Fifty-two variant cases reported in Eastern Ontario; Roumeliotis recommends staying in Orange

EASTERN ONTARIO — In his twice-weekly media briefing on March 18th, Medical Officer Dr Paul Roumeliotis provided updates on the latest COVID-19 developments in the region, reporting that there have been 17 new cases of the virus since yesterday, March 17th. Seven were in Prescott-Russell, seven were in SD&G, and three were in Cornwall. There are now 21 people hospitalized with COVID-19 and three in the ICU.

There are eight outbreaks across the region, including The Palace Long Term Care, Chartwell McConnell, Baldwin House, Heartwood LTC, Maxville Manor, and the East Wing of Hawkesbury & District General Hospital. The outbreak at 111-bed long-term-care residence Woodland Villa was declared over yesterday.

Roumeliotis also confirmed that the variant cases have increased by 12 since his last briefing on March 15th. There are now 52 cases of COVID-19 variant, 51 of which are attributed to the UK strain with one case still pending results.

Despite the bump in cases, Roumeliotis recommended that Eastern Ontario remain in the Orange-Restrict zone, citing that the increase has mostly been caused by isolated outbreaks. However, there will be an official decision in the next few days as to where in the province’s COVID-19 Response Framework Eastern Ontario will fall going forward.

Efforts continue across the region to complete Phase 1 of the vaccination rollout. To date, all residents of long term care and retirement homes have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. The EOHU is now proceeding with the vaccinations of health care workers, essential caregivers, first responders, and adults receiving home care.

Almost 5,000 members of the 80+ category and 1,300 other individuals in Phase 1 have been booked for vaccinations. Roumeliotis also confirmed that there are 37 full-day clinics operating through to the first week of April, 14 of which are in Cornwall.

Individuals in Phase 1 of the vaccine distribution plan can continue to register for vaccination appointments via the provincial portal, or via the EOHU’s pre-registration form.

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