GBHU update, March30: Health unit reports probable COVID-19 cases at four Grey-Bruce schools

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GREY-BRUCE – The Grey-Bruce Health Unit is addressing probable cases of COVID-19 at four area schools – two in Kincardine (St. Anthony’s and Kincardine District), one in Durham (Edge Hill Country School) and Georgian Bluffs (Harvest Canadian Reformed School). The only bus route involved is connected with St. Anthony’s in Kincardine.

As of press time, officials say there’s no evidence of transmission within the school environment, and no outbreaks have been declared at schools.

One outbreak is reported at Grey Bruce Health Services.

What is concerning is the number of high-risk contacts – 394, as of press time. Dr. Ian Arra, medical officer of health, said, “It takes a tremendous amount of effort to manage this number of high-risk contacts. This number will keep increasing unless we limit, starting today, our unprotected encounters with all people outside of our own households.”

There are 59 active cases, with 16 of them variants of concern. To date there have been 814 confirmed cases, including 35 involving variants of concern.

Six people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in Grey-Bruce.

As of press time, the vaccination program in Grey-Bruce was in high gear, with 26,227 doses of vaccine administered, and the provincial booking site accepting appointments for people aged 70 and older.

The health unit reports there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases recently in Grey-Bruce, specifically related to public settings. Cases have been seen related to personal care settings as well as exercise-related group activities, outbreaks in health care settings, and restaurants and pubs.

The health unit is reminding people that with a third wave of the virus likely, we cannot afford to let up on efforts to prevent a resurgence as vaccination programs continue.

The public, including those in the workplace, are asked to “double down” on their efforts.

Even if there is no stay-at-home order in our area, staying home is still the best way to protect yourself and others.

People are advised to avoid social gatherings, limit close contacts to your household, work from home if possible, allow employees to work from home if possible, and avoid non-essential travel.

The same things that kept us safe during the first and second waves remain relevant – watch your distance (two metres), wear a mask correctly (both indoors, and when distancing cannot be maintained, outdoors), and wash your hands.

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