Lockdown can slow rapid rise

·2 min read

amChatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health is hoping lockdown will slow the steady climb of COVID-19 in the municipality.

“We’re teetering on the edge,” Dr. David Colby said Monday, adding the comment that “what we do right now matters.

“If the lockdown is effective we should see a change in the slope of the curve,” the doctor adds. “Possibly a plateau.”

Like the rest of Ontario, cases are on the upswing with 170 local cases been recorded since Christmas Eve.

As of Monday that added up to a total of 125 cases, with nine outbreaks, six at area workplaces. Two of the outbreaks are institutional and one is a congregate living setting.

Colby says the increase is the result of fallout of gathering during the holidays and not following the rules.

It’s very disappointing, he adds, as people have been told “over and over” what to do to stop the virus.

He hopes the lockdown will put the brakes on the spread.

“If the lockdown is going to work, we will see it in another week or so, he explains, adding there is a two-week lag between exposure and an actual case.

If the number of cases continues at the current pace, Chatham-Kent could hit the 300 mark by the weekend.

Colby says there is some good news with regard to current cases as Chatham-Kent Public Health has been able to contact trace them to a source. Some health units are unable to do that because of community spread.

The virus becomes a threat to the population when cases surge and overwhelm the healthcare system.

As of Monday, there are two COVID-19 cases being treated at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance. One of those patients is in the ICU on a ventilator.

Since March, the hospital has been preparing for an influx of COVID-19 patients by readying an auxiliary field hospital at the St. Clair College Chatham campus.

According to Lori Marshall, the alliance’s chief executive officer, equipment at the facility has remained in place since it was set up during the first wave of COVID-19.

“We’ve left the infrastructure sitting there,” Marshall explains.

“It’s still out there and available.”

In addition to the CKHA regular complement of 200 beds — five of which are located at the Wallaceburg site — the Ministry of Health has funded an additional 20 beds.

These are to be shared regionally if necessary by accepting patients from other jurisdictions if their infrastructure becomes overwhelmed by an influx of COVID-19 patients.

Marshall is hopeful that Chatham’s capacity will suffice.

“We believe that the capacity will be sufficient,” she says.

There are 10 Level 3 intensive care unit beds located at the Chatham site.

Pam Wright, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Herald