‘I’ve said it time and time again, we’ve got cases in Cornwall’

(Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – For every person from the City of Cornwall and elsewhere in the region who gets a COVID-19 test, there are roughly two presumptive cases that go without testing.

That’s why local Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis has repeatedly said people shouldn’t be complacent about the virus, like those hung up on exactly where the positive cases are located.

Roumeliotis suggests it shouldn’t matter at this point because the virus is everywhere.

For every COVID-19 test the health unit does, there are probably two other cases with people showing COVID-like symptoms who are not tested, either because they don’t meet a travel or medical history benchmark or their illness isn’t that serious. Instead, they are ordered to self-isolate for 14 days, which will become a legal order as of 11:59 p.m. tonight (Saturday).

As an example, in the first day the Hawkesbury testing center was open, there were 70 people who felt ill enough to seek out a test. A little more than half actually got one.

“I’ve said it time and time again, we’ve got cases in Cornwall. We’ve got cases in Cornwall. We’ve got cases all over SD&G. We’ve got cases all over Prescott-Russell. Whether it’s in Cornwall, whether it’s in Winchester, whether it’s in Summerstown, to me it’s the same thing. For every case that we’ve tested, there maybe a couple that we haven’t tested yet,” Roumeliotis told Cornwall Newswatch Friday.

“Hopefully the message will get across,” he added, inferring that there are symptomatic cases in the City of Cornwall of people ordered to self-isolate who haven’t been tested, are most likely infectious, and don’t show up in the positive case history.

At one point before changing its reporting regime, the health unit revealed one of the cases was a Cornwall man in his 30s who contracted the virus through close contact with another infected person.

The doctor added that he has been talking to Cornwall Mayor Bernadette Clement and they will look at more outreach in the city to get the point across.

The EOHU says the risk to people in the region is considered high.

There were another three positive cases of coronavirus confirmed Saturday afternoon.

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit says there are now 34 confirmed cases in the EOHU region, which includes the City of Cornwall, the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry and the United Counties of Prescott-Russell.