SOUTH DUNDAS – Two weeks ago, there were no active COVID-19 infections in South Dundas, as of November 23 there were 14 as school-age infections increase.
Notices were sent to parents at Iroquois Public School, St. Mary-St. Cecilia Catholic School, Nationview Public School, and Seaway District High School about new cases. Both the Upper Canada District School Board and the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario do not provide specific case information and no longer identify if infections are in students or staff.
SMSC has five classrooms and one bus route with students isolating due to COVID-19 infections. One class at IPS is isolating due to infections. Two Grade 9 classes at Seaway DHS have individuals who have tested positive.
COVID-19 infections also resulted in postponed minor hockey games with two teams not having enough players to properly ice a team due to players isolating.
When asked by The Leader, Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, medical officer of health for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, said that a majority of South Dundas cases are in youth too young to be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine. The doctor confirmed the youngest case in South Dundas is an infant.
Health Canada approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine for youth aged 5-11 on November 19. The first of 2.9 million doses, enough for every child in Canada in that age group to get their first dose, arrived Sunday. The Ontario government opened vaccination appointment bookings for 5-11 year olds Tuesday and pending delivery, health units across the province will begin opening clinics November 25.
Roumeliotis said the EOHU is using a combination of mass-immunization clinics, weekend clinics based in schools, and pharmacy-based delivery for getting vaccine jabs into arms.
Between November 25 and December 23, the health unit plans 36 clinics for kids. There was no specific information about clinics in South Dundas available at publication time. To help with vaccinations in younger age groups,
Roumeliotis said the health unit has prepared with quiet areas, numbing spray to help with needles, and a parent’s guide on its website to help. Roumeliotis encouraged parents to seek sound medical advice from sources including their family doctor if concerned about their kids receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
As of November 23, there were 78 active cases, an increase of 26 people from Friday, 11 of those new cases are in South Dundas.
Since the pandemic began, 6,000 people have been infected with COVID-19 from the EOHU region, and 131 people have died.
Unlike other parts of the province, there continues to be low hospitalization in the region. Only two people is hospitalized, one is in intensive care.
Infections are slowly growing in the region, as the reproductive rate was 1.12 on November 23. This means for every 100 new infections there will be 112 new cases. This is above the provincial average reproductive rate of 1.09.
South Dundas has the third-highest active case count at 14 cases, trailing only the City of Cornwall (28) and the Northern Portion of Akwesasne (19). North Dundas has no active cases, South Stormont eight, and North Stormont two.
Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Morrisburg Leader