EASTERN ONTARIO — Dr. Paul Roumeliotis delivered the latest on the local COVID-19 situation in his Nov. 27, 2020, media briefing (above), including the status of outbreaks at the Prescott and Russell Residence as well as a school in Casselman — École élémentaire catholique de Casselman : Pavillon Sainte-Euphémie.
Dr. Roumeliotis closed the Casselman elementary school earlier late last week after a staff member — not a teacher — tested positive. The individual was in the workplace with symptoms and had entered a number of classrooms at the school, according to the doctor.
One case is not enough to formally declare an outbreak in a school — it requires at least two epidemiologically linked cases — but Eastern Ontario’s Medical Officer of Health still shut the place out of an abundance of caution. As of the end of this week, however, the school has reached outbreak status with six students having tested positive.
Below, Dr. Roumeliotis updates the media Nov. 23, 2020, revealing an infected staff member with symptoms had been working at the Casselman school.
The Casselman situation prompted Roumeliotis to emphasize the importance of people with symptoms staying away from their workplace as well as the need for employers to screen employees for symptoms upon arrival at their jobs.
“We’ve been repeating that over and over again, and that’s something that is a message out there … because we’ve had to close a school because of that,” said the doctor Nov. 23 in response to a question from NVN, noting the school isn’t the only workplace where spread has occurred after a sick employee with symptoms showed up to work. “They should not go to work because they could potentially infect people.”
In total, the region has nine active cases in five schools, although the Casselman school is the only one meeting the definition of an outbreak and closed as a result.
14 deaths at Prescott and Russell Residence
The doctor also reported this week that the COVID-19 death toll at Prescott and Russell Residence has reached 14. As of Friday, 109 residents have tested positive since the start of the outbreak at the Hawkesbury institution, with 78 now resolved. Sixty-seven staff have tested positive, 64 of them now resolved. The Red Cross has been helping out with operations at the Residence after so many staff were sidelined in quarantine.
Outbreaks at the Russell Meadows Retirement Home and Woodland Villa are now both “very close to being declared over, nothing new has happened in those,” the doctor reported. A congregant living setting requires only one case to be considered an outbreak.
The EOHU region currently has 90 active cases, well down from 200-plus in the first week of November. Eight-hundred and thirty-five locals have been infected since the start of the pandemic, as confirmed through testing.