Recent Cornwall coronavirus cases linked to clusters, outbreaks

(Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – The region’s medical officer of health says recent COVID-19 cases in Cornwall are mostly related to previous cases.

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit region added six cases Friday – four in Prescott-Russell and two more in Cornwall – bringing the regional total to 607, of which 193 are active and 395 are resolved. The breakdown is:

  • Prescott-Russell 431 cases (132 active)
  • SD&G 105 cases (31 active)
  • Cornwall 71 cases (30 active)

There have been 19 deaths but, sadly, a “few other deaths will be added” Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said Friday in his update to reporters, related to the outbreak at Residence Prescott-Russell in Hawkesbury.

As for Cornwall’s cases – 71 with 30 active – Roumeliotis says they are “related to clusters and outbreaks” – a traceable link – “it’s better than not having one (a link),” he said.

Since it’s traceable and not general community spread, there’s less need to impose restrictions. Provincial data shared by Roumeliotis shows 4.5 per cent of cases in Eastern Ontario have no epidemiological link compared to places like Ottawa where the number is closer to 49 per cent.

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has been tracking the spread of the virus through a seven day weekly average of cases per 100,000 people. The scale is 0-5 for low transmission, 5-25 is moderate and anything above 25 is considered high.

After being near zero until the end of September, the transmission rate has been steadily creeping up and reached 44 per 100,000 last week “which we never had before,” Roumeliotis said.

He says it has to be taken in context that these are due to clusters and outbreaks, such as the one at the Marie Tanguay daycare, “but it shows us there’s a high level of growth” in Cornwall, he said.

As for the Section 22 restrictions, Roumeliotis told Cornwall Newswatch he will “reevaluate the situation” on a weekly basis. The order, which started Monday, is in effect for 28 days or two viral incubation periods.

Nursing home and school outbreaks

  • Roumeliotis says the situation is going “well” at the Kane House at St. Joseph’s Continuing Care Center in Cornwall where one resident, who is in hospital, tested positive. The outbreak declaration will be lifted “soon.”
  • There are now nine deaths at Residence Prescott-Russell in Hawkesbury. After doing another round of test, Roumeliotis says they found more cases. There have been 81 positive residents, 27 are still active and 45 have been resolved. Fifty-three staff are positive and 26 are resolved. Around 20 staff are finishing their quarantine and should be back at the facility soon, which is dealing with a staffing shortage.
  • The Palace Retirement Home in Alexandria will have another round of testing next week. There have been 11 residents and one staff member infection with one death.
  • Lancaster Long Term Care has two staff who are positive and Roumeliotis says there are “no major issues” with the outbreak. The health unit will be doing a site visit next week.
  • There are a total of five cases – three students and two staff – at CRFE at Marie Tanguay school in Cornwall. The outbreak was declared on Oct. 24.
  • There are six active COVID-19 cases in schools in the region. There are no active outbreaks at schools.
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