CORNWALL – The message from Eastern Ontario Health Unit Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis is clear, don’t go out visiting during the Easter holiday.
“People should not be gathering, not going out and visiting others,” Roumeliotis said during his April 9th briefing with local media. “It goes against what we’re saying. Keep your social distance.”
The provincial government ordered two weeks ago that public gatherings of more than five people were prohibited in order to physically distance people and slow the spread of COVID-19.
“People seem to be thinking that number, five, that you can play with it. No. Don’t go bring grandma over, even if your house has less than five people.”
The doctor clarified that households that have more than five people living under the same roof is fine, like a family with two parents and four kids.
Roumeliotis said the regulation is clear, “you cannot have social gatherings with more than five people.”
As of April 10th, there have been a total of 49 people in the EOHU service region who have tested positive for COVID-19. Of those 49 people, 28 cases as of April 9th have been resolved, while 21 cases are still dealing with the virus. The health unit no longer reports how many cases are in each area of the health unit: Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry; Prescott-Russell; or the City of Cornwall.
Roumeliotis said that three people were currently in hospital, down from four the day before.
While most of the positive cases in the region before March 26th were travel related, since then, the majority of the positive cases were from close-contact or community transmission.
He said that while case numbers appear to be flattening in the province and that Ontario has less cases than in Quebec, it doesn’t mean people should back off from the physical/social distancing that has been ongoing.
“It’s quite important over the next two weeks not to assume we’re flattening the curve and get complacent,” Roumeliotis said. “We have to assume it is in our backyard and we have to keep moving forward with the public health measures.”
The doctor warned that if there was a spike in numbers, further restrictions could be put in place such as cerfews, limiting the sizes of groups to two, or more business and workplace closures. Already the health unit has had to issue a Section 22 order to deal with crowding in some stores that are still allowed to open, where physical distancing and occupancy were not being monitored.
Roumeliotis said that people should still have a good Easter or Passover, “or a virtual one.”