One classroom has been closed at St. Finnan's Catholic elementary school in Alexandria after a positive COVID-19 case was detected there.
The Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario reported December 13 that fewer than five individuals at the school were infected.
Meanwhile, a second case of COVID-19 has been reported at Glengarry District High School in Alexandria.
The Upper Canada District related December 13 that an additional individual at the school has tested positive for COVID-19.
The first case was reported December 11.
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit is not declaring this an outbreak as the cases are not linked to the school environment. The school remains open and operating on the regular daily schedule.
"There is no doubt that it has been a challenging year for all of us. The COVID-19 pandemic has required us to change the way we do things and interact with one another. From inconveniences such as wearing masks, to waiting in lines to enter buildings, to having to keep a distance from others, it’s been stressful and frustrating. It has been especially hard on our families and relationships as we’ve had to find other ways to juggle family, school and work, and to stay connected with those we care about. For too many, the year has also brought hardship and tragedy, from lost financial stability to lost loved ones who have perished from the coronavirus. In our community, and across the globe, COVID-19 has taken a heavy toll.
In spite of the challenges we’ve faced, our community has largely come together to help protect one another from the spread of the virus, following public health precautions such as masking and social distancing when out in public, and finding alternative ways to connect with loved ones and to look out for each other. Many of our local businesses, schools and healthcare workers have made extraordinary efforts to prevent spread of the virus. Collectively, our efforts have helped avoid uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 in our community, and for this I am extremely grateful.
However, we are at a critical point in the second wave of this pandemic. The EOHU region has experienced a significant increase in COVID-19 cases over recent weeks. As we have seen with other areas of the province, community spread can accelerate rapidly and threaten healthcare capacity in hospitals and other services that we all rely on. Uncontrolled spread can also threaten the local economy by forcing the shutdown of businesses as a last resort to stop the spread of the virus. And as we know too well in our own region, it can have devastating consequences for our most vulnerable residents.
While we are all experiencing pandemic fatigue and yearning for a return to better days, it is imperative to continue following public health precautions if we hope to keep COVID cases at a manageable level in our community.
For this reason, I am urging residents to consider ways to celebrate the holidays safely this season. In the holiday spirit of kindness, compassion and generosity towards our community – and in the hopes for a better 2021 – following public health guidelines will be extremely important over the coming weeks so that we don’t experience a post-holiday surge of COVID cases that puts people’s lives, health and livelihood at risk.
We can celebrate safely while protecting our loved ones and our community by limiting in-person celebrations to the people we live with, or with one other household if you live alone. There are also many creative ways to celebrate the holidays safely with family and friends who we don’t live with, such as having virtual gatherings, and sharing meals or opening gifts together online. We can also help keep everyone safe by limiting trips into the community to essential errands only and staying home when we aren’t feeling well. When we are out in public, we should continue to avoid crowds, wear our masks, keep 2 metres distance from others and clean our hands regularly.
In spite of the year’s hardships, 2020 is drawing to an end with reason for optimism – vaccines are on the horizon which will help reduce the impact of COVID-19 on our lives and allow for the gradual return to more normal activities. In the meantime, let’s continue to follow public health precautions and keep our loved ones and our community safe so that we can look forward together to better times in 2021.
For more on how to celebrate safely, and how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, visit the Eastern Ontario Health Unit’s website at www.EOHU.ca.
Wishing everyone health and happiness this holiday season."
The region served by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit will revert from Yellow to Orange status under the province's COVID-19 framework. And the Orange label will remain for at least the next month.
Based on the latest data, the Orange designation, which denotes stricter restrictions than the Yellow code, the level change will take effect December 14.
For long-term care homes, visitor restrictions apply to those homes in the public health unit regions that are in the Orange-Restrict level or higher. In addition, long-term care homes must implement recently enhanced testing requirements.
Trends in public health data will continue to be reviewed weekly to determine if public health units should stay where they are or be moved into a different level.
Public health units will stay in their level for a minimum of 28 days, or two COVID-19 incubation periods, at which time, the government will assess the impact of public health measures to determine if the public health unit should stay where they are or be moved to a different level. The government and the Chief Medical Officer of Health will continue to consult regularly with local medical officers of health on local context and conditions to help inform the classification of their public health unit region.
More COVID-19 cases have been reported in area schools.
Individuals at Glengarry District High School, La Source in Moose Creek, Holy Trinity Catholic high school in South Glengarry, Tagwi Secondary School in Avonmore, and at Laggan Public School have tested positive, according to the Eastern Ontario Health Unit.
A $100,000 lottery ticket, which was sold in rural Eastern Ontario, remains unclaimed.
There are two weeks left to claims the Encore Lotto Max prize from the December 24, 2019 draw.
The winning numbers were 1 – 9 – 3 – 2 – 8 – 5 – 0.
The owner(s) of this ticket should fill in the back portion, sign it and contact the OLG Support Centre at 1-800-387-0098.
The number of active cases in the region served by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit has risen by 39 since Tuesday, bringing the total to 260.
The biggest spike was reported in Cornwall, where 31 new cases have been recorded between December 8 and 9, according to the health unit.
Eight patients have been hospitalized. None is intensive care.
A case of COVID-19 has been detected Tagwi Secondary School in Avonmore.
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit is working closely with the school and is actively communicating with all individuals who have been identified as possible close contacts through high-risk exposures, says the Upper Canada District School Board. Both the school and health unit are taking all necessary steps to prevent the further spread of the virus in the school and in the community.
No change to the school schedule or daily operations are required.
The Eastern Ontario Heath Unit region is now "Orange restrict" under the Ontario government's COVID-19 response framework, after being labelled "Yellow-protect" last week.
The designation, meaning that stricter measures will be implemented in our region, was changed despite a decrease in active cases in the EOHU jurisdiction.
"These adjustments are necessary to respond to the latest evidence we're seeing and we are prepared to make further adjustments as the health experts continue to review the current public health restrictions. We must do whatever it takes to stop our hospitals from being overwhelmed and protect our most vulnerable," said Premier Doug Ford.
The latest modelling shows that if the number of new cases continues to grow at its current rate, the province could register up to 6,500 new cases per day by mid-December. Within the next two weeks the province will likely exceed its intensive care threshold of 150 beds, under any potential scenario.
The framework changes are in response to the current data and trends, and will lower the threshold for each of the five levels for: weekly incidence rates, positivity rate, effective reproductive number (Rt), outbreak trends and the level of community transmission.
Here is a summary of guidelines for the Orange zone.
General public health measures (gatherings, workplace requirements and face coverings)
- Events and social gatherings
- 10 people indoors
- 25 people outdoors
- Organized public events and gatherings:
- 50 people indoors
- 100 people outdoors
- Religious services, weddings and funerals:
- 30% capacity indoors
- 100 people outdoors
- Requirement for workplace screening
- Face coverings required in:
- indoor workplaces
- indoor public spaces, with limited exemptions
- Where patrons without face coverings are within two metres of workers, workers must use additional protections such as eye protection
- Workplaces must develop and implement a communication/public education plan (highlighting risk)
- Physical distancing must be maintained
- Non-essential travel from areas of high-transmission to areas of low transmission should be avoided
There are some encouraging numbers on the COVID-19 front.
The number of active cases in the region served by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit dropped by 17, to 152, between Thursday and Friday.
There are now 15 active cases in Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry, a drop of two cases since yesterday.
Cornwall has 54, six less than Thursday, while Prescott-Russell has 74, nine less than yesterday, and the northern portion of Akwesasne has nine cases, unchanged from Thursday.