Regional increase in COVID-19 infections

·2 min read

CORNWALL – Fueled by the Omicron BA.5 sub-variant, COVID-19 infections in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit region are on the rise.

Test positivity has increased to 16.1 per cent according to the July 15 update from the EOHU. The health unit updates COVID-19 data twice-weekly.

Wastewater testing shows increased levels of infection detected at the Casselman, Cornwall, Hawkesbury, and Morrisburg wastewater treatment plants. Morrisburg has the lowest detected COVID-19 levels with 6.7 genome copies per millilitre, and a seven day average of 13.2 gc/ml. Cornwall was 9.7 gc/ml, Casselman 17.51 gc/ml, and Hawkesbury 20.8 gc/ml.

Hospitalizations are on the rise in the region as well. As of July 15, 13 people were admitted to hospital with COVID-19 as the primary reason for hospitalization. Three people are in intensive care.

Responding to rising COVID-19 cases, the Ontario government announced last week that second booster shots, or a fourth dose, of a COVID-19 vaccine is available for anyone 18 or older. No new guidance was issued for booster doses for youth 12-17, or for those age 6-11.

Health Canada also announced the approval of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccination for children between the ages of six months and five years.

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore said July 15 that the seventh wave of COVID-19 infection is set to peak in Ontario around the August long weekend.

“The virus continues to circulate and evolve, we know what steps need to be taken to protect ourselves, our communities, and our healthcare system,” Moore said adding that keeping up to date with vaccinations was most important.

Free rapid antigen tests will remain available until the end of 2022 Moore also announced.

Asked if mask mandates for indoor spaces would be re-instituted, Moore said that his team was not recommending it “at this time.”

He also explained that COVID-19 waves are now arriving in the province in 90-day intervals with infection levels spiking.

“These undulating waves will have an untoward effect on the health care system, and we’ll have to be prepared for those going forward.”

Looking at the fall, Moore said that if the health care system is under threat due to COVID-19 infection surges and hospitalizations, Public Health Ontario would make recommendations to the government on universal indoor masking.

Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Morrisburg Leader

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