As the number of COVID-19 cases and frustration levels rise, Eastern Ontario will likely move from “Orange” to “Red” next week under the Ontario response framework.
“It is worrying,” Eastern Ontario Health Unit Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said Monday.
Meanwhile, health unit employees, like their colleagues across the province, are being subjected to verbal abuse.
“The civility is gone,” Dr. Roumeliotis said, pleading with the public to show respect for employees who are working seven days a week to ensure citizens remain safe. The verbal abuse has been so bad that some staff members have been reduced to tears. “They have been yelled at, screamed at,” he said.
When Dr. Roumeliotis contacted Premier Doug Ford about the abuse, the Premier agreed that it was “unacceptable.” Employees “are just doing their jobs,” stressed Dr. Roumeliotis.
The number of active cases in Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, Cornwall and the northern part of Akwesasne rose by 55 to a total of 227 between March 19 and 22. The percentage of variants of concern has increased to about 44 per cent, close to the provincial average. The infection rate for the region as of Monday was 63.7 per 100,000 population. A rate that consistently remains above 40 would prompt the province to move a region into the more restrictive red zone.
Unfortunately, the 2021 Maxville Fair has been cancelled. "Due to the pandemic and the timing of vaccinations, it is not possible to hold our Fair in June," says the Kenyon Agricultural Society. The group adds, it "is closely monitoring the public health restrictions in the hopes that our Metcalfe Centre and facilities can open for public rentals once again in the near future."
“Excellent” progress is being made in the early stages of the COVID-19 vaccination blitz in Eastern Ontario, says Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis.
All long-term care facility and retirement home residents in Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry, Prescott-Russell, Cornwall and the northern part of Akwesasne have received two doses of the vaccine, he said at a media briefing Thursday.
Currently, vaccines are being administered to people aged 80 and over. However, Dr. Roumeliotis expects phase 2, which will include those aged 60 to 79, high-risk people and those who cannot work from home, can begin in April.
The health unit has received 22,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and expects to get another 24,000 doses over the next five weeks.
A total of 37 clinics have been set up in the region with 4,985 seniors over 80 having booked appointments, as of Thursday.
Overall, about 18,000 doses have been administered.
The region remains an “Orange” zone. The number of cases dropped by 29 between March 17 and 18, dropping the total of active cases to 152. Of this number 21 patients are in hospital; three are in intensive care.
During an unprecedented year that saw a significant reduction in traffic on OPP-patrolled roads, collisions in 2020 resulted in a higher fatality rate than in the previous year.
There were 26 per cent fewer collisions in 2020, a total of 55,581 compared to 75,128 in 2019, but the fatality rate was 22 per cent higher when compared to 2019 collisions.
Last year, there were 285 fatal collisions resulting in 305 deaths.
In 2019, there were 304 fatal accidents, claiming 335 lives.
A significant number of the fatalities were preventable and attributed to careless and dangerous driving behaviours.
Among the deaths, 62 were linked to speed, 51 to alcohol/drug use and 45 to driver inattention. Lack of seat belt use contributed to 55 driver/passenger deaths. Transport trucks (or other commercial vehicles) were involved in 6,145 of last year's collisions.
Forty-two motorcyclists were killed, marking a sharp increase over the 27 deaths in 2019. Failing to yield right-of-way and excessive speed were leading factors. In 37 of the incidents, no other vehicles were involved, underscoring the fact that motorcyclists are vulnerable road users who cannot afford to take any unnecessary risks.
Marine fatalities reached a 12-year high and were almost double over 2019, with 32 people killed in boating incidents. Capsized vessels (17) and falling overboard (12) were leading primary causes, with paddlers accounting for half of those who died. As is the case every year, the majority of the deceased (29) were found not wearing a life jacket.
Last year's 23 off-road vehicle fatalities marked the highest number of deaths in 14 years. Eight of those who died were not wearing a helmet. Four of the riders were wearing a helmet, but with the chin strap unfastened. Alcohol/drugs was a factor in approximately one third of the deaths.
The OPP has responded to 15 snowmobile fatalities so far this season, surpassing the 13 deaths during the 2019/20 season. Driving too fast for the conditions was a factor in half of the fatalities. To date, three people have died after their snowmobiles broke through the ice or were driven into open water.
The emergency-grandparent scam has claimed a victim in South Glengarry, warns the Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police.
The victim lost $5,500 after being contacted by a scammer claiming to be her grandson. He said he in custody following a motor vehicle collision. He had minor injuries, but needed money to pay the insurance company of the other vehicle involved. The victim then transferred the amount requested.
To avoid becoming a victim, police advise you to first check with another family member or trusted friend to verify the information before sending money or providing credit card information by phone or e-mail. It is vitally important that the incident be reported every time it occurs, to allow police to investigate and prevent others from becoming victims. If a scam artist contacts you or if you have been defrauded contact your local police service and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC). You can file a report with the CAFC by calling 1-888-495-8501 (Monday to Friday 9:00am - 5:00pm EST) or by using the online reporting tool at www.antifraudcentre.ca
A 14-year-old male has been charged with mischief and damaging property after Stormont Dundas & Glengarry Ontario Provincial Police officers responded to a report of vandalism on Father Ranald Street in Greenfield March 12.
The accused was released from custody and is scheduled to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Cornwall June 3.
The church, the Glengarry Pioneer Museum building, plaques, road signs and mail boxes were all spray-painted.
The Eastern Ontario Heath Unit (EOHU) has announced that COVID-19 vaccines will soon be available to adults 80 years of age and older.
The EOHU is scheduling COVID-19 vaccine appointments by invitation only for staff and essential caregivers of long-term care and retirement homes, and health care workers of the highest and very high priority level in accordance with the Ministry of Health’s guidance on health care worker prioritization.
This will soon be extended to:
Individuals 80 years of age and older
Adult recipients of chronic home care
Indigenous adults living off-reserve
If you have a family member or provide care to someone who falls within one of the groups listed above, please encourage them to get vaccinated. Vaccines are by appointment only and may be made by individuals or their caregivers; walk-in appointments are not available.
"We expect that by mid-March, eligible individuals will be able to make an appointment using our online tool. We will be updating our website as we have more information to share about scheduling COVID-19 vaccine appointments for eligible individuals," says the EOHU.
"If you, or the individual you are booking for, do not fall within one of the eligible groups, please do not try to schedule an appointment. We must keep the online tool and phone lines available for those who are eligible to book an appointment. We are requesting everyone’s collaboration and continued patience as we undertake this enormous vaccination effort," the EOHU adds.
Phase One of the EOHU vaccine roll-out plan is well underway. All long-term care residents have received their two doses of the vaccine and residents of retirement homes have all received their first dose. Staff and essential caregivers of long-term care and retirement homes, and health care workers of the highest and very high priority level are currently being administered their first dose. Vaccine supply continues to impact both the local and provincial vaccine roll out. "As a result, we continue to adjust our local plans to align with Ministry-identified priority populations. We are pleased that access to COVID-19 vaccines is increasing and we are committed to vaccinating our