The region recorded 33 new COVID cases over the weekend, while provincial officials will visit Eastern Ontario businesses later this week to provide training on workplace safety.
The region recorded 33 new COVID cases over the weekend, while provincial officials will visit Eastern Ontario businesses later this week to provide training on workplace safety.

Eastern Ontario COVID cases continue to rise

Stephen Jeffery
EAP
Eastern Ontario recorded 33 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend, more than double the number of new cases reported during the previous weekend

An additional six cases were added on Tuesday. Seventeen of the 39 new cases were reported in Prescott-Russell, concentrated in the western municipalities closer to Ottawa. The region remains in the yellow “protect” category, the second least restrictive zone in Ontario’s colour-coded framework.

Despite the increase, November had far fewer new cases than October in the region. Data updated on November 30 showed 217 new cases for the month in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) area, compared to 341 in October. The seven day rolling average had increased slightly to 19.9 cases per 100,000 people.

EOHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said the area remained well and truly within the yellow zone’s parameters, but the case average had increased. “We’re teetering on that [orange zone] area, but I take a bit of comfort in the fact that most of these cases are in a related cluster,” he said.

Outbreaks

The Prescott and Russell Residence outbreak remained active over the weekend, but no new cases were recorded. As of Tuesday, 81 of the 109 resident cases had been resolved at the Hawkesbury long-term care home, as well as 64 of the 67 staff cases. Red Cross staff continued to provide assistance at the residence as the outbreak continued.

A smaller outbreak at the Russell Meadows Retirement Home in Russell was declared over on Sunday after no new positive cases were found from testing.

Workplace campaign

Provincial officials will visit workplaces across the EOHU area later this week to conduct assessments on COVID-19 health and safety requirements. The officers will provide businesses with assessments and guidance on how to operate safely, as well as comply with public health requirements, between Thursday and Saturday,

Dr. Roumeliotis said the campaign was focused on education, but officers would use “enforcement discretion” if they found significant non-compliance with the regulations. He said the EOHU had not specifically requested that the officials come to the region, but that the area had been on a roster of locations the multi-ministry teams would be attending.

“EOHU public health staff, in collaboration with local enforcement partners, having been working diligently with businesses in our region to help ensure they can operate safely and protect their workers and customers,” he said. “We know that many businesses have made enormous efforts, but some still need assistance. We’re pleased that the provincial campaign coming in early December will provide added support.”

The region

Of the 123 active cases reported across the EOHU on Tuesday afternoon, 65 were in Prescott-Russell communities, including 21 in Hawkesbury; 12 in Casselman; 10 in Russell; 8 in The Nation; 7 in Champlain; 7 in Clarence-Rockland, and; 0 in Alfred-Plantagenet and East Hawkesbury.