The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) area appeared with Ottawa, Peel, York, and Toronto in the orange “restrict” classification as part of the provincial government’s new COVID-19 alert level on Tuesday. If approved, some new rules would apply to restaurants, gyms, and indoor venues from Saturday, November 7.
But EOHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said he expected the government would move the region into the less restrictive yellow “protect” category later this week. The proposed “protect” guidelines had similar rules to those imposed in a Section 22 order made last month limiting the number of patrons at indoor restaurants and gyms.
“We have had discussions this morning, and they’re going to reevaluate based on our current numbers,” Dr. Roumeliotis said during a media briefing on Wednesday afternoon. “We are confident that we’re going to be put into yellow, we’re just waiting to get approval from cabinet, and that’s going to come in on Friday.”
The new framework would consider a number of factors, including weekly transmission and positivity rates, as well as the number of repeated outbreaks and community transmissions to determine which level a health unit would be allocated. Dr. Roumeliotis said the gradually declining transmission rate, combined with the low level of community spread in the region, indicated the EOHU area belonged in the “protect” category.
Twenty-three new cases were confirmed in the region on Wednesday, of which 16 were in Prescott-Russell, six were in Cornwall, and one was in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. Many of the Prescott-Russell cases came from a third round of testing at the Prescott and Russell Residence in Hawkesbury. Nine new positive results in residents and two in staff were detected, which brought the total number of confirmed cases at the long term care home to 92 residents and 57 employees.
Fourteen people have died since the outbreak started at the residence. Dr. Roumeliotis said 10 of those deaths were related to COVID, three were unrelated, and another was yet to be determined by the coroner. Forty-six resident and 41 staff member cases had been resolved as of Wednesday afternoon.
There were 119 active cases in the Prescott-Russell area, with a total of 466 since the pandemic began. Those active cases comprised:
- 63 in Hawkesbury;
- 19 in Clarence-Rockland
- 11 in Champlain;
- 10 in Alfred & Plantagenet;
- 6 in Russell;
- 5 in The Nation;
- 4 in Casselman, and;
- 1 in East Hawkesbury.
The next EOHU briefing was expected on Friday afternoon. Further information about any changes to business rules under the new colour-coded scheme were expected to be detailed on that day.