EOHU staff getting increased verbal abuse, medical officer complains; 71 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend

Natascha Wood
Nation Valley News

EASTERN ONTARIO — In his twice-weekly media briefing on March 22nd, Medical Officer Dr Paul Roumeliotis provided updates on the latest COVID-19 developments in the region, reporting that there have been 71 new cases of the virus since Friday, March 19th. 17 were in Prescott-Russell, 30 were in SD&G, and 24 were in Cornwall. This has been a significant increase over the weekend, as the 7-day average for all four regions in Eastern Ontario has crossed into the Red-Control zone. Additionally, there are almost twice as many patients hospitalized with COVID-19 than there was on Friday. Now there are 38 people hospitalized, and 6 in the ICU.

Outbreaks are continuing at Chartwell McConnell, Baldwin House, Heartwood LTC, Maxville Manor, and the East Wing of the Hawkesbury & District General Hospital. New outbreaks were reported over the weekend in Sandfield Place Retirement Home and Greenview Manor.

Roumeliotis went on to speak about difficulties facing EOHU staff as they do contact tracing. He reported that staff have experienced increased verbal abuse from the public, sometimes resulting in staff crying. The Doctor asks for civility and patience from people interacting with frontline workers.

“Be a bit more polite to our staff, please. They’re working hard, they’re working seven days a week.” Roumeliotis said. “I’m pleading with everybody. They’re just doing their job.”

For the time being, it’s all hands on deck for the EOHU. Staff regularly posted to different areas of the Health Unit will be reassigned to contact tracing, resulting in the pausing of several healthcare programs with the exception of vital programs like Health Babies Healthy Children. Roumeliotis says this is necessary to continue the vaccination rollout, as vaccinators had to be put on contact tracing with the influx of cases this weekend.

Roumeliotis anticipates Eastern Ontario going into Red-Control zone next week if the number of new cases continues to increase.


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