Eastern Ontario medical officer of health expresses support for incoming provincial lockdown

Natascha Wood
Nation Valley News

EASTERN ONTARIO — In his last media briefing before the Christmas 2020 lockdown, Eastern Ontario Medical Officer Dr Paul Roumeliotis reported an increase of 50 cases since Friday, December 18th. Ten of those cases were added only yesterday — eight in Prescott Russell, one in SD&G and one in Cornwall. These numbers would put the region at risk of crossing into the Red-Control zone if Eastern Ontario wasn’t already going into a 28-day lockdown on December 26th, according to the doctor.

There has, however, been a decrease in the number of outbreaks in congregate living settings, owed largely to the official end of the outbreaks at Residence Prescott-Russel and Parisien Manor. The remaining outbreaks are in The Palace Long Term Care, Heritage Heights, Champlain Long Term Care, Tsiionkwanonhso:te Long Term Care Home, Sunset Cove Retirement Home, Valoris Residence (211), Pinecrest Nursing Home, and Lancaster Long Term Care. Roumeliotis confirmed that all current outbreaks are stable.

In schools, there are currently 41 active cases across 26 schools. The outbreaks at Al Rashid Islamic Institute and École élémentaire Catholique La Source were declared over last week, leaving only one school outbreak in École élémentaire Catholique Saint-Isidore.

On the incoming provincial lockdown, Roumeliotis said favours the measure to prevent inter-provincial transmission from Quebec, where a lockdown is in place amid continuing daily increases of positive COVID-19 cases. He stressed that it is a safety precaution to keep numbers from skyrocketing.

Roumeliotis went on to talk about a sewage-monitoring pilot project in Ottawa, which has allowed authorities to monitor and test the city’s wastewater for COVID-19. The technique has proven useful in examining the levels of infection in the area. He said that, with new funding from the provincial government, monitoring and testing will soon begin in Eastern Ontario, possibly at sites in Rockland, Casselman, Hawkesbury, Cornwall and Morrisburg. He concluded the media briefing by wishing everyone happy holidays.

The lockdown of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit area — and the rest of Ontario — will commence at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, December 26, 2020.

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