Mayor and council taking surge seriously

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By Nick Seebruch
Mayor and council taking surge seriously
Cornwall Mayor Bernadette Clement addressing the audience at the Nav Centre, during a COVID-19 briefing in February of 2020 Nick Seebruch/ Seaway News).

CORNWALL, Ontario – In an interview with Seaway News Cornwall Mayor Bernadette Clement said that she and Cornwall City Council were eager to help the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) in any way they could during the current surge of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region.

“We’ve reached out to Dr. Paul to say that we want to receive requests for assistance,” Mayor Clement said.

Dr. Paul Roumeliotis is the Medical Officer of Health with the EOHU. In a recent virtual meeting with Dr. Paul, which was attended by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Mayor Clement told the PM that the City has been supporting the Health Unit in anyway that they can.

This statement from the Mayor comes as the seven-day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases in the EOHU remains above 120 cases. According to the province, anything above a rolling seven-day average of 40 cases is considered to be in the red zone.

If there were currently not a province-wide shutdown, the EOHU would still be in a shutdown based on its rolling seven-day case average alone.

On Jan. 7, the Cornwall Community Hospital (CCH) issued a statement declaring that their resources were feeling the strain of the pandemic. According to sources that spoke with Seaway News the CCH as of Jan. 7 had two individuals in their Critical Care Unit (CCU) as well as seven other patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

READ MORE: CCH feeling the strain of COVID-19

At time of writing, there are 180 active COVID-19 cases in the City of Cornwall. In response to this surge, Mayor Clement announced that Council’s meeting on Monday, Jan. 11 would be in a virtual format only, with no members of Council meeting in person for that meeting.

Mayor Clement will also be convening a meeting on Monday with Frank Prevost, Warden of the United Counties of SD&G and Grand Chief Abram Benedict of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne.

“We’re back in an acute phase of the pandemic, and we have to go back to speaking with each other more often,” Clement said.

Mayor Clement has also called on the EOHU to release more information about contact tracing and the nature of cases in the region.

Specifically she wants the public to know if there is transmission in workplaces, and if so, what type of workplaces are experiencing viral transmission; are there any risky activities that increase the chance of viral transmission?

“We’ve been getting increasing calls from people who want to understand more fully how the virus is being transmitted in our community,” said Clement.

The EOHU region itself is preparing for the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, with doses of the Pfizer-BionTech vaccine expected to arrive next week.

Clement said that the vaccine will first be distributed in long-term care facilities to staff and residents.

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