CORNWALL, Ontario – In a press conference on Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU)’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis stated that his organization would be taking a different approach to monitoring the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Due to the transmissibility of the Omicron variant, Dr. Roumeliotis explained, the provice had issued new directives in regards to COVID-19 testing. Individuals with COVID-19 symptoms will now only be tested if they are deemed to be a part of an high-risk population, such as someone who is a senior, or is immuno-compromised. Also, individuals who work in high-risk settings such as hospitals or long-term care facilities will also still be tested.
“Cases are not going to be accurate anymore because we won’t be tracking them,” Dr. Roumeliotis explained.
Anyone who is not a high-risk individual or who does not work in a high-risk setting will no longer be tested for COVID-19 if they have symptoms. Individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19 are being asked to self-isolate for five days if they are fully vaccinated or under the age of 12. Individuals who are not vaccinated and have symptoms of COVID-19 must isolate for 10 days. Family members or other members of the household must also self-isolate.
“We’re going to stop our daily case counts. We’re going to focus on outbreaks and vulnerable, and high risk settings. That’s very important for us and that’s going to be the gauge for us to decide whether or not to add or remove restrictions,” said Dr. Roumeliotis.
The EOHU also will no longer conduct contact tracing for individuals who may have been exposed in a low-risk setting or are they themselves at a low-risk for serious illness.
For Dec. 31, the last day new cases were tracked and reported by the EOHU, there were 245 new COVID-19 cases added to the region for a total of 1,588.
There were 506 cases in Cornwall, 12 in the northern portion of Akwesasne, 98 in South Glengarry, 142 in South Stormont, 41 in South Dundas, 59 in North Glengarry, 50 in North Stormont, 71 in North Dundas, 117 in Russell, 17 in Casselman, 44 in The Nation, 85 in Champlain, 123 in Hawkesbury, 19 in East Hawkesbury, 132 in Clarence-Rockland, and 66 in Alfred and Plantagenet.