Grey-Bruce health unit sees numbers of new COVID-19 cases

·2 min read

On May 1, only three new cases had been reported in the previous 24 hours in Grey Bruce.

The 56 active cases were associated with 209 high-risk contacts.

That’s about 450 fewer contacts than when the “critical threshold” for maintaining contact-tracing was declared by the Grey-Bruce Health Unit on Apr. 14.

At that time, a spike of more than 70 new cases with hundreds of new contacts in a 36-hour period led to a dramatic request that all members of the public act “as if” they had COVID.

The request came as the health unit struggled to keep in a position where it could maintain contact tracing of each case.

On April 15, there were 169 active case and 661 active high-risk contacts.

Because it might take two to three days before public health staff could reach all close contacts, the health unit took the unusual measure of asking everyone in the two counties to act “as if” they were a carrier. That preventative measure was aimed to prevent spread before close contacts could be notified.

In the next days, the number of close contacts stayed much the same, and a few days later, the announcement was made that contact-tracing had been maintained.

On Monday, May 3, the health unit issued a thank-you to the public, along with a message that their co-operation had paid off.

“The number of cases continues to decline,” the release said.

“What is most reassuring is that about half of the new cases were previously identified as close contacts. As such, they have been in isolation during the past week prior to being identified as a positive case.”

That isolation means no secondary transmission to others, the release said.

The co-operation of the most recent positive cases in providing detailed information on their movements is also noteworthy, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Arra said. During the mid-April period, the health unit expressed frustration that some had been covering up and withholding information.

However, the health unit has also asked the public not to make villains out of young people but to help them understand the chain of transmission through asymptomatic spread. Social gatherings and “bush parties” among youth were among the reasons given for the sudden spike in cases.

M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald