CORNWALL – Regional trends continue to show that COVID-19 infections are in a decline throughout Eastern Ontario. The Eastern Ontario Health Unit reported there was 144 active cases as of its February 12th update. At the same time, the Ontario government announced that when the province-wide Stay-at-Home order expires Tuesday, the region will return to Orange-Restrict level restrictions.
Locally, four new positive cases of COVID-19 were reported in South Dundas Thursday, increasing the active case count to five and the overall cases to 28. North Dundas has five active cases, 61 total cases, South Stormont 25 active cases, 147 total. Many of the recent cases in South Stormont are due to a continuing outbreak at the Woodland Villa long-term care home in Long Sault.
Active cases in the City of Cornwall continue to decline from record highs a month ago. As of Friday, there are 50 active cases in the city, 699 cases overall.
Since the weekend there have been no additions to the region's death toll. Sixty-three people have died in the region since the pandemic began. Twelve of those are from the first wave, 51 in this second wave.
Ten facilities remain under outbreak protocols, a decrease of two facilities in the past week. Woodland Villa and Glen Stor Dun Lodge in Cornwall are among those facilities. No schools are included in the list of outbreaks in the EOHU region. According to the Ministry of Health, four students in three schools have tested positive in the region. None of those schools affected are in South Dundas.
Key indicators used to determine what direction the pandemic wave is going in the region all point in the right direction. The rolling seven-day average of new infections per 100,000 people is 20.4, the reproductive rate is 0.79, test positivity is 1.62 per cent, Intensive Care Unit occupancy is 80 per cent, and there are no patients in the COVID-19 ICU. All are significant reductions from the peak in the second week of January. Nineteen people remain hospitalized, 12 in the Cornwall Community Hospital, one in Hawkesbury, and six in Ottawa.
The region will reopen Tuesday, February 16th at 12:01 a.m. when the Stay-at-Home order expires. The EOHU will join the City of Ottawa in Orange-Restrict level restrictions, the neighbouring Leeds-Grenville-Lanark District Health Unit will reopen at the Green-Prevent level.
Restaurants and bars will be able to reopen to in-person dining with no more than four people per table. Non-essential retail stores and businesses can reopen as well. This includes hair-stylists, barber shops, and other personal care businesses. Yes, you can finally get a hair cut.
Enhanced public health restrictions remain in place including mask-wearing, occupancy limits, contact tracing logs where applicable, and screening of all employees.
A full list of what is allowed is available at the EOHU's website.
With the February 15th Family Day statutory holiday, updated statistics will not be reported until February 16th. The health unit updates COVID-19 numbers weekdays.
Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader