Editorial – COVID-19 increases again

The last thing The Leader wanted to do was write another editorial on the importance of COVID-19 vaccinations. In light of the current situation where cases have ballooned exponentially in South Dundas this past week, and news that another age group was approved for vaccination – we must.

It was alarming last week when active infections went from one to six cases. At the time this editorial was written, that number has increased to 12 and South Dundas has the third-highest active case count in the region. Cases have cross-pollinated across four schools and local sports programs. At least eight classes and one bus have cases and many students have had to self-isolate or be tested.

South Dundas has dodged a large amount of the COVID-19 cases in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit region. Less than one per cent of the population in the municipality has had an infection, well below regional, provincial, and national averages. Until now that is.

We clearly are not immune from the recent spike of cases in Ontario, a bump up on this fourth wave of the pandemic. Case counts have increased across the province in recent weeks. Public health experts warned that as we move more indoors due to the colder weather, cases would increase. There are also fewer restrictions for indoor capacity for dining and entertainment. And we are nearly 21 months into the pandemic, so everyone is tired. That is where this last part is critical.

Look in the arenas, when grocery shopping, or out Christmas shopping – many people are not following the guidelines for wearing masks and other public health measures. Some businesses and venues are not enforcing the public health measures. Many more people here have become complacent – too complacent – about following the very measures that have helped keep numbers in South Dundas low until now.

Health Canada approved the first COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5-11 – an age group that has higher infection rates in this wave, as they were unable to receive a vaccine. Inoculating that age group is one more step towards the end of the pandemic. Committing to following the public health measures is another. It sucks wearing masks indoors, maintaining distance apart, waiting in line, and sanitizing nearly everything in sight. These measures all help keep numbers down and we are seeing now what happens when we do not follow them – exponential growth in cases.

Science has shown in this last year that vaccinations work, so do public health measures. If we want to enjoy a more normal Christmas this year, we all need to do our part.

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