CORNWALL, Ontario – Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health with the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) had a grim update for the media on Monday, March 29 as the region saw a sharp spike in COVID-19 cases over the weekend.
“I fell off my chair when I saw it,” Dr. Roumeliotis said. “We’re not even close to the red line. We are way over it.”
The EOHU added 84 new cases over the weekend, pushing the EOHU’s seven day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases to 86.5. The EOHU was moved by the province into the Red Zone of the provincial COVID-19 response plan on Monday. Any health unit region with a seven day rolling average above 40 is in the Red Zone, but regions that are far above the Red Zone can be put into the full lockdown Grey Zone.
“We’re having a hard time with our staff keeping up with all of the contact tracing,” said Roumeliotis
Dr. Roumeliotis warned that two-thirds of the new cases were Variants of Concern (VoC)s which are mutated versions of the COVID-19 virus. Roumeliotis explained that the VoCs appear to be more contagious and causing more severe symptoms.
Over 40 per cent of new COVID-19 cases have been caused by spread within the community, with half of those cases resulting from COVID-19 spreading in the workplace.
For vaccines, the EOHU has distributed 22,333 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, and Dr. Roumeliotis stated that all available vaccine appointment dates have been filled, but hoped to be able to open more dates for vaccinations soon and extend the eligibility for vaccines to those 70 and over. Several other health units across the province began accepting vaccination appointments for those aged 70 and older this week.
Current COVID-19 case numbers break down as follows according to municipality: 91 in Cornwall, six in the northern portion of Akwesasne, 21 in South Glengarry, 26 in South Stormont, 24 in South Dundas, 33 in North Dundas, five in North Stormont, 10 in North Glengarry, 12 in East Hawkesbury, 26 in Hawkesbury, 10 in Champlain, one in The Nation, nine in Casselman, 31 in Russell, 20 in Clarence-Rockland and seven in Alfred & Plantagenet.
There are currently 32 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19, with three of those in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU). There have been 73 deaths from COVID-19 in the region since March 2020.
There are eight long-term care facilities in the EOHU region that are currently experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak, one daycare, and one school.