Less than one month after the return to class, COVID-19 is beginning to have a presence in schools within the jurisdiction of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU).  On Monday, September 21, EOHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis confirmed that a staff member had tested positive at École élémentaire catholique Embrun-Pavillon St-Jean.  Roumeliotis said that the affected class at the school was cancelled and all parents were notified.  A student at École secondaire catholique L‘Escale in Rockland has also tested positive.  No official outbreaks were declared at either school.  Roumeliotis explained that it would take a minimum of two cases for an outbreak to be declared at a school and that COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term care facilities are declared after one case due to the vulnerable health of the residents of those facilities.

As of September 22, there were no COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term care facilities or other group living institutions across the EOHU`s territory.  The number of deaths was unchanged at 11.

Local cases

There were 41 active cases of COVID-19 across the jurisdiction of the (EOHU) as of Tuesday, September 22, which was an increase from 25 cases one week previous on September 15.  The number of cumulative cases across the jurisdiction of the EOHU as of September 22 was 239 and there were 186 resolved cases.  The City of Clarence Rockland, Russell Township, and the Township of North Glengarry had the highest number of cases.

On September 21, EOHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis compared the current increase of cases to the situation in the spring of 2020.  He said that the relatively low number of hospitalizations currently is reassuring.  As of September 22, one COVID-19 patient from the EOHU’s territory was in hospital and no COVID-19 patients were in intensive care.

Roumeliotis said that 15 new cases under EOHU jurisdiction were confirmed over the September 19 and 20 weekend, and all were in people under the age of 40.

Testing and traffic

As of September 22, 52,510 tests for COVID-19 had been done at the six testing and assessment centres across the EOHU territory, and by paramedics.  The centres are located in Hawkesbury, Alexandria, Casselman, Rockland, Cornwall, and Winchester.  The drive-through testing centre in Casselman has been seeing the most significant amounts of traffic.  Roumeliotis said up to 450 vehicles per day have been passing through the facility leading to traffic backing up on the street near the centre.  The EOHU has hired private security and has been working with local by-law enforcement officers and the OPP to control the traffic.  Roumeliotis said that several pop-up testing centres will be temporarily operated by paramedics until a new, larger location is found for the Casselman facility.

Pharmacies across Ontario will also begin offering COVID-19 testing shortly.

Paramedics from Prescott and Russell assisted with a recent COVID-19 testing centre set up outside the Canadian Tire Centre arena in Ottawa.  Roumeliotis said on September 21 that the paramedics are part of a dedicated team who assist with COVID-19 related activities wherever needed in Eastern Ontario and that paramedics from other jurisdictions will likely be assisting with the pop-up testing sites being planned by the EOHU.

Across Ontario

The Ontario Ministry of Health had recorded a cumulative 47,752 cases of COVID-19 across the province as of September 21, which was an increase of 2,684 cases from September 14.  The Ministry also reported that, 41,342 or 86.6 per cent of those cases were resolved, which means that 6,410 cases were active across Ontario as of September 21.

There were 82 COVID-19 patients were in hospital across Ontario on September 21.  Out of those 82 patients, 24 were in intensive care, and 11 patients were on ventilators.

There had been 2,832 deaths due to COVID-19 across Ontario as of September 21.

Cumulative and active COVID-19 cases across Eastern Ontario Health Unit jurisdiction as of September 22, 2020.

Map: Eastern Ontario Health Unit.