CORNWALL, Ontario – In a statement to media, Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health with the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) said he agreed with the province’s decision to keep students in the region out of the classroom for the time being.
On Wednesday, Jan. 20, the Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce announced that the EOHU was one of the health unit regions where students would continue with at-home learning, while students in other parts of the province prepare to return to the classroom.
“Local data such as the positivity rate (percentage of tests in our area that are positive), the rolling weekly rate of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population, the high number of outbreaks, and the increase in COVID-related hospitalizations indicate that there is still a high level of community transmission across the EOHU territory, effectively putting the all areas of the EOHU region in the high-red or grey zone according to the government’s COVID-19 Response Framework,” Dr. Roumeliotis explained.
“Furthermore, as of last week, the EOHU region was among the top 10 health unit regions in the province with the highest transmission rates. For these reasons, I support the government’s decision to continue remote learning for students in our region, until the COVID-19 data shows that new cases have decreased enough that it is safe to resume in-person classes,” Dr. Roumeliotis added.
Dr. Roumeliotis said that there was good news and positive changes on the horizon.
“In recent days, there are signs that the provincial shutdown and stay-at-home restrictions are having a positive impact on new COVID-19 cases in the EOHU region,” Dr. Roumeliotis wrote in his statement. “While there is still a high rate of community transmission in our area, we are starting to see a downward trend in new cases. If this trend continues, we can look forward to returning to in-person learning in the near future.”
“However, to ensure that we keep moving in the right direction, we need to continue working together and following public health measures to reduce the number of new cases of COVID-19 in our community. This includes staying at home as much as possible, wearing a mask and keeping a 2-metre distance from others when you must go into the community, and continuing with remote learning for the time being,” Dr. Roumeliotis concluded.