The ongoing outbreak at the Prescott and Russell Residence, as well as those with connections to Ottawa, were behind many of the new cases in the region on Wednesday.
The ongoing outbreak at the Prescott and Russell Residence, as well as those with connections to Ottawa, were behind many of the new cases in the region on Wednesday.

Ten new COVID cases, 47 more resolved in region

Stephen Jeffery
EAP
Most of Prescott-Russell’s latest COVID cases stemmed from ongoing institutional outbreaks and connections to Ottawa, the region’s health authorities say.

Another 10 positive cases were confirmed across the Eastern Ontario Health Unit region on Wednesday, which included Prescott-Russell, Cornwall, and Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. Eight of those cases were in Prescott-Russell, which had 129 active infections as of Wednesday afternoon.

The Prescott and Russell Residence in Hawkesbury added six new positive cases – four residents and two staff members – on Wednesday, raising the total number of cases since the outbreak began at the facility to 118. Sixty-one cases – 38 residents and 23 employees – remained active, while 52 had been resolved. The death toll from the residence outbreak remained at five.

Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said more testing had been conducted at the residence during the week. The long-term care facility was waiting on the results of 41 residents and 88 staff members.

Dr. Roumeliotis said the region would benefit from the stability of Ottawa’s numbers. That city’s medical officials suggested the spread of the virus could be slowing earlier this week, which would create less risk for other parts of eastern Ontario.

“That’s good news for us, because there’s a bit of a spillover to us,” he said. “The numbers in Hawkesbury are driven by the long-term care home… and we know that a lot of these cases [in western Prescott-Russell] are related to Ottawa, whether contacts or those working in Ottawa.”

The EOHU area’s seven day average of infection rates had fallen in recent days following a spike in new cases at the Prescott and Russell Residence last week. A Section 22 order enforcing capacity restrictions at restaurants and gyms would remain in effect until just before midnight on November 22.

Three other outbreaks – at The Palace Retirement Home in Alexandria, St-Joseph's Continuing Care Centre in Cornwall, and Lancaster Long Term Care – were ongoing. An outbreak at Sandfield Place Retirement Home was declared over on Wednesday. Seven patients across the region were in hospital, with two in intensive care.

While the bulk of cases in the region had been reported in Prescott-Russell, Dr. Roumeliotis said he was reluctant to create specific rules for different areas within his jurisdiction. He said he had spoken to colleagues after a similar approach had been tried.

“Theoretically, we can, but it’d be very difficult to manage, aside from the stigmatizing as well,” he said. “I don’t want to go that way, and the consensus with my colleagues was that they weren’t really keen on that either.”

Twenty-three cases were active in 15 EOHU schools, though none constituted an outbreak. Within Prescott-Russell, the cases in each municipality included:

  • 72 in Hawkesbury;
  • 22 in Clarence-Rockland;
  • 13 in Alfred and Plantagenet;
  • 9 in Russell;
  • 8 in Champlain;
  • 3 in The Nation;
  • 1 in Casselman, and;
  • 1 in East Hawkesbury.

The next local briefing from Dr. Roumeliotis is due on Friday.