EASTERN ONTARIO — The region is certain to become an ‘Orange-Restrict’ zone, effective next week Monday, Eastern Ontario Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis reported in his bi-weekly media update this evening (watch above).
The predicted move comes as numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the region have risen significantly over the past few days. There have been nine since yesterday; seven of which are in Prescott-Russell, two are in SDG. In total, there are now 221 active cases and seven active outbreaks. Roumeliotis also anticipates more cases being added tomorrow from another local school outbreak.
Two schools are in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak — the Al Rashid Islamic Institute and École élémentaire Catholique Saint-Isidore. Three long-term care and retirement homes in Cornwall have also reported outbreaks—Parisien Manor, Royal Manor Rest Home, St-Joseph’s Continuing Care Centre, and Prescott and Russell Residence.
Testing is continuing at the Prescott-Russell residence, though the situation there seems to be stable. The newly reported fatality at the residence is, however, not a recent death, but a death that occurred some time ago and has only just been linked to COVID-19.
Roumeliotis expects the cumulative amount of cases for Eastern Ontario to reach “way over” 1000 in the coming days. Consequently, with the increase in infections, the region will be going into the Orange Zone next week. An official announcement is expected to come on Friday, December 11th.
“We’re close to one hundred per cent going to Orange,” Roumeliotis said. “It’ll probably last a week or two, if it goes in the right direction.”
Regarding the expected arrival and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, Roumeliotis said the first delivery could come as early as next week, as soon as it is approved by Health Canada.
“Things have been moving quite rapidly over the last few days. The government has announced that, as soon as the vaccine is approved, the Phizer one initially, we will be getting the vaccine supply in Canada and distributed to Ontario,” said the doctor, responding to a Standard-Freeholder question. “We’re still in a waiting pattern. We are preparing ourselves to roll-out the vaccine based on the priority populations. Our plans really are to prioritize the long term care and retirement homes.”
“As soon as we vaccinate the priority population, which may be done before the end of this year, depending on when we get the vaccine supply, we will then be getting trickling supplies of Moderna, and so on, where we will then start offering clinics within the community to age-groups.”