COVID-19 cases in Cornwall, SD&G, Prescott-Russell will be broken down to municipality

The regional map from the Eastern Ontario Health Unit website shows 187 confirmed positive cases on Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. The region added three cases over the weekend. Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis says cases will be broken down to municipality now that there's been confirmed cases in every municipality on the EOHU area. (EOHU via Newswatch Group)

CORNWALL – The region’s medical officer of health says positive COVID-19 cases will be broken down in Cornwall, SD&G and Prescott-Russell to individual municipality soon.

Dr. Paul Roumeliotis revealed the reporting change Monday as SD&G Coun. Kirsten Gardner (South Dundas) asked him about having the municipal numbers, especially with children heading back to school next month.

“In speaking with parents, they’ve wondered if you would reconsider how you release the statistical breakdown, only because with the kids going back to school, say, there was an outbreak in South Dundas, having a breakdown would be probably be beneficial to parents as they make the decision about their children attending school,” Gardner said.

Roumeliotis answered that he is “very transparent” but worried giving specific information early on in the pandemic would lead to “false impressions.” He added that outbreaks are already revealed by specific location.

The doctor says they will be changing the reporting now that “we have had enough” positive cases, which have now shown up in “every municipality” in the five eastern counties.

“The reason I hesitated…some municipalities didn’t have any cases up until a month-and-a-half ago and I didn’t want those municipalities to say ‘Oh, we’re good.’ I want to balance that,” Roumeliotis said.

“It’s a double-edged sword. I want to be able to inform the people where the cases are. At the same time I just don’t want to be complacent.”

For privacy reasons, if there are fewer than five cases in any one municipality, it will be reported as “less than five cases.”

The health unit is in the process of redesigning its online map to handle the reporting change.

The region added three new COVID-19 cases Monday – one each in Cornwall, SD&G and Prescott-Russell – to bring the total confirmed positive cases to 187.

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