CORNWALL – September is now the worst month for COVID-19 infection in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit region.
As of September 28th, 63 cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed said Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, medical officer of health for the EOHU. This surpasses the highest number of infections from the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, which was 56 infections in March.
This weekend another 10 new cases were added to the regional tally, increasing the overall infection count to 263 since the pandemic began in late February.
There are currently 55 active cases of COVID-19 in the region including three cases in South Dundas and two cases in South Stormont. South Glengarry has become a hot spot of activity with 12 active cases. There are two active cases in North Glengarry, and three in Cornwall.
As of the Monday update, there is only one outbreak in a school, a class at École élémentaire catholique Embrun, which has resulted in that class being closed as of September 21st. The health unit will declare an outbreak in a school when there are two people who have tested positive for COVID-19 at the same school. If the outbreak relates to one class, only that class would be closed and the students asked to isolate and be tested. A school would only be closed if an outbreak relates to multiple people in multiple classrooms.
Although not in the EOHU region, local school boards, the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario and the Upper Canada District School Board, both have schools closed due to positive COVID-19 tests. They are Holy Cross Elementary in Kemptville and Chimo Elementary in Smiths Falls.
Roumeliotis explained that in the event of an outbreak in a school, the EOHU has the capability to set up a pop-up testing centre for the affected school. Testing can also be done by paramedics with the Cornwall and SDG Paramedic Service, and Prescott-Russell Paramedic Service, if needed. Both services have worked with the EOHU to conduct testing in long-term care homes as well.
The health unit has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at the Residence L’Erabliere in Limoges. It is the 12th outbreak in a long-term care home or group home since February.
According to Roumeliotis, the majority of the COVID-19 infections in September are in people under age 40.
Roumeliotis said that while September’s tally is the highest so far, that is with much more testing being done in the region.
Nearly 57,000 tests have been administered by the health unit, but that number is not just residents of the region. Testing centres operated by most of the EOHU partner agencies, like the Winchester District Memorial Hospital, test anyone regardless of what part of Ontario they are from.
The EOHU opened a new drive-thru testing centre last week in Limoges, located in the parking lot of Calypso Water Park.
Provincially, Ontario reported a daily record high of 700 new cases on September 28th and 41,100 tests completed. Toronto (344), Peel Region (104), Ottawa (89) and York Region (54), made up the bulk of the new cases.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said that 60 per cent of the cases reported were people under the age of 40.