UPDATED AT 8:15 p.m. on 04/20/2020

As of Monday, April 20, there were 70 conifirmed cases of COVID-19 cases under the jurisdiction of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU).  The number of cases had been 68 on Sunday, April 19.

Out of those 70 cases, 43—or 61 per cent were in the United Counties of Prescott and Russell.  The number of confirmed cases on Monday remained at 16 in the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry, and the number of cases in the City of Cornwall had increased to 11 from 10.

As of Monday, five local COVID-19 patients were in hospital, three of whom were in intensive care.  The EOHU has listed 30 COVID-19 cases as resolved.  There have been no deaths due to the virus in The EOHU’s territory.

During his daily briefing on Monday, EOHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said it is still too early to know if any of the several emergency public health orders that have been in place can begin to be rescinded.

In Ontario, all existing orders are in place until May 12.

Roumeliotis explained Ontario’s progress against COVID-19 compares to other jurisdictions, using Italy, New York State, and South Korea as examples of the best and worst-case scenarios.  Ontario’s efforts are closely in-line with South Korea, which has had success at flattening the graph curve of cases.

Relaxing emergency measures will depend on how flat that curve stays during the next couple of weeks, Roumeliotis said on Monday.

Late on Saturday, the EOHU reported that an employee at the Food Basics supermarket on Brookdale Avenue in Cornwall had tested positive for COVID-19 on April 18.  The employee worked day shifts at the store on April 13 to 18, and following the proper diagnosis, is now at home.

The employee did not have direct contact with customers at the store, and following efforts to trace the contacts the individual had with other people, the EOHU determined that the store did not have to be closed.  The employees work area was closed off and a third-party did extensive sanitizing and cleaning of the area during the weekend.

There were 11,184 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Ontario on Monday with 802 patients in hospital.  Out of the number of hospitalized patients, 247 were in intensive care and 193 out of those patients were on ventilators.  There had been 584 COVID-19 deaths in Ontario as of Monday.

Boundary issues

According to Roumeliotis on Monday, Québec residents traveling to Ontario communities for shopping on Sunday was again an issue.  Grocery stores are presently closed in Québec on Sundays, and Ontario, unlike Québec, has not conducted periodic police checkpoints of drivers at the provincial boundary as an effort to contain COVID-19.  Roumeliotis has held discussions with local MPP’s and MP’s about the issue, but any decision to control traffic from Québec into Ontario can only be made at the provincial level.

“I can’t order the OPP to do this,” said Roumeliotis.

Expanded testing announced

Following new provincial guidelines, the testing criteria have been expanded in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) region so that more people in priority sectors can undergo COVID-19 testing at assessment centres.

Testing has been expanded to include individuals in the categories listed below if they have at least one symptom of COVID-19. The province has recently updated and expanded the list of symptoms associated with COVID-19. Visit the EOHU’s website for the updated list of symptoms.

  • Persons working in congregate (group) living settings and institutions
  • Healthcare workers or staff who work in healthcare facilities
  • Caregivers and care providers
  • First responders such as firefighters, police, and paramedics
  • Persons living in the same household as healthcare workers and staff working in healthcare facilities/caregivers and care providers/first responders
  • Members of indigenous communities
  • Patients requiring frequent contact with the healthcare system (including pregnant women and persons with illnesses that need ongoing treatment)
  • Essential workers
  • Cross-border workers

If an individual does not fall in one of the categories above, but have COVID-19 symptoms, they may still need to be tested. To learn more, visit the If You Have Symptoms of COVID-19 page on the EOHU’s website at EOHU.ca/coronavirus. Also, check out the Ontario Ministry of Health’s updated COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool at Ontario.ca/coronavirus.

Local testing numbers

At the EOHU’s five COVID-19 testing and assessment centres in Prescott and Russell, 1,061 people had been tested as of Monday.  At the Hawkesbury facility, 336 people had been tested, 224 individuals were tested at the drive-through Casselman centre, and 121 people had been tested at the by-appointment centre in Rockland.  At the EOHU testing and assessment facility in Cornwall 293 people had been tested, and 91 people had been tested at the Winchester centre.

On Monday, an additional drive-through COVID-19 testing and assessment centre opened on the Akwesasne First Nation as partnership between the EOHU and Akwesasne Health Department.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Eastern Ontario Health Unit jurisdiction as of Monday, April 20, 2020. Map: Eastern Ontario Health Unit.

Watch the EOHU Monday, April 20 briefing here.