Four more Aurorans lost to virus as new cases see slight decline

·3 min read

Nearly 30 Aurora residents have now lost their battle with COVID-19.

This grim milestone approaches as York Region overall sees a slight decline of new cases.

Between January 13 and January 16, York Region Public Health reported the deaths of six residents of Willows Estate Long Term Care in Aurora’s south end.

An 86-year-old woman lost her battle with COVID at the residence on Thursday, January 7, after first being diagnosed with the virus on January 4. On Sunday, January 10, a 77-year-old man succumbed after receiving test results on January 4. A 90-year-old woman, who also received positive test results on January 4, lost her battle on January 11.

Two further deaths – an 88-year-old man and a 74-year-old woman lost their lives on January 14 and, the following day, an 86-year-old woman succumbed.

But, as the outbreak continues at Willows Estate and a newly-reported outbreak at Chartwell Hollandview Trail continues, Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, says the rate of new cases across York Region is showing signs of slowing but the emergence of the UK COVID variant is a cause for concern.

“Our case numbers have been declining slightly thanks to all your help,” said Dr. Kurji on Monday. “We are now slightly lower than the incidence figures for Toronto, however we do have the variant in our midst. The UK variant has been found in seven of our residents. In three of them, there was no connection to travel and, therefore there is community transmission going on.

“With such high numbers in the community, it is important that we try and trace expeditiously the close contacts of cases and make sure that they are self-isolating as well. To that effect, we need your assistance. When we send you texts, we would like you to complete the questionnaires as fully as you can. Even if you complete them partially, they are still useful for us. It enables our case managers to very quickly get in touch with the close contacts.

“The most important safeguard for us is to continue to stay at home and not mix with anybody other than our immediate household. The stay-at-home order, which is in effect until February 11, requires you to stay at home and only go out for essential visits such as to the pharmacist, grocery shopping or your healthcare provider. Certainly, we do encourage you to go out for exercise, as fresh air is good for you and we don’t want you to get too mentally isolated.”

At press time this week, Aurora was grappling with 66 active cases of COVID-19.

The community had seen a total of 785 confirmed cases as of Monday, 690 of which are now marked as recovered. Of the active cases, 39 are attributed to local transmission and close contact, 26 to institutional outbreak, and 1 related to workplace cluster.

Brock Weir, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Auroran