Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health at the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU), has confirmed a third positive case of COVID-19 in the EOHU area. The individual in their 30’s is from Prescott-Russell and does not have a history of travel. Investigations are still underway.
Following testing at an Ottawa assessment centre, the individual returned home where they remain in self-isolation, following Public Health direction. The individual’s close family contacts are also in self-isolation.
The individual is a healthcare worker at The Ottawa Hospital. Ottawa Public Health and The Ottawa Hospital have been actively engaged in the investigation and contact tracing of individuals or patients who may have been in close contact with the healthcare worker at the hospital. The EOHU has been investigating and tracing contacts in the EOHU region. The investigation is ongoing.
The EOHU is reminding residents of the importance of staying at home in order to reduce the risk of getting or spreading COVID-19. It is also recommending the following:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you have just cleaned your hands
• Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or into your arm, not your hand
• Practise social distancing: do your best to keep at least 2 metres away from others
• Stay/work at home as much as possible and avoid non-essential outings
• Stay at home if you are sick
• If you are over the age of 70, stay at home unless absolutely necessary
“With an increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Ontario and across Canada, we anticipate that there will be a growing need for COVID-19 testing and assessments in our community as well,” says Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health. “We’re hoping that a mobile testing/assessment service will help reduce the number of people calling 911 and visiting hospital emergency rooms, unless they require urgent care.”
In-home testing/assessments will only be offered to more vulnerable individuals who meet the Ministry of Health’s criteria. Residents who think they have COVID-19 symptoms and who are age 70 or older, or who have compromised immune systems or chronic health conditions should call the EOHU at 613-933-1375 or 1-800-267-7120. They should not call EMS or 911 unless they have severe symptoms and require urgent care.
Public health nurses are staffing the EOHU phone line 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. They will assess symptoms and provide instructions to callers. These could include recommendations to self-monitor, self-isolate or seek medical care.
Based on the telephone assessment, if testing may be required for an individual at higher risk, the EOHU will coordinate with the Community Paramedic Program to send a paramedic to the individual’s home to conduct an assessment and if needed, a COVID-19 test.
At the same time, the EOHU, in partnership with the Hawkesbury and District General Hospital, is opening a COVID-19 testing and assessment centre in Hawkesbury March 23.
The centre at 750 Laurier S. will be open Monday through Friday each week, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“The aim of the testing/assessment centre is to increase access to COVID-19 testing and medical assessments for EOHU area residents, while reducing the strain on 911, EMS and hospital emergency rooms so that they can focus on urgent care,” says Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health. “It will also reduce the risk of spreading the virus in hospitals and doctors’ offices, helping us to protect healthcare workers and other patients from COVID-19 infection.”
Testing/Assessment Centre limited to people with moderate, worsening (but non-severe) symptoms
The EOHU stresses that not everyone who is concerned that they may have COVID-19 should go to the testing/assessment centre. Only people who have worsening, but not severe, COVID-19 symptoms (such as fever and worsening cough) should go to the centre for testing and/or assessment. Not everyone may be tested; the decision to test will be based on symptoms, travel history, and contact history.
Residents with mild symptoms that can be managed at home should not show up at the centre as they will not be tested or assessed. Residents who have symptoms and are age 70 or over, or who have chronic medical conditions or compromised immune systems should call the EOHU at 613-933-1375 or 1-800-267-7120. Anyone experiencing severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing should call 911 or go to the hospital emergency room.
For additional details, visit www.eohu.ca/coronavirus.
“HGH is grateful for this partnership with the Eastern Ontario Health Unit. This COVID-19 Assessment Centre will help protect our patients, their families, our employees and our physicians,” states Dr. Julie Maranda, Chief of Staff at the Hawkesbury and District General Hospital. “The hope is we can stay ahead of the game and prevent the spread of the virus as much as possible.”
Additional testing/assessment centres are expected to open in the region soon. The EOHU will notify the public when these centres become available.
Doctors petition government
Dr. Melissa Yuan-Innes has started a petition urging the federal government to assure health care professionals have personal protective equipment.
The petition reads:
"Our front line health care workers are already running out of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as N95 masks, surgical masks, gloves, and gowns. We also need access to hoods, face shields, goggles, and other protective equipment. There is a critical shortage of COVID-19 test kits, ventilators, hand sanitizer, and medications that might treat COVID-19 patients.
This is unacceptably dangerous for health care workers and, in turn, the public.
We understand the shortage is because many items were manufactured in China and Italy and that there is a global shortage.
We urge you to mount a war-like effort to
1. Repurpose factories and skilled workers now to manufacture these items domestically and prioritize distribution to health care workers, who are not only human beings with their own hopes and dreams, but offer irreplaceable skills during a pandemic;
2. Call on individuals to donate sealed items that they have stockpiled to hospitals and clinics, and educate them about scarcity;
3. Research how we can reuse existing stock more safely in the face of COVID-19 with bleach, UV light, or other techniques, and the possibility of reusable cloth masks or gowns;
4. Liberate any stockpiled PPE from the SARS epidemic. Many of us would be willing to sign waivers and use expired PPE rather than nothing;
5. Buy any possible stock from China and other countries;
6. Expand COVID-19 testing capabilities and treatment facilities;
7. Repurpose distilleries to manufacture hand sanitizer; and
8. Manufacture chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), and anti-virals that could potentially treat COVID-19 patients but are currently backordered and unavailable.
In the meantime, it would help our efforts greatly if you legislated every individual to self-isolate."
In order to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, The News office is closed to the general public but we are still working.
Our paper will continue to be published every Wednesday, as usual.
We encourage our customers to contact us by phone or e-mail.
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Updates will be provided at glengarrynews.ca
We hope you understand the precautions we have taken.
Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.
Afin de faire face à la pandémie de COVID-19, le bureau est fermé au grand public mais notre personnel demeure en fonction.
Notre journal continuera d'être publié tous les mercredis, comme d'habitude.
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Des mises à jour seront fournies sur notre site web:
Merci pour votre patience et votre compréhension durant cette période.
Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health at the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU), has confirmed a second positive case of COVID-19 in the EOHU area. The male in his 60s is from Prescott-Russell, and was tested March 14.
Following testing, the individual was discharged home where he remains in self-isolation.
The individual experienced mild symptoms of fever, cough, headache and generalized aches and pain. Late in the day on March 17, the individual’s test came back positive for COVID-19.
While the public health investigation is ongoing, it is known that the individual returned from a trip to the United Kingdom March 11 and developed symptoms later that day. The EOHU is actively engaged in the process of contact tracing for other individuals who may have been in close contact with the man.
“Having another confirmed case in our area is not unexpected given the transmission of this virus around the world,” says Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health at the EOHU. “This case is also imported from outside of Canada. Our current containment process aims to identify and isolate individuals to limit the spread into our community and it is working.”
Dr. Roumeliotis adds that at this point, there is no evidence of local community spread, and the risk remains low for the region. “We will continue to work collectively through personal hygiene precautions and community-based public health measures in keeping with the provincial government’s declaration of a State of Emergency in Ontario.” He adds that these measures may expand, depending on circumstances. At this time, measures include social distancing, limits on mass gatherings, closure of public and private schools, licensed daycares, churches, public libraries and many businesses such as gyms, cinemas, dine-in restaurants, bars and nightclubs. For a full list of closures, visit www.eohu.ca/en/article/2020-03-17-1.
The EOHU continues to work closely with the Ministry of Health, local hospitals, healthcare providers, as well as provincial and national partners to monitor, detect and contain any cases of COVID-19 in the community.
To reduce the spread of germs including the flu and COVID-19, the EOHU recommends that you:
Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you have just cleaned your hands
Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or into your arm, not your hand
Practise social distancing; do your best to keep at least 2 metres away from others
Stay/work at home as much as possible and avoid non-essential outings
Stay at home if you are sick
If you are over the age of 70, stay at home unless absolutely necessary
Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, issued the following statement in response to a death in Ontario potentially related to COVID-19:
"It brings me great sadness to report a death in Ontario that is potentially related to COVID-19.
