Schools will remain closed; EOHU cases rise by 107 on weekend

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It’ll be remote-learning-only after the April school break, the number of new COVID-19 cases in the region jumped by over 100 on the weekend, and the death toll rose by two.

Those were some of the major headlines on a busy pandemic news day, and Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, the region’s medical officer of health, touched on a number of developments in his regularly-scheduled media conference on Monday afternoon, including saying he supports the province’s decision to close schools.

“If the province (didn’t make the move) I would have done it myself (for the EOHU area) with a Section 22 (order),” Roumeliotis said. “I do agree with the school closures. It’s not because schools are unsafe. It’s the (increasing community caseload), and the more operational disruption it causes, with (individual schools) being shut down (and other disruptions).”

What kind of time frame should kids and families plan on? It’s hard to say, but Roumeliotis did say “we should open them as soon as possible,” adding the province will be re-evaluating the situation on a weekly basis.

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With 107 cases added in the region over the weekend, Roumeliotis said he asked EOHU contact tracers where so many of the cases were coming from, and the answer was, largely, family gatherings, over the Easter weekend.

“I can’t stress this enough: the stay-at-home order needs to be followed,” the doctor said. “We don’t want to overwhelm the (health-care) system, and it’ll give us time to vaccinate more people.”

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Of the 107 new cases, Roumeliotis said 25 are in Cornwall, 34 in SDG and 48 in Prescott-Russell. He said many of the newest cases involve school-aged children, and he provided some recent-history numbers to illustrate that April isn’t going so well.

Already this month, 99 school-aged kids have tested positive. Numbers from earlier months in 2021 are as follows: January 170; February 34; March 96.

Monday’s update of statistics indicated 107 new cases in the region since the Friday update. There are 453 active cases, which is an increase of 71 since Friday. The death toll has risen again, with 88 fatalities regionally, since the pandemic began over a year ago. That’s an increase of two from Friday.

There currently are 33 people in hospital, and seven are in ICU. The cumulative number of cases over 13 months is at 3,807.

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The breakdown of local active cases is as follows: Cornwall 130; Hawkesbury 43; Clarence-Rockland 39; Russell 36; Casselman 32; South Stormont 30; North Glengarry 30; The Nation 20; South Glengarry 17; North Stormont 17; Champlain 16; northern portion of Akwesasne 11; East Hawkesbury 11; Alfred & Plantagenet 10; North Dundas 7; and, South Dundas 4.

There are currently 14 institutional outbreaks, with 87 listed as resolved. Roumeliotis said two recently-declared resolved outbreaks are at Chartwell McConnell Manor and Sandfield Place, both in Cornwall.

The total number of tests conducted is just over 128,000.

In the latest provincial numbers, Monday’s update has the EOHU area at well over 100 cases less than the actual number – the Ontario count is at 3,624.

Schools are closed this week for the break, but Ontario posted counts and changes from Friday. For St. Joseph French-Catholic elementary school in Russell, Morrisburg PS, and St. Mary’s Catholic in Chesterville, active cases at the facilities are listed as resolved. But, there are still plenty of cases out there – 69 active cases across 37 schools in the EOHU region.

The Standard-Freeholder continues to aggregate and track local and provincial data, available here. All data, except the individual listing of cases last updated on April 11, was updated Monday morning.

thambleton@postmedia.com

twitter.com/FreeholderTodd


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