CORNWALL – The number of COVID-19 cases in the region continues to increase, with 15 new cases since the weekend including the first two infections in schools.
The French-Catholic elementary school in Embrun is the first school in the region to have a student diagnosed with COVID-19. A secondary school student in Clarence-Rockland has also tested positive. Neither school is in an outbreak because the province uses the threshold of two positive test results in a school for it to be declared an outbreak.
One additional person from South Dundas has tested positive for the virus, increasing the municipal tally to four active cases. A fifth case earlier in the pandemic is resolved. North Dundas has a new case of COVID-19, increasing the overall tally to 10 cases, nine of which are resolved. Many of the new cases are related to work in Ottawa, or travel to family gatherings in Quebec.
There are 41 active cases of the virus in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit region. According to medical officer of health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, most of the recent cases are people under the age of 40.
There are 13 active cases in SDG Counties, 3 in the City of Cornwall, and 25 in Prescott-Russell County. One person, a woman in her 90s, is hospitalized but is not in intensive care. There are no active outbreaks in long-term care homes currently because the outbreak at Dundas Manor was declared over on September 17th.
Even with the sharp rise in infection for those under age 40, Roumeliotis said he doesn’t see a big problem in youth hockey returning to the ice next month. “With cohorts and all the measures in place where there is supervision in the arenas, I don’t see this as a problem,” he said. Roumelitois added that the health unit has been working with arenas to ensure there are protocols in place, and that the EOHU has a “sports desk” for specific issues relating to sports programs. “We are working with them to ensure all the precautions are in place,” he said.
“For now I am not overly worried, but it is something to keep an eye on.”
The local hockey district released a plan last month which will see age groups “bubbled” together and three-on-three or four-on-four scrimmages within a bubble allowed. Locally, as in past seasons, South Dundas and North Dundas minor hockey are working together to group players in some levels. Players at older levels from both associations may be in the same bubble, despite living in different municipalities and in different school cohorts.
“My tolerance will be very low to this,” Roumeliotis warned. “There is a whole slew of things players aren’t suppose to do. If we start getting a hint that they are not following procedures, we will not hesitate to take measures that are appropriate.”
He added that in other areas like Ottawa where hockey has already begun there have not been any issues in arenas. Hockey operations in this area will begin in early October.
Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader