CORNWALL – Another five positive test results for COVID-19 received in the region has now increased the total infections for Eastern Ontario to 75.
“This is what I expected,” said Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medicial Officer of Health for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, during his April 23rd media briefing. He said he has expected that the number of positive cases would increase as more testing was being completed.
Nearly 1,500 people have been tested for COVID-19 in the EOHU since the opening of the six assessment centres in the region. More than 130 tests have been completed at the Winchester assessment centre to date.
Overall infections in the EOHU area, which includes Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry, Prescott-Russell, the City of Cornwall, and Akwesasne sit now at 75 people. Of those 75 positive test results, 45 from Prescott-Russell, 16 from SDG, and 14 from Cornwall. Four people are currently hospitalized, two in intensive care, and 36 of the cases have resolved. There have been no deaths reported in the EOHU region.
Pinecrest Nursing Home in Plantagenet, west of Hawkesbury, is the first nursing home in the EOHU to be affected by COVID-19. Roumeliotis told the media that a staff member of the 60-bed facility felt unwell at home and was tested. That person tested positive and is currently in self-isolation. As part of the new expanded testing protocols from the Ontario goverment, all residents and staff of that facility have, or are, in the process of being tested today (April 23rd). There is no outbreak in the facility at this time. Roumeliotis also said that all of the long-term care homes and group home facilities in the EOHU region are being tested under this expanded protocol.
While more than half of the COVID-19 deaths in the province have been in long term care homes, Roumeliotis said previously that the Eastern Ontario region has been quite fortunate that there have been no outbreaks in any of the 33 facilities here.
Earlier in the week, provincial health officials said that Ontario may have reached its peak in COVID-19 infections. If the provincial modelling is accurate, Roumeliotis said it will be several months before restrictions are removed.
“It will not be everything opening up at once,” he said. “There will be a gradual incremental approach to easing restrictions.”
Roumeliotis predicted that the province is weeks away from beginning any relaxing of protocols.
He clarified that garden and outdoor centres are allowed to offer curb-side pickup for plants and other gardening materials at home. As the spring weather improves, garden centres across Ontario are hoping to be the first to be allowed to reopen as physicial distancing and business closure restrictions are relaxed.
“We have been flattening the curve and our measures are showing success,” Roumeliotis said. “I know it’s been tough and we have to keep doing this for a while longer, but it’s working. Until [the restrictions are removed] we have to keep with the physical distancing that we’ve been doing,”