Haldimand-Norfolk records second COVID-19 death in under two weeks

·2 min read

It will be a grim Christmas for a Haldimand-Norfolk family mourning a loved one recently lost to COVID-19.

The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit reported a new death linked to COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the total number of residents of the two counties to have died of the disease to 34.

The health unit did not release any information about the latest death, citing privacy concerns in the small rural community.

This is the second COVID-related death in Haldimand-Norfolk in less than two weeks, after months without a fatality.

The deaths come against a backdrop of rising cases locally, with 17 new positive cases added Tuesday and 107 in the past two weeks.

There are currently 81 active COVID-19 patients between the two counties, the majority of whom would appear to have contracted the virus through community spread, as the health unit has not reported any major outbreaks.

Large-scale outbreaks at Anson Place Care Centre in Hagersville and Scotlynn Group’s Vittoria farm accounted for the majority of the cases in the pandemic’s early days, and 28 of the 34 deaths.

But as of Tuesday, 46 per cent of the total cases in Haldimand-Norfolk were not linked to outbreaks, suggesting a recent rise in general transmission of the virus in schools, workplaces and other community settings.

Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, Haldimand-Nofolk’s chief medical officer of health, has pointed to indoor dining and residents gathering in each others’ homes as primary ways that the virus is spreading.

On Monday, in the wake of Premier Doug Ford’s announcement of a provincewide lockdown due to start on Boxing Day, Nesathurai reiterated his call for residents to do their part by staying home save for essential trips and opting for virtual get-togethers over the holidays.

Six Nations of the Grand River currently has two active COVID-19 cases, with the latest reported on Dec. 20.

The community has seen 101 cases since the pandemic began, with one death.

J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator