Active COVID-19 cases across the jurisdiction of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) increased significantly during the recent weekend.  There were 171 active COVID-19 cases among residents of the EOHU jurisdiction as on Friday, March 19.  As of Monday, March 22, there were 227 active cases.  There was a net increase of 71 cases during the weekend but when resolved cases are subtracted, there were 56 new, active cases of COVID-19 across the EOHU’s jurisdiction as of Monday.

The number of COVID-19 patients in hospital across the EOHU’s territory had also increased to 38 as of March 22 from 22 COVID-19 patients in hospital on March 19.  Six of the patients were in intensive care as of Monday.

The number of deaths resulting from COVID-19 across the area served by the EOHU as of Monday remained at 69.

On Monday, March 22, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said that there were 95 active cases of a COVID-19 variant among residents of the EOHU and that 51 of those cases were the variant which originated in the United Kingdom.

As of March 22, the EOHU’s territory remained an orange zone under the Ontario government’s COVID-19 restriction framework.  However, due the increase in cases, the territory is increasingly meeting red zone designation.  Roumeliotis will be recommending this week that the EOHU territory be designated a red zone as of next week. For full details on orange zone restrictions, go to https://eohu.ca/en/covid/covid-19-response-framework .

Verbal abuse against EOHU staff

Roumeliotis said on Monday that health unit staff have been targeted with offensive language and other verbal abuse over the telephone from some individuals when COVID-19 cases and contacts are being traced.

“The civility is gone,” he said.

Some EOHU employees have been crying after enduring the abuse during some of the calls.

“They’re trying to protect everybody, they’re doing their job,” said Roumeliotis.

Similar situations have occurred across Ontario.  Roumeliotis said he contacted Premier Doug Ford about the problem and the Premier called him back to say that he will be addressing the issue.

Vaccinations

As of March 22, 19,443 people across the jurisdiction of the EOHU had been vaccinated against COVID-19.

On Monday, Roumeliotis said that nearly 10,000 people across the EOHU’s territory have booked an appointment to be vaccinated in the near future.  He said that there were again some technical issues with the provincial booking system which are being resolved.  Roumeliotis also reminded people to complete the online consent form if they are using the provincial booking system.

Ontario residents 75 years of age and older can now book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment using Ontario’s online booking system. In accordance with the latest recommendations, those booking will be given appointments for first and second doses, 16 weeks apart.

The EOHU has launched an online pre-registration tool and asking all remaining individuals listed within the province’s Phase 1 priority populations, who have not yet been vaccinated or not yet booked an appointment, to pre-register. Pre-registration facilitates booking appointments quickly and easily as vaccine supply increases and more appointments become available.

Provincial Online Booking System

Ontario’s vaccine booking system has began accepting vaccine bookings for individuals who will be turning 75 or older in 2021 (born in 1941 or earlier). Booking is available at www.Ontario.ca/bookvaccine. Individuals who require assistance with booking can call the Provincial Vaccine Information Line at 1-888-999-6488.

The booking system will screen for eligibility based on age using health card information. Appointments can be made by an individual or with the help of family or an informal caregiver (note: family/informal caregivers born after 1946 cannot book an appointment for themselves at this time, however, they may use the EOHU Pre-Registration tool to pre-register for an appointment).

If you have a family member or provide care to someone who was born in 1946 or before, please encourage them to get vaccinated. Vaccinations will be available BY APPOINTMENT ONLY at vaccine clinics being held across the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry; the United Counties of Prescott-Russell; and the City of Cornwall. Alternate arrangements will be made for individuals who notify us of barriers preventing them from physically going to a clinic.

EOHU Pre-Registration Tool

Those who are not in the 75+ age group, but who are eligible for the vaccine based on the Phase 1 priority populations, must first pre-register using the EOHU online pre-registration tool at www.EOHU.ca/register.

Once vaccine supply permits, those who have pre-registered will receive a code that will give them access to the provincial booking system.

Please note that pre-registration does not guarantee that you will get an appointment immediately. You may not get your appointment booking code for a week or longer, depending on vaccine supply.

Long-term care outbreaks

COVID-19 outbreaks of two or more cases were in effect at the following long-term care, retirement, and group living facilities under EOHU jurisdiction as of March 22:

Hawkesbury and District General Hospital, East Wing

The Palace Long-Term Care in Alexandria

Sandfield Place Retirement Home in Cornwall

Greenview Manor in Cornwall

Heartwood Long Term Care in Cornwall

Baldwin House in Cornwall

Chartwell McConnell in Cornwall

Woodland Villa in Long Sault

School and childcare facility cases

There were active cases of COVID-19 connected with the following schools under EOHU jurisdiction as of March 22:

Upper Canada District School Board

Two students at Viscount Alexander Public School in Cornwall

One student at Longue Sault Public School in South Stormont

Morrisburg Public School

Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario

One student at St. Andrew’s Catholic School in South Stormont

Two students at Our Lady of Good Counsel School in South Stormont

One student at Sacred Heart School in Cornwall

Conseil scolaire de district catholique de l’Est ontarien

One staff member at École élémentaire catholique Sacré-Coeur in Clarence-Rockland

Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario

One student at École élémentaire publique Rose-des-vents in Cornwall

There were active cases of COVID-19 connected with a childcare facility under EOHU jurisdiction at the following locations as of Monday, March 22:

One child at Centre éducatif Ste-Lucie in South Stormont

Ontario statistics

As of March 22, there were 1,745 new, active cases of COVID-19 across Ontario.  According to calculations based on statistics from the Ministry of Health, there were 14,751 active cases of COVID-19 across Ontario as of Monday.

There were 813 COVID-19 patients in hospital across Ontario as of Monday.  Out of those patients, 298 were in intensive care, and 186 patients were on ventilators.

There had been 7,244 deaths due to COVID-19 across Ontario as of March 22.

EOHU COVID-19 case map, March 22, 2021

Map: Eastern Ontario Health Unit.