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Health unit seeing increase in COVID-19 cases, Medical Officer of Health cautions against complacency

The number of active cases of COVID-19 across the jurisdiction of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit has increased, and the Medical Officer of Health is concerned that residents are becoming complacent about the risk of infection and the rules designed to prevent it from spreading.

On Thursday, August 27, Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said that travel between municipalities bordering the City of Ottawa and the Province of Québec has been a factor in recent case increases.  He said that residents of the EOHU’s territory should still be avoiding unnecessary travel to other areas with higher infection rates.

On Friday, August 28, the EOHU expressed satisfaction with the public’s response to the directive making masks mandatory at all indoor public places but cautioned that masks are no substitute for physical distancing and hand washing.

“As we approach cold and flu season, and the cooler weather that comes with it, these measures will help keep the number of COVID-19 cases low,” said Roumeliotis.

As of Friday, August 28, the EOHU reported 14 active cases of COVID-19 out of the cumulative 194 cases across its territory since the beginning of the pandemic.  The EOHU reported on Friday that 169 cases were officially resolved.

The EOHU is now reporting the number of cumulative and active cases of COVID-19 in each of the 17 municipalities across its jurisdiction.  Since the beginning of the pandemic in March, there have been less than five confirmed cases in Champlain Township, East Hawkesbury Township, La Nation Municipality, Casselman, and North Glengarry Township.  As of August 28, there were no active cases in Champlain, East Hawkesbury, North Glengarry, or Casselman.  There were two active cases in La Nation as of August 28.

The Town of Hawkesbury has had 15 cumulative confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, the Township of Alfred and Plantagenet has had 45 cumulative cases, and the City of Clarence-Rockland has had 31 cases.  As of August 28, there were two active cases in Hawkesbury, one active case in Alfred and Plantagenet, and four active cases in Clarence-Rockland.

Outbreaks, testing, hospitalizations, deaths

As of August 28, 39,630 tests for COVID-19 had been done at the six testing and assessment centres across the EOHU territory, and by paramedics.

There were no COVID-19 patients from the jurisdiction of the EOHU in hospital as of August 28.

For 12 weeks, the number of deaths due to COVID-19 within the EOHU’s jurisdiction has remained unchanged at 11.

School cases will be an indicator

Classes are resuming in local public schools during the week ahead, and according to Roumeliotis, any spread of COVID-19 in the community will be reflected in the number of cases among schoolchildren.

“Simply put, if the number of cases outside the 4 walls of school starts to rise, then the number of cases inside the 4 walls of school will rise as well,” explained Roumeliotis. “The opposite is also true, as the two are closely linked and we know that children can unknowingly spread viruses within the community,” he added.

Ontario statistics

As of Friday, August 28, the Ontario Ministry of Health had recorded a cumulative 41,935 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the province.  However, 38,023 or 90.7 per cent of those cases were resolved, which means that 3,859 cases were active across Ontario.

There were 61 COVID-19 patients were in hospital across Ontario on August 28.  Out of those 39 patients, 18 were in intensive care, and 12 patients were on ventilators.

There had been 2,809 deaths due to COVID-19 across Ontario as of August 28.

Active and confirmed COVID-19 cases across EOHU jurisdiction, as of Friday, August 28, 2020.

Map: Eastern Ontario Health Unit.

James Morgan

James Morgan is a freelance contributor. He has worked for several print and broadcast media outlets. James loves the history, natural beauty, and people of eastern Ontario and western Quebec.

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