Second wave’s death toll hits two in E. Ontario Health Unit region

Eastern Ontario Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis during a Zoom media update.

Alexandria retirement home resident dies

EASTERN ONTARIO — A second death in a congregant living environment was recorded yesterday — at The Palace Retirement Community in Alexandria — Eastern Ontario Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis reported yesterday.

A death was recorded earlier in the month at the Prescott and Russell Residence.

The new fatality brings the second wave’s toll to two individuals who have succumbed to the COVID-19 virus at congregant living environments in the region — even as Eastern Ontario’s new infection numbers have eased slightly this week. Twelve individuals died during the virus’s first wave in the spring, at a nursing home in Plantagenet.

“Unfortunately, we’ve added a couple more deaths,” said Dr. Roumeliotis, highlighting the involved locations. “It’s tragic. Our hearts go out to the families who lost loved ones.”

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) region as of yesterday had reached 150 active cases, up by 10 over the previous day — six in Prescott and Russell and four within Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. All but two were in the broader community and not long-term care facilities, the doctor pointed out.

Five people remained hospitalized with the virus — one in Alexandria and four in Cornwall. Another individual is in ICU, and while listed as a COVID-19 patient, their need for ICU-level care is not related to their infection with the virus.

Growth in cases this week has dipped below last week’s “weekly rolling average” peak of 85 — which put the region at 41.3 new weekly cases per 100,000 population, significantly above the “high-level” threshold of 25.

But this week’s new numbers have eased to a weekly rolling average of 47 new cases, dropping the area slightly below that 25 per 100,000 marker and back into moderate-level standing. And that fact has Dr. Roumeliotis eschewing a full return to a modified Stage 2 in his jurisdiction at this point. Instead, the medical officer of health has come up with a few new restrictions on bars and restaurants — without closing them down.

The actual imposition of what he calls “modified Stage 3” rules will come from the provincial cabinet, and Roumeliotis expects Premier Doug Ford to announce those measures either today or tomorrow. The added rules will be in place for 28 days.

Dodging the full-out closures of “modified Stage 2” recently imposed by the province on neighbouring Ottawa has Eastern Ontario’s business community breathing a sigh of relief. However, Dr. Roumeliotis — who has expressed sympathy for entrepreneurs by highlighting his own experience as a recording industry “businessman” — says that continued vigilance is needed to prevent the area from falling back into modified Stage 2.

COVID-19 cases in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit Region, as of Oct. 22.

This article was edited to reflect only one death at the Prescott and Russell Residence. The original version mistakenly reported two deaths at that institution, and NVN apologizes for that error.

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