Efforts to get the regional public transit service on the road again are in the planning stage as Phase Two of the provincial pandemic economic restart program begins. “I’m hoping to present something to the economic development committee this month,” said Carole Lavigne, economic development and tourism director for the United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR). The PR Transpo service has been sidelined since spring when the provincial government declared a public health state of emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent announcement confirmed the state of emergency orders will remain in effect until mid-July even as Phase Two begins of the Ontario economic restart program. Transportation Minister Caroline Mulro- ney announced June 14 a safety guidelines document for municipal and regional public transit services. The focus is to help services that were suspended during the early days of the pandemic to prepare themselves to resume operations. “This guidance for transit agencies will provide consistent, clear and practical infor- mation that transit agencies can use to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” stated Mulroney.

PR Transpo has been off the road since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The provincial government has since issued guidelines for suspended public transit services to help them prepare to resume operations as the Ontario economic restart program enters Phase Two. The economic development department of the United Counties of Prescott-Russell is working on a “made in Prescott-Russell” for restarting PR Transpo. —archives

“We did see more people using it in the east than in the west,” she said, regarding ridership numbers for Casselman, Embrun and Rockland, compared to Hawkesbury. Lavigne noted that more promotional marke- ting in the eastern part of Prescott-Russell may be needed when PR Transpo resumes service.


situation continues. “We don’t want to be encouraging any vulnerable persons to use the bus,” said Lavigne. PR Transpo began operation October 2019, providing bus service between vil- lages and towns in Prescott-Russell. Lavigne noted that a proper analysis of the first year of operation is not possible, given the temporary suspension during the pandemic. “It (ridership numbers) won’t be represen- tative of what we could have had,” she said, adding that some information is still avai- lable about service use.

PR Transpo preparation Lavigne has discussed public health safety needs with Leduc Bus Lines, which operates the PR Transpo system, for when the public transit service resumes. She is also contacting the operators of various long- term care and seniors retirement facilities located on or near designated PR Transpo routes.

The document provides advice on modifying buses with protective barriers between drivers and passengers, setting up physical markers between seats, disinfection procedures for vehicles before, during and after travel, and public hygiene protocols, including social distancing and use of face SECOND COVID-19 OUTBREAK ENDED AT PINECREST NURSING HOME One thing Lavigne wants to know is whe- ther the operators of those facilities have any concerns about having a public transit stop located nearby while the pandemic Right now her focus is on reviewing all the information she and her staff are collecting to create a “made in Prescott-Russell” res- tart plan for PR Transpo to present to the economic development committee.


Pinecrest Nursing Home in Plantagenet is no longer on the watch list for COVID-19. “Now we have no ongoing outbreaks,” said Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, chief medical health officer for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU), during his Monday (June 22) daily media teleconference. The Plantagenet nursing was on the EOHU watch list again for COVID-19 after a staff member tested positive for the disease earlier in the month and went into immediate self-isolation. The EOHU tested all the other staff and also all of the residents and then placed the nursing home on the standard 14-day monitoring protocol for any further COVID-19 cases. No other cases were reported during that period, which prompted the EOHU to declare outbreak situation ended. Since a provincial health state of emer- gency was declared in spring in Ontario as part of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic there have been seven recorded outbreaks in long-term care and group care living facilities in the EOHU region. Pinecrest is the only facility that has experienced two outbreak situations and also the only one to date to have any deaths due to COVID-19 complications among its residents.

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) has declared the second outbreak situation at Pinecrest Nursing Home in Plantagenet resolved. The second outbreak was declared earlier in June when one of the staff members tested positive for COVID-19. Since then the nursing home has gone through the standard 14-day monitoring period without any new cases of the disease appearing, prompting the EOHU to declare the outbreak over. —archives

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