Move to Orange-Restrict for EOHU region next week

(Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – Restrictions are expected to be tightened for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit area next week as the number of COVID-19 cases swell across the region.

Speaking with reporters Tuesday, local Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis says the numbers have been increasing “substantially.” Most of the cases are close contacts with other positive cases at work or at home and outbreaks at long-term care homes.

The region added nine cases Tuesday to bring the total to 987 cases. The number of active cases increased by eight while the number of resolved went up by one.

But Roumeliotis says they are going to be adding more cases tomorrow related to another school outbreak. There are currently 35 cases in 17 schools region-wide.

While there are a total of 987 confirmed coronavirus cases to date, he anticipates the region will be “way over a thousand, I’m sure, very shortly.”

Roumeliotis says the latest COVID-19 data was reviewed with Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams and Williams will be suggesting to cabinet to move the region to the “Orange-Restrict” level next week.

“I agreed with that because I’m seeing the trends and, despite the fact that most of our cases, we know where they’re coming from…we are seeing a rise in multiple areas,” he said. “Unfortunately, we will be going into the orange zone next week.”

“I doubt very much our numbers will change” before Thursday when cabinet makes its decision, he explained.

An official announcement would come Friday to take effect on Monday (Dec. 14), Roumeliotis said. He expects the restrictions to last for a week or two.

The last time the region was in Orange-Restrict was for one week (Nov. 16), shortly after the province introduced the colour-coded framework. It has been in Yellow-Protect since Nov. 23.

The R0 (r-naught) is at 1.47 and the positivity rate for the region is 2.2 per cent.