The individual was a 77-year old man who passed away on March 11 at the Royal Victoria Hospital. This individual was a close contact of a positive case andCOVID-19 was recently identified after death. The coroner's investigation is ongoing and more will be known about the specific cause of death in the days ahead.
I know all Ontario families join me in extending our heartfelt condolences to his friends, family and loved ones. I would also like to thank all the staff who provided him excellent care.
This death is further evidence of the increasingly seriousness of the situation we are in, which is why the province has been taking decisive steps to manage the spread of COVID-19 in Ontario. Earlier today, the Ontario government enacted a declaration of emergency closing all facilities providing indoor recreational programs, public libraries, private schools, licensed child care centres, theatres, cinemas, concert venues and bars and restaurants, except to the extent that such facilities provide takeout food and delivery. These closures are effective immediately.
The declaration also prohibits organized public events of over 50 people, including parades and events and communal services within places of worship until March 31.
It is now more important than ever that we all take steps to reduce opportunities for transmission. By working together, we can make a different in this outbreak and protect those among us who are most vulnerable to COVID-19."
There are now 180 positive cases in the province.
Visit Ontario's website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.
The Ontario government has declared a state of emergency, officially forcing the closure of many public facilities, in an effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
"We are facing an unprecedented time in our history," said Premier Doug Ford. "This is a decision that was not made lightly. COVID-19 constitutes a danger of major proportions. We are taking this extraordinary measure because we must offer our full support and every power possible to help our health care sector fight the spread of COVID-19. The health and wellbeing of every Ontarian must be our number one priority."
The following establishments are legally required to close immediately:
All facilities providing indoor recreational programs; public libraries; private schools; all child care centres;
bars and restaurants, except to the extent that such facilities provide takeout food and delivery; all theatres and concert venues.
Further, all organized public events of over fifty people are also prohibited, including parades and events and communal services within places of worship.
These orders will remain in place until March 31, at which point they will be reassessed and considered for extension, unless this order is terminated earlier.
In alignment with provincial and federal governments, Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health at the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU), is strongly recommending the temporary closure of the following types of establishments to prevent the spread of COVID-19, effective as of March 18 and until further notice:
Churches and other places of worship
Businesses that provide food takeout and delivery options are encouraged to continue providing their services to the public, as these options will help limit social interactions between people.
Along with these measures, the EOHU is advising people not to gather in groups larger than 50. “These measures are an unprecedented step to protect the health and safety of all residents in the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, Prescott and Russell, and the City of Cornwall,” says Dr. Roumeliotis. “Adopting social distancing measures will help limit the spread of COVID-19 in the community, and protect the most vulnerable residents, including seniors and people with pre-existing health conditions.”
The EOHU is also recommending that people stay home when possible and avoid non-essential outings. “Staying home will help protect your health and that of your loved ones,” says Dr. Roumeliotis, adding that “it will also help ensure that healthcare professionals can focus their efforts on those who need it most.”
Avoid Non-Essential Travel
In addition to the measures above, the EOHU is reminding the public to avoid non-essential international travel. Residents who have travelled outside of Canada must also self-isolate for 14 days upon their return.
For more information about COVID-19, please consult EOHU.ca/coronavirus and Ontario’s website at Ontario.ca/coronavirus, where you’ll find the new self-assessment tool.
Effective March 16, the Township of South Glengarry's municipal office at 6 Oak St. in Lancaster, all recreation facilities, community centres, SDG libraries and municipal fire stations will be closed to the public. While the Township's municipal offices will be staffed, there will be no public access to these premises during this time to ensure the health of our residents and staff.
The council has postponed the first instalment of interim taxation to April 30. Preauthorized payments scheduled to be withdrawn on the due date, will now be withdrawn April 30.
Interest will also not be charged on outstanding water bills until further notice.
To make a payment, use the secure drop-box at the front of the building or consult your banking institution. For all other inquiries the township encourages all residents to call the office or communicate by email.
"South Glengarry will be monitoring all important and applicable announcements and websites and will remain a cooperative and responsible municipality for the betterment of our residents and staff," stated CAO Tim Mills. "The health and safety of our residents are our highest priority. As new information is constantly being released, the need for speedy decision making is likely."
The first case of COVID-19 in Eastern Ontario is a woman in her 30s from Prescott-Russell.
She is a nursing student at St. Lawrence College in Cornwall, who returned home from a trip to New York March 9 and developed mild symptoms of cough as well as generalized aches and pain. On March 12, she presented herself to the emergency department at the Glengarry Memorial Hospital in Alexandria.
The information was shared today by Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health at the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU), during a teleconference.The hospital took all necessary precautions and followed standard operating procedures, including infection control, testing, and assessment. Following testing, the patient was discharged home where she remains in self-isolation and is improving.
Late in the afternoon March 14, the test came back confirming that the woman had COVID-19.
To date this is the only positive COVID-19 case in the EOHU region.
Public Health Investigation
The province received the information about a positive case and updated its website immediately at 5:30 March 14. This information was released by the province before the EOHU was able to issue a press release. However, the health unit had already begun the process of contact tracing to determine who might have been exposed to the woman.
The EOHU’s investigation determined that the positive student attended only one class at St. Lawrence College after returning from New York. This was March 10, the day after her return. She also attended a group meeting with three people on this same date. At this time, she had no respiratory symptoms. Symptoms only developed the next day.
Close Contacts Being Monitored and Self-Isolating
Out of an abundance of caution, the EOHU identified four potential close contacts with the woman, who are now being monitored and are self-isolating. One is a contact from the class the woman attended, and the other three are the students who were part of the group meeting.
Beyond these contacts, there was no threat to the rest of the campus, including residences. St. Lawrence College has made the decision to close the campus. The EOHU does not feel that the College was at risk because of this single positive case, since it has been diligent in tracking down the contacts of this case, and her exposure was limited.
However, the EOHU supports the closing of the campus as part of collective social distancing measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread in general. Again, this is not because of this specific case, but because the health unit has recommended the closing of schools and other gathering places in general.
Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health at the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU), has confirmed the first positive case of COVID-19 in the health unit’s area. The woman in her 30s is from Prescott-Russell, and presented herself to the emergency department at the Glengarry Memorial Hospital in Alexandria March 12.
The hospital took all necessary precautions and followed standard operating procedures, including infection control, testing, and assessment. Following testing, the patient was discharged home where she remains in self-isolation, following Public Health direction and is improving. The patient experienced mild symptoms of cough as well as generalized aches and pain.
While the public health investigation is ongoing, it is known that the individual returned from a trip to New York City on March 9 and developed symptoms 2 days later. The EOHU is actively engaged in the process of following up with a small number of close contacts of the individual.
“Having a confirmed case in our area is not unexpected given the transmission of this virus around the world,” says Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health at the EOHU. “This is a case imported from outside of Canada. Our current containment process aims to identify and isolate individuals to limit the spread into our community and it is working.”
“At this point, we do not have any local community spread and the risk remains low for our region,” states Dr. Roumeliotis. “We will continue to work collectively through personal hygiene precautions and community-based public health measures (such as social distancing, school closures and limiting mass gatherings) to contain the virus as much as possible.”
The EOHU is working closely with the ministry of Health, local hospitals, health care providers, as well as provincial and national partners to monitor and detect any cases of COVID-19 in the community.
To reduce the spread of germs including the flu and COVID-19, the EOHU recommends that you:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you have just cleaned your hands
- Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or into your arm, not your hand
- Stay home if you’re sick
- Avoid visiting people in hospitals or long-term care centres if you’re sick
Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.
North Glengarry has cancelled public programming within the municipality. All March Break Activities that were scheduled to take place during the break have been cancelled. This includes events scheduled to take place at the Tim Hortons' Dome, the Glengarry Sports Palace and the Maxville and District Sports Complex. The March Break Day-Camp has also been cancelled.
"We encourage all residents to educate themselves on the COVID-19 virus. This is best done through the Eastern Ontario Health Unit's website and other reliable sources," said North Glengarry CAO Sarah Huskinson.