The Glengarry News

Fear of 'devastating' effect

Limits, no closures

publisher Oct 23, 2020 - 3:23pm

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit will likely impose new restrictions on bars and restaurants next week in a bid to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The numbers from last week indicated that seven-day case rates in the region served by the EOHU were among the top five health units in Ontario, Chief Medical Office of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis writes in an October 22 e-mail to local municipalities.

“Our initial indicators and data suggested that if the numbers continued to rise, the government would put the EOHU region into Modified Stage 2, along with Ottawa, Toronto, Peel and York. However I have heard from a lot of municipalities and businesses that going into modified Stage 3 (closing restaurants and gyms, etc.) would be devastating to our community.”

Dr. Roumeliotis had earlier told a press briefing that the regulations for bars and restaurants would be the same as they are in Ottawa. “After reviewing the data and looking at very recent trends, I have recommended to the cabinet through the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams (who supports my recommendation), other steps to avoid going into Modified Stage 2,” Dr. Roumeliotis writes.

“Although overall our numbers are high, they are really driven by Prescott-Russell/Ottawa connection and the large number of LTC positives in Residence Prescott-Russell, overall we are now in a moderate zone of transmission.”

“I believe this approach that will avoid closures is the best at this time. Of course if we see numbers increasing or outbreaks occurring, we will reassess,” Dr. Roumeliotis says in his e-mail.