Eastern Ontario Health Unit Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said the rate of new cases continued to fall across the region
Eastern Ontario Health Unit Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said the rate of new cases continued to fall across the region

COVID orange zone to be reviewed this week

Stephen Jeffery
EAP
The provincial government is expected to determine whether Eastern Ontario will remain in the orange “restrict” zone on Friday.

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) area recorded eight new cases on Wednesday. The region marked 126 active cases, six fewer than on Tuesday.

EOHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said the area’s rolling seven day average new cases count had continued to fall, with the health unit at 8.3 cases per 100,000 people in the most recent data. That figure was well below the 25 people per 100,000 threshold required to downgrade from an orange to a yellow “protect” zone.

Dr. Roumeliotis expected to hear from the Ministry of Health on Thursday, but said he was unsure whether the government would want to see a longer term pattern of decline before lifting the orange status. “They might wait another week to get a sustained pattern,” he said. “My recommendation would be, if the numbers are down, if the positivity is down and continues to do so, then we’ll likely get put into yellow.”

Outbreaks

The Prescott and Russell Residence in Hawkesbury recorded four new resident cases and one new staff case after another round of testing. Seventy-three of the 101 resident cases have been resolved since the outbreak began, and 12 people have died from COVID. Fifty-nine of the 64 staff cases had been resolved. Red Cross workers remained at the residence to address staffing shortages.

Another outbreak, at the Russell Meadows Retirement Home in Russell, appeared stable after another round of tests at the property came back negative. No schools or daycares were experiencing outbreaks in the United Counties of Prescott and Russell.

Holiday guidelines

Dr. Roumeliotis said the EOHU was waiting on the provincial government to develop COVID guidelines for the coming holiday season. Christmas markets, home visits and shopping would be discussed in the document, which was expected to be released after the province released its recommendations.

Dr. Roumeliotis said he hoped the holidays would not be a repeat of Labour Day, when some gatherings led to a rise in local cases. He said the Thanksgiving had been much better, with fewer cases and a gradual decline in new incidents.  

“There is a vaccine, there’s going to be a resolution next year, so we have to hang tight a bit,” he said. “Into the holidays, which will be different this year, we still need to be vigilant.”

The region

Of the 126 active cases in the EOHU area on Wednesday, 66 were in Prescott-Russell communities, including:

  • 17 in Hawkesbury;
  • 9 in Clarence-Rockland;
  • 8 in Champlain;
  • 8 in Russell;
  • 4 in Alfred & Plantagenet;
  • 4 in The Nation;
  • 1 in Casselman, and;
  • 0 in East Hawkesbury.

Another EOHU briefing was expected on Friday.