CORNWALL, Ontario – Cornwall saw a jump in COVID-19 cases over the weekend, adding 25 in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) region since Friday, Oct. 2.
As of Monday, Oct. 5, there are 76 active COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of cases identifed in the area to 299 since the pandemic began.
“I looked at the number of cases this morning and it was quite surprising,” said Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health for the EOHU. “We are at 299 cases which means we’ve added 25 cases since Friday, which is quite a bit.”
Of the new cases, 22 were added in the United Counties of Prescott-Russell, mostly related to individuals who work in Ottawa or Quebec, with six individuals infected after attending a party.
“We have not seen any cases due to restaurants or hotels or gyms at this point,” said Dr. Roumeliotis. “The numbers have gone up markedly in September and October, we are almost double where we were in March,” he added.
Dr. Roumeliotis declined moving the EOHU region from Phase Three of the Ontario COVID-19 recovery plan to Phase Two, which happened in Ottawa, a hotspot location.
Roumeliotis explained that measures that remained in place like mandatory masking, and avoiding socialization outside of household contacts would be enough to manage the pandemic in the EOHU region for now.
Dr. Roumeliotis also recommended that those over the age of 70 not leave their household and avoid interacting with those out of their household whenever possible, especially individuals who have a compromised immune system or other factors that make them vulnerable to the disease.
“I think these measures are handling things locally. At this point we are keeping an eye on it,” he said. “The hospitals at this point are not over capacity.”
On Thursday, Oct. 1, the province of Ontario announced that all walk-in and drive-thru testing would be stopped and that COVID-19 testing would be by appointment only going forward.
One reason for this change was the fact that labs were becoming overwhelmed by the volume of tests, with results being delayed for up to 11 days.
Dr. Roumeliotis said that he was not concerned by this shift in focus.
“This will help us prioritize symptomatic individuals, only three to four per cent of individuals have been asymptomatic,” he said.
The breakdown of active cases in the EOHU region is as follows: three in South Dundas, one in North Stormont, six in Cornwall, 12 in South Glengarry, one in North Glengarry, one in Hawkesbury, four in Alfred & Plantagenet, eight in The Nation, one in Casselman, 16 in Clarence-Rockland, and 19 in Russell.
There are currently two individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 in the EOHU region. There have been 12 deaths related to COVID-19 and 211 people have recovered.