COVID-19 cases spike 15 in EOHU area

(Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – The Eastern Ontario Health Unit area experienced a surge of 15 cases of COVID-19 over the weekend.

There were 13 in Prescott-Russell, one in SD&G and one in the City of Cornwall.

The Prescott-Russell cases include a staff member who tested positive at an Embrun elementary school. The class has been cancelled and students have been sent home. Another is a high school student in Rockland.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis says the “trends are worrisome” but he’s not prepared to call it a second wave like his counterpart in Ottawa, Dr. Vera Etches, declared last week.

Like the recent trend across Ontario, Roumeliotis says almost all of the latest infections in the EOHU area are people younger than 40 and each one of them has “multiple contacts” which contact tracing nurses are still trying to reach.

As for the one hospitalized case from our region – a 92-year-old – the doctor says that person is “stable.”

Roumeliotis also accused some local media for “inciting complacency, which is not right” by suggesting that Cornwall wasn’t Ottawa when it came to reducing the size of private gatherings. The doctor says, unlike the flu, novel coronavirus can lead to strokes and heart attacks and long term health complications.

“I don’t want to scare people but on the other hand we can’t just say, oh it’s not happening in our area. We’re an hour from Ottawa, we’re not Ottawa. If this thing came from China to Canada and the rest of the world, it can travel from Cornwall to Ottawa and vice versa,” Roumeliotis said.

The area now has 41 active cases: 25 in Prescott-Russell, 13 in SD&G and three in the City of Cornwall.