‘Cornwall leading the way’ in COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations

Local Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – The region’s top doctor says “Cornwall (is) leading the way” in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit area in COVID-19 infection rates and people ending up in hospital.

After a problem with the provincial infection tracking software (CCM), the health unit was able to update cases over the last two days, plus remove some duplicate statistics.

The number of hospitalizations jumped from six to 15 and there are now three people in the intensive care unit (ICU). Cornwall is the designated regional COVID-19 ICU, serving Prescott-Russell, SD&G and the city.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis says those in hospital are “virtually all in Cornwall.”

“We have high levels (of cases) in the area, particularly in the Cornwall area,” he said.

The Cornwall Community Hospital issued a statement Thursday saying it’s running at surge capacity and may have to cancel some elective surgeries if the trend of infections continues. “Every effort is being made to maintain all day surgeries, clinics and diagnostic services, but if recent trends continue, cancellations may occur,” the hospital said.

The rates of infections are still well above the red zone of 40 cases per 100,000 population. The EOHU is an average of 125 cases for every 100,000 people with “Cornwall leading the way” at 193 cases for every 100,000 people.

The region added 51 cases over the last two days – 17 in Prescott-Russell, 10 in SD&G, 14 in Cornwall and 10 in Akwesasne. The regional total is 1,805 cases with 565 active.

  • Prescott-Russell 965 cases (229 active)
  • SD&G – 374 cases (133 active)
  • Cornwall – 395 cases (180 active)
  • Akwesasne (ON/QC) – 71 cases (23 active)

Roumeliotis says the health unit will be releasing more data next week, which will include statistics on source of infection and place of transmission.

The doctor adds that most of the region’s cases are close contact with another infected individual in the same household.

As for big box stores, Roumeliotis says he continues to lobby the province to level the playing field by requiring big box stores to only sell essential goods. Right now there are no limitations.