Medical officer of health believes Nav Center suitable site for quarantine: mayor

Cornwall Mayor Bernadette Clement speaks to the public in a Facebook video on Monday, Feb. 17, 2020 following a briefing with government officials about Nav Center as a COVID-19 quarantine site. (Bernadette Clement/Facebook via Newswatch Group)

Update 1:55 p.m. Monday: “Absolute failure”: MP on fed’s COVID-19 Nav Center communications plan
Update 2:15 p.m. Monday: Nav Center quarantine site isolated, self-contained: EOHU

CORNWALL – The region’s top doctor is confident the Nav Center can handle a 14-day quarantine for Canadians evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the coast of Japan.

That’s according to Cornwall Mayor Bernadette Clement who met with local Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis and other federal and provincial government officials Sunday.

“He (Roumeliotis) has been reassured that the Nav Center can provide appropriate infection control as well as proper isolation,” Clement said in a Facebook video early Monday morning.

She and Roumeliotis were in a briefing session at the Montreal Road conference center on Sunday afternoon after Roumeliotis did a facility tour. “We talked there about location, the logistics of the Nav Center. I brought forward my concerns, your concerns about the location. There were lots of questions about the ventilation system, about how this could work as isolation location.”

News releases from the Eastern Ontario Health Unit and the City of Cornwall are expected within the next day and the mayor hopes to have a news conference.

Roughly 200 people are being flown out of Japan to CFB Trenton. They are being tested for symptoms before boarding the plane in Japan. If they have COVID-19 symptoms they won’t be allowed to board. They are tested again at CFB Trenton before they will be allowed to be moved to Cornwall. Anyone with symptoms will be kept in Trenton for treatment, the mayor explained.

Clement again expressed her frustration at how the entire situation has played out and the lack of information flowing from the feds.

“I can tell you that if I controlled the situation completely, this is not necessarily how I would have wanted things to happen. I would have preferred having more notice, more say in this matter,” the mayor said.

Clement says it’s her belief that there is an agreement between the Nav Center and the federal government and “legislation allows the federal government to designate a location as a quarantine location.”

The mayor says she also talked to Nav Center employees, who have exhibited “fears and concerns about what is going on.”

“We deserve and expect better from the federal government,” she said.

Meantime, another 99 people aboard the docked Diamond Princess have tested positive for coronavirus. There were 255 Canadians on board – 15 have tested positive and have been taken to Japanese hospitals for treatment.

Two planes flew 340 U.S. passengers out of Japan Sunday night, 14 of which have now tested positive for COVID-19.

Listen to Mayor Bernadette Clement’s statement in full below.

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