Three COVID-19 cases identified in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, bringing region’s official total to 13

Dr. Paul Roumeliotis stands in front of a graph showing the undesired peak development of COVID-19 cases, versus the flattened-out effect officials hope to achieve, with cases developing over a longer, more manageable period of time. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

CORNWALL — Eastern Ontario Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis says the region’s COVID-19 count has officially risen to 13, with three new cases involving individuals somewhere within the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry — but that “a couple” others are about to be added to the list as well.

The three officially identified new cases are the first  in SD&G, as previous infections to date involved residents of Prescott-Russell.

“Most of them are travel related” and are now in self-isolation, the doctor said of the cases during today’s daily media briefing. The virus’s appearance in SD&G, he observed, comes despite “perhaps a complacency or a comfort level” that COVID-19 hadn’t struck here yet.

The additional “couple” of cases not yet formally registered with Ontario’s Ministry of Health — but which Dr. Roumeliotis revealed under media questioning today — “are all over Prescott and Russell and SD&G,” he said.

Listen to the Eastern Ontario Medical Officer of Health’s March 31 media briefing, below.

The doctor repeated that a rising number of infections was not unexpected, and that he assumes the area will see “20 or 30” new cases “very quickly” as testing results finally come in after a week-long wait in each case.

“At this point, I’m not really hung up on the [positive test] numbers,” he added.

He also revealed that his officials await test results to determine the cause of a respiratory outbreak at Glen-Stor-Dun Lodge. “We have not got any results back yet; we’re keeping a close eye on that,” Dr. Roumeliotis replied after a media question.

The doctor confirmed that Winchester’s planned COVID-19 assessment centre will open tomorrow (April 1), with Cornwall to follow, as well as a drive-up assessment site at the EOHU office location in Casselman.

He also said the EOHU will issue new physical distancing directives to those essential stores that remain open to the public. “It’s very important that it be respected while shopping. Customers need to be mindful of their shopping and check-out behaviours,” the doctor remarked, adding, “and I know stores are doing their due diligence.”

“We recognize people need groceries, but at the same time, we encourage people to go out of their home as little as possible, but in the meantime you should follow store policies.”

He reiterated the recommendation that individuals 70 or older stay at home, along with those suffering from compromised immune systems. And he took note of yesterday’s provincial directive mandating the closure of all recreational facilities and play structures, as well as today’s announcement keeping schools closed through May 4th.

 

 

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