January was a record month for new COVID-19 cases, with 699 new reports as of Monday.
January was a record month for new COVID-19 cases, with 699 new reports as of Monday.

January breaks record for COVID cases

Stephen Jeffery
EAP
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) has set a new monthly record, with January recording the highest new case count since the pandemic began.

On Monday, the anniversary of the first recorded case of COVID-19 in Canada, the EOHU reported that 699 new cases had been reported in January so far. The figure was one higher than the 698 cases for all of December, which had recorded the greatest number prior to Monday.

Forty-seven new cases were reported over the weekend, more than double the number of cases recorded on the previous weekend. But the number of active cases across the region dropped to 499, the first time numbers had dropped below 500 since January 5.

Twenty-one of the new cases were reported in Prescott-Russell, the greatest number from any of the EOHU’s territories. There were 141 active cases in Prescott-Russell on Monday, a drop of 13 since Friday.

Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said a continued drop in the rolling average of new cases was encouraging, but he warned that the region remained between the grey and red zones of the province’s COVID colour scheme. “We’re seeing a bit of a leveling of cases both terms of across Ontario and our local numbers,” he said. “It’s still a high number, but I think it’s going down and in the right direction.”

On Monday, the Ontario government formally extended the stay-at-home order and state of emergency declaration for another 14 days. The orders will expire on February 9 if not renewed. Schools remained closed remote learning was expected to continue until at least February 10.

Outbreaks

Seventeen outbreaks were reported in the region’s long term care and group homes on Monday, though the majority were limited to staff cases. Outbreaks were reported in Prescott-Russell at Heritage Lodge in Vankleek Hill, Foyer St Jacques Nursing Home   in Embrun, Pinecrest Nursing Home in Plantagenet, Valoris-211 Russell Road in Cheney, all of which had cases limited to staff. Rideau Place in Hawkesbury had a single resident case.

An earlier staff outbreak at Caressant Care Nursing Home in Bourget was declared over on Sunday. As of Monday, 22 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 across the EOHU area, six of whom were in intensive care. Fifty-two people have died in the region since the pandemic began.

The region

There were 141 active cases in Prescott-Russell as of Monday, including;

  • 49 in Russell;
  • 33 in Clarence-Rockland;
  • 19 in Alfred-Plantagenet;
  • 16 in Hawkesbury;
  • 10 in Champlain;
  • 10 in The Nation;
  • 2 in Casselman, and;
  • 2 in East Hawkesbury.