UPDATED AT 5:13 p.m. on 04/14/2020
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the jurisdiction of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit increased over the Easter weekend.
As of Tuesday, April 14, there were 61 confirmed cases in its jurisdiction which includes Prescott and Russell, Stormont-Dundas and Glengarry (SD & G), and the City of Cornwall.
The EOHU has improved its website reporting on confirmed cases in its territory and now includes complete statistics on hospitalization, ages of patients, and resolved cases.
EOHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said on Tuesday that starting on Wednesday, April 15, the health unit will begin disclosing the number of cases specifically in Prescott and Russell, SD & G, and Cornwall.
Roumeliotis had been reluctant to offer more specific geographical statistics because of patient privacy and a desire to not create a false sense of security among residents in communities where there are currently no COVID-19 cases.
He said that no further geographical information will be made available.
Taking a closer look at the statistics as of April 14, five local patients are in hospital. Out of those five, three are in intensive care. There have been no deaths and the only institutional facility with a COVID-19 outbreak is a Valoris group home in Plantagenet. The two patients at the facility continue their recovery and there were no other cases in group homes or long-term care facilities in the EOHU territory on Tuesday.
The EOHU is listing 30 COVID-19 cases as resolved. There have been no deaths due to the virus in its jurisdiction.
Comparison with neighbours
On Tuesday, Roumeliotis said that in the EOHU territory, there was an average of 29 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people. In comparison, there are 119 confirmed cases per 100,000 people in the Lanark, Leeds and Grenville Health Unit jurisdiction, and 56 confirmed cases per 100,000 people in the City of Ottawa.
Roumeliotis said that COVID-19 cases are highest in Ottawa and Toronto, so it makes sense that the initial arrival of the virus in the EOHU territory was in Prescott-Russell due to the counties sharing a boundary and traffic with Ottawa.
Too soon to reverse measures
Roumeliotis said there are indications that the graph curve of cases in Ontario could be starting to flatten, but that does not mean it is yet time to reverse the emergency measures and orders that have been put in place.
There were approximately 7,400 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Ontario on Tuesday.
“Our distancing is working; we need to continue,” Roumeliotis said.
He emphasized that the emergency measures have ensured that the four hospitals in the EOHU’s boundaries still have capacity to accept patients.
The provincial Public Health Measures Table, which Roumeliotis is a part of, meets regularly. It will use the data involving confirmed cases to determine when and if emergency measures will be modified.
Long-term care facilities and institutions
Roumeliotis noted on Tuesday that about half of the COVID-19 deaths are connected to residents in long-term care facilities. He said that seasonal influenza outbreaks in those facilities are common, but the symptoms are not as severe as those related to COVID-19.
Additional symptoms are also being identified in elderly patients with COVID-19, according to Roumeliotis. Those include fatigue and memory loss, in addition to the more ubiquitous symptoms of coughing and fever.
Efforts are being made to expand testing and prioritize it for residents and staff of long-term care facilities. Roumeliotis said he has also added group homes and other institutional residences as priorities, along with first responders.
Ontario now has one million kits that can be used to test for COVID-19 at whichever location a patient is attended to. Results can be obtained in 30 minutes. Those kits are being prioritized for remote and rural regions of the province.
Roumeliotis thanked businesses and individuals on Tuesday for their donations of personal protective equipment for use by health care workers. He said that two plane loads of imported masks have arrived at the airport in Hamilton and provincial officials would be discussing on Tuesday evening how to distribute them. Roumeliotis said they will be likely prioritized for long-term care facilities.
The complete list of EOHU COVID-19 statistics can be viewed at https://eohu.ca/en/my-health/covid-19-status-update-for-eohu-region#status_update_region .
Here is information from the EOHU website about COVID-19 and symptoms:
If You Have Symptoms of COVID-19
A COVID-19 self assessment tool is available here. (https://covid-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment/#q0)
Symptoms of COVID-19 are common to a number of respiratory illnesses, and can range from mild to severe: fever, cough and respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
Please note: in order to decrease transmission of COVID-19 in the EOHU region, we are now recommending that all residents of the EOHU region practise social distancing.
If you are having difficulty breathing or experiencing other severe symptoms:
Call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room immediately. Advise them of your symptoms and travel history.
If you are experiencing non-severe symptoms:
In order to reduce the burden on 911 and on hospitals, please do not call or show up at the hospital if you are not experiencing serious illness.
If you have MILD symptoms, where you are NOT short of breath and can manage symptoms reasonably at home:
- Do NOT call the Eastern Ontario Health Unit
- Do NOT call 911 or go to the hospital or testing/assessment centre
- DO self-isolate for 14 days or until 24 hours AFTER symptoms have FULLY resolved, whichever is longer
- NOTE: Most people with mild symptoms will recover on their own at home
If you have ESCALATING SYMPTOMS THAT ARE NOT SEVERE such as a new or worsening cough and/or fever, AND have either travelled outside of Canada or been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days:
- Children under 6 months of age meeting these criteria should be taken to CHEO
- Visit a COVID-19 Testing/Assessment Centre (you do not need a referral from the EOHU), OR call your healthcare provider
- If you are 70 years or older, cannot get to a COVID-19 Testing/Assessment Centre or have special considerations, call the EOHU at 613-933-1375 or 1-800-267-7120
- If the COVID-19 Testing/Assessment Centre and your healthcare provider are both closed, go to the hospital emergency department and pay attention to special signage
If you do not have symptoms:
People WITHOUT respiratory symptoms (such as fever or cough) will NOT be tested for COVID-19, regardless of potential exposures.
Even if you do not have symptoms, you should self-isolate for 14 days if:
- You have travelled anywhere outside of Canada (including the United States of America)
- You live with, provided care for, or spent extensive time with someone who has:
- Tested positive for COVID-19, OR is suspected to have COVID-19, OR who has respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, or shortness of breath) that started within 14 days of travel outside of Canada.