Protecting people is top priority in C-K

·2 min read

Protecting people is “job one” during the pandemic, says Chatham-Kent’s top doctor.

Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health, isn’t opposed to tighter COVID-19 restrictions. However, he disagrees with the Ontario Hospital Association’s proposed standard for an expanded lockdown.

On Dec. 17, the Hospital Association called for the Provincial Government to enforce a four-week lockdown in every public Health Unit with an infection rate of 40 or more cases per 100,000 population.

But Colby doesn’t think using a simplistic, formulaic approach is appropriate for these kinds of decisions.

“There’s never one variable that should be your sole criterion for making such a decision,” said Colby. “The number of outbreaks, the source of the outbreaks, the number of unlinked cases, the percent positivity as well as the overall proportional number and how that is distributed through your jurisdiction – these are all factors that need to be taken into account.”

The hospital association proposal would put more than half of Ontario’s 34 public health units into lockdown. Chatham-Kent, however, would not be in lockdown.

Meanwhile, Quebec’s province will close all non-essential stores as part of a provincewide two-week lockdown right after Christmas.

While decisions have not been made for following Quebec’s lockdown, Colby said they are being talked about.

Chatham-Kent’s top doctor said the example of Chatham-Kent and Windsor-Essex County is one reason for the renewed interest in a provincewide approach. Chatham-Kent is currently in yellow-protect, the second-lowest of the five levels, while Windsor-Essex County is in lockdown.

Windsor-Essex County has reported more new cases in the past four days than Chatham-Kent’s had in nine months.

Windsor-Essex County’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Wajid Ahmed, has told Windsor-Essex County residents to stay home during the lockdown. Colby said he fully supports the messaging.

“We are imploring everyone not to come here and to follow the instructions of your own Medical Officer of Health in your jurisdiction,” said Colby.

When asked if a two-week lockdown was needed in Chatham-Kent, Colby said he would back it.

“Keeping people safe and healthy has got to be job one,” said Colby. “It’s not a question of fairness, it’s a question of doing what’s necessary to protect the people.”

Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News