Red zone fears as cases rise

Stephen Jeffery
EAP
Twenty-seven new COVID-19 cases over the weekend have pushed the region toward the red “control” zone, local health authorities have warned.

While none of the new cases over the weekend were in Prescott-Russell, the rise pushed the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) region’s seven-day rolling case average to 39.9 people per 100,000 on Monday. One of the factors used to determine whether a health unit will move into the red “control” restrictions is a rolling case average of more than 40 per 100,000.

EOHU Medical Officer of Health said many of the new cases were tied to clusters in Cornwall and Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. He said the case rate remained within the orange zone, but said the trends were headed in the “wrong direction”.

“The decision about when health changes will be made on Friday,” he said. “We’re treading that thin line. Hopefully we’ll start seeing a downward trend moving forward.”

There were 15 variants of concern in the EOHU on Monday. Dr. Roumeliotis said the cases had been spread through asymptomatic contacts or those with mild symptoms, usually through a slight lapse in precautions.

“So far we’ve managed to be able to isolate and contain them,” he said. “We don’t yet know what mutation they are.”

Vaccines

As of Monday, 9617 vaccines had been administered in the EOHU region, including the first and second doses for all long-term care home residents. Dr. Roumeliotis said the vaccine deliveries were expected to increase in the coming weeks, rising to between 4000 and 5000 doses per week in April.

The EOHU will not be part of a trial of COVID-19 doses at pharmacies with the AstraZeneca vaccine. Pharmacies in Toronto, Windsor-Essex and Kingston started to administer the vaccines this week, but the EOHU will continue to use larger clinics until a wider rollout is possible.

Outbreaks

Only one institutional outbreak was reported in Prescott-Russell, at Place Rideau in Hawkesbury. The outbreak was believed tied to a single resident as of Monday. No outbreaks were reported in Prescott-Russell schools, but there was one student case each recorded at École élémentaire catholique Saint-Joseph in Wendover, École intermédiaire catholique Pavillon L’Escale in Clarence-Rockland, École secondaire catholique régionale de Hawkesbury, and Rockland District High School.

The region

Of the 178 active cases in the EOHU region on Monday, 47 were in Prescott-Russell communities, including 16 in Alfred-Plantagenet, 15 in Clarence-Rockland, 5 in The Nation, 4 in East Hawkesbury, 3 in Hawkesbury, 3 in Russell, 1 in Casselman, and 0 in Champlain.