Nation Valley News
EASTERN ONTARIO — As of the end of yesterday, the region had recorded 77 new cases of COVID-19 since the previous media briefing conducted by Eastern Ontario Medical Officer of Health Dr Paul Roumeliotis earlier in the week. This brings the cumulative cases to 1,805, with 565 of those still active. Fifty-one cases have been added in the last two days — 17 in Prescott-Russell, 10 in SD&G, and 14 in Cornwall. Fifteen are hospitalized and three are in the ICU at Cornwall.
Roumeliotis pointed out Cornwall and Akwesasne as the areas with the most significant increase. He went on to say that Ontario as a whole has seen a “massive increase” in cases since yesterday, with a record-breaking 4,249 new cases reported in the province just today.
“The good news is that we have a vaccine literally in our hands. The bad news is that our numbers are going up,” the doctor observed during his Jan. 8 media briefing.
In Eastern Ontario, there are 15 outbreaks in total. Three new outbreaks in congregate living settings were reported in the last three days—Villa St-Albert, Heritage Heights, and Foyer St-Viateur Nursing Home. Outbreaks in congregate living settings are continuing in Russell Meadows Retirement Home, St-Joseph’s Continuing Care Centre, Woodland Villa, Glen Stor Dun Lodge, Lancaster Long Term Care, Chateau Glengarry Alexandria, Maxville Manor, Sandfield Place LTC & Retirement Home, Community Living-Dundas, Residence Prescott Russel, and Tsiionkwanonhso:te Long Term Care Home.
The only outbreak in a congregate living setting to be declared over this week was in Cornwall Community Hospital’s critical care unit. However, there is still an outbreak in the hospital’s inpatient mental health unit. As for outbreaks in schools, the EOHU reports there is only one ongoing at École secondaire catholique L’Escale.
Roumeliotis gave an update about the delivery of the 1,150 Pfizer doses in Eastern Ontario, which he expects to arrive on Tuesday. Assuming that happens, Roumeliotis said that EMS from Prescott-Russell and SD&G will be deployed to long-term care homes the following day, where residents, staff, and essential visitors will receive their first dose. Following that, vaccines will go to health care workers and first nations.
In response to concerns about the dwindling supply of Pfizer vaccines, Roumeliotis expressed that he is not worried about his jurisdiction, as Eastern Ontario has been allocated a supply of vaccines to the end of January.
When asked whether people from Quebec seeking a booster shot might be able to acquire their second inoculation by crossing the border in his jurisdiction, Roumeliotis responded with an unequivocal no. He said that in order to receive a vaccine, a person seeking to be vaccinated must live, work, or study in Ontario and have their OHIP card ready. The Quebec government has controversially announced that its residents will only receive one dose of vaccine despite the manufacturers’ recommendation for two.
And though he has voiced public support for such a measure, the doctor told NVN that he doesn’t want to use his Section 22 authority to stop the sale of non-essential items at big-box retailers like Walmart. Roumeliotis wants the provincial government to impose such restriction — mirroring the Quebec policy. However, Premier Doug Ford last month said he wouldn’t impose such a rule on big Ontario retailers.
Going forward, updates from Dr Paul Roumeliotis will take place on Mondays and Thursdays.