Region’s COVID-19 case was low risk to SLC students: Roumeliotis

A student walks up the road from the St. Lawrence College campus in Cornwall, Ont. on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – The region’s medical officer of health says the area’s first positive case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was “not posing much of a threat” to fellow students at St. Lawrence College prior to a positive diagnosis on Saturday.

Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, in an effort to address “social media rumours,” outlined the chronology of the movements of the woman in her 30s from Prescott-Russell, who has been identified as a nursing student at SLC.

The woman had returned from a trip to New York City and had only attended one class on March 10 (Tuesday) and then was part of a group meeting with three other people. At the time, the woman only complaining of being “tired.”

The health unit, through its contact tracing, has identified “four potential contacts” who are now in isolation as a precaution.

The woman’s symptoms showed up on March 11 (Wednesday), with coughing and pain, and she went to Glengarry Memorial Hospital on March 12 (Thursday). The hospital tested her and sent her home under self-isolation.

The COVID-19 test came back positive on the afternoon March 14 (Saturday) and Roumeliotis says the Ontario Ministry of Health released the information at 5:30 p.m. on March 14 before the health unit had a chance to issue its own news release.

St. Lawrence College announced today (March 15) that it was closing the entire campus. Roumeliotis says they “do support (this) as part of the social distancing collective” but he doesn’t think the college as a whole was at risk.

Roumeliotis says it’s important to know that “more than 85 per cent of the cases (in Ontario) are mild” and that “most people have mild symptoms” that have “gone away on their own.”

He’s “satisfied people have gotten the message” about self isolation.

Since the pandemic, there have been 55-60 COVID-19 tests performed at the region’s four hospitals (Winchester, Cornwall, Alexandria, Hawkesbury). One of those — this case of the SLC nursing student from Prescott-Russell — came back positive.

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