Region marks 28 new cases over first ‘yellow’ weekend

Stephen Jeffery
EAP
Eastern Ontario recorded 28 new cases of COVID-19 during the region’s first weekend under the province’s new “yellow” restriction level.

Half of those cases were recorded within Prescott-Russell during that time, three fewer than over the previous weekend. Those new numbers pushed the total number of cases in Prescott-Russell since the start of the pandemic to 487, with 118 still active.

DES VERSIONS EN FRANÇAIS DE CET ARTICLE SONT DISPONIBLES DANS LES JOURNAUX SUIVANTS: LE CARILLON DU 12 NOVEMBRE, LE REFLET-NEWS DU 12 NOVEMBRE AINSI QUE LE JOURNAL VISION DU 12 NOVEMBRE

The Prescott and Russell Residence recorded no new cases over the weekend. The death toll stood at 16, with the most recent fatality reported on Friday. The most recent active case numbers available at time of publication included 35 residents and five staff members.

Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said the situation was stabilizing at the residence. Red Cross staff continued to provide assistance to address staffing shortages due to the outbreak, but Dr. Roumeliotis said many employees had since returned to work.

“The good news is that more and more staff have stopped their isolation and they’re able to come back,” he said. Other outbreaks at long-term care homes in the EOHU area included Lancaster Long Term Care and Open Hands Ridgewood Drive in Cornwall.

An outbreak continued at Tiny Hoppers Rockland day care, with two cases reported. Non-outbreak cases were reported at Mother Teresa Elementary school in Russell, École élémentaire catholique Saint-Viateur in Limoges, and École intermédiaire catholique Pavillon L’Escale in Rockland.

The EOHU region moved to the “yellow – protect” level of Ontario’s new colour-coded pandemic plan on Saturday. Restrictions under the new category were similar to those already implemented in the EOHU area under a Section 22 order issued late last month. Restaurants and bars must close at midnight, with liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m., while a maximum of six people would be allowed to sit together. Contact information would need to be sourced from all seated patrons.

The area was originally due to move to the higher “orange” or “restrict” category when the new system was unveiled last Tuesday. The region was downgraded after discussions with Dr. Roumeliotis, who said the region’s low level of community spread and stable rolling average did not justify to additional precautions.

The region’s most recent seven-day rolling average rate of transmission was 28.7 people per 100,000, down from a high of 56.9 per 100,000 on October 14. Prescott-Russell, where most of the local cases were recorded, showed a rolling average transmission rate of 31people per 100,000. Any rate above 25 per 100,000 is considered high, but Dr. Roumeliotis said the local figures had been inflated by outbreaks in long-term care homes and other institutions. Community transmission without traceable links, he said, remained relatively low in the region.

As of Monday afternoon, local active cases included:

  • 58 in Hawkesbury;
  • 20 in Clarence-Rockland;
  • 12 in Alfred & Plantagenet;
  • 9 in Champlain;
  • 7 in Casselman;
  • 6 in Russell;
  • 5 in The Nation, and;
  • 1 in East Hawkesbury

The next EOHU media briefing was expected today, Thursday.