There have now been 14 deaths due to COVID-19 across the jurisdiction of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU).

On Wednesday afternoon, October 21, EOHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis announced that a resident at The Palace Retirement Home had died of COVID-19.

At The Palace, as of October 21, there have so far been 11 residents to test positive and one employee to test positive for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, in the COVID-19 outbreak at the Prescott and Russell Residence in Hawkesbury, 31 residents and 21 employees have been affected, with 15 of those cases resolved, as of October 21.

One death has resulted from the outbreak at the Prescott and Russell Residence.  According to the United Counties of Prescott and Russell, that death occurred after the isolation and contagion period for the patient had ended, but that does not exclude the possibility that a patient can have residual complications from the infection, that could result in death.

“This is a call that the coroner has to make,” said Roumeliotis on Wednesday.

Paramedics continue to assist with resident care needs at the Prescott and Russell Residence and Red Cross personnel will be arriving shortly to also assist.

Two other COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term care facilities and retirement homes remained in effect across the jurisdiction of the EOHU on Wednesday.  They are at the Sandfield Place Retirement Home in Cornwall, and at St. Joseph’s Continuing Care (Kane House) in Cornwall.

The COVID-19 outbreak at the Foyer St-Jacques Nursing Home in Embrun was declared over on October 16.

No switch to Stage Two, but more rules possible

There were 150 active cases of COVID-19 across the EOHU’s territory as of October 21.  The rate of virus transmission across the territory has declined in recent days, easing concerns that the EOHU will be placed under Stage Two of Ontario’s system of permitting how businesses and services can function.

However, Roumeliotis said on Wednesday that he is consulting with local municipal leaders and chambers of commerce and has advised Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams that additional restrictions on gathering sizes and distancing in places such as restaurants and fitness facilities should be introduced in the region to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.  Roumeliotis noted that some of the recent new cases under EOHU jurisdiction were traced to restaurants.

The new measures will not lead to dining areas at restaurants being closed and would be similar to those introduced in Ottawa and the Toronto area on October 2.

Roumeliotis said that Williams will advise the provincial cabinet of the recommendation and that implementing the additional restrictions will be up to Premier Doug Ford and the cabinet to decide.  Roumeliotis said that a decision is possible on Thursday and could be announced on Friday.  He added that the announcement would likely be made by the Premier.