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Dr. Paul Roumeliotis updates Cornwall council on quarantine

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By Nick Seebruch
Dr. Paul Roumeliotis updates Cornwall council on quarantine
Dr. Paul Roumeliotis of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit. Seaway News file photo.

CORNWALL, Ontario – In an update to City Council at their meeting on Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health with the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU), told councillors that the risk to the public from the Coronavirus quarantine at the Nav Centre is low.

While Dr. Roumeliotis said that he was surprised that he was not invited for a site inspection of the Nav Centre’s quarantine prior to it being announced on Saturday, Feb. 18, he did say that what was setup at the Nav Centre was ideal for a quarantine.

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Dr. Roumeliotis explained that the risk to the public and the employees at the Nav Centre was low and that at no time would the patients in the quarantine have access to either the public or anyone who works at Nav. According to Roumeliotis, the virus is not airborne and can only be passed through close contact with patients.

Furthermore, Roumeliotis explained that none of the 151 individuals in quarantine have tested positive for the Coronavirus.

Dr. Roumeliotis said that he was more concerned about was the common flu, and with the reaction of some members of the public to the virus, explaining that some schools had called his office to say students were being bullied because of their parents working at the Nav Centre.

“There is no way that someone working a thousand meters away from a quarantined zone can get that virus,” said Dr. Roumeliotis. “There is no increased risk to visitors at Nav Centre, or employees or the public in the surrounding area.”

Dr. Roumeliotis took a moment to comment that had cuts previously planned by the provincial government of Doug Ford gone through, his office would currently be preparing to close.

In 2019, the Progressive Conservatives floated the idea of cutting $200 million from local health units and cutting the number of public health units in the province from 35 to 10.

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“I don’t want to get political here, but if we hadn’t pushed back on the proposed cuts, we would be shutting down in a month,” Roumeliotis told Council.

Council thanked Dr. Roumeliotis for his update and also thanked Mayor Bernadette Clement, MP Eric Duncan, as well as Dr. Roumeliotis for their roll in keeping the public up to date about the developments at the Nav Centre.

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Jenni MacDonald, Dominion Lending, Cornwall, Ontario