GBHU Update: Critical threshold of COVID-19 cases reached last week in Grey-Bruce

·2 min read

GREY-BRUCE – As of midnight on April 18, Grey Bruce Public Health reported 160 active cases of COVID-19, with 664 active high-risk contacts.

This brings the total number of cases to 1,107, including 13 new cases – four in Owen Sound, three in Southgate, two in Georgian Bluffs, and one in each of Meaford, Town of The Blue Mountains, Grey Highlands and Chatsworth.

Four people are hospitalized in Grey-Bruce with COVID; two people are hospitalized outside Grey-Bruce.

There are outbreaks at two schools – Notre Dame in Owen Sound and Hanover Heights in Hanover, and one daycare – Queen of Hearts in Owen Sound.

As of press time, the health unit’s vaccination program continued in high gear, with 47,352 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered. Almost 70 per cent of people over the age of 70, and 30 per cent of the eligible population have received their first doses of vaccine.

Last week, the health unit declared a critical threshold had been reached – the point at which, unless drastic measures are taken, the pandemic will spiral out of control. With 70 new cases in a 36-hour period generating hundreds of close contacts, the health unit’s contact tracing and case management capacity was stretched to the limit.

A community outbreak was reported in eastern Grey County.

Sources of transmission were identified as people visiting others despite being symptomatic, social gatherings, and bush parties attended by high school students. The situation was made worse by some people lying to public health contact tracing staff.

Staff had to be redeployed from other programs, including the vaccination program, to support contact tracing and case management. A large vaccination clinic planned for Saturday, April 17 (but with no appointments booked) had to be cancelled. Vaccines were redirected to residents in shelters and other settings where the risk of transmission is higher. The health unit’s Infoline was shut down.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Ian Arra asked everyone to consider themselves carriers and stay home for a 48-hour period late last week, resulting in the closing of Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority trails, among other measures. This class action order from the MOH was in addition to the provincial stay-at-home order.

Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times