, the Province of Manitoba awarded the City of Thompson with a $36, 000 grant to hire Community Safety and Knowledge Alliance as experienced consultants to facilitate the planning process.

Sixteen different organizations were represented in these initial planning sessions, led by Advisory Committee co-chairs Dee Chaboyer (Ma-Mow-We-Tak Friendship Center), Mike Bourgon (City of Thompson Fire and Emergency Services), and Staff Sergeant Chris Hastie (RCMP).

New Approaches to old problems

Since the 1990s, Thompson’s City Councils and local agencies have grappled with the challenge of addressing social health in Thompson. Although many discussions between community leaders have taken place over the years, they have rarely been assembled into a unified vision for Thompson as a community. Previous attempts at planning have suffered from insufficient resources, limited representation, and loose frameworks for accountability.

The Advisory Committee has discussed these barriers in detail, with a clear path to improvement.

Collaboration: This may be surprising, but the Community Wellness and Public Safety Advisory Committee represents the first time that the City, Thompson RCMP, and community agencies have come together to create an integrated, community-wide approach to public safety in Thompson. Previous strategies have suffered from isolation and limited resources: just as isolation breeds crime in communities, it also makes it more difficult to bring under control.

Building on Success: The Advisory Committee aims to harness the promising programs that have shown limited success in Thompson, and seeks to develop and enrich those programs while helping them work together towards their common goals.

This includes initiatives like the Thompson Community Response Team that works to overcome barriers and develop coordinated responses for urgent social service cases, and Ma-Mow-We-Tak’s Second Chances for Youth program, which uses restorative justice to develop a meaningful sense of accountability and community among youth who have committed minor crimes.

Accountability: Many community initiatives are stymied by the need for approvals from boards or directors, and when leadership is not present at the table, these decisions are often pushed to the back of people’s minds. The new Advisory Committee is made up of community leaders directly responsible for decision-making within their organizations, minimizing barriers to communication and delays from approvals and chains of command.

FILL OUT THE THOMPSON COMMUNITY SAFETY SURVEY HERE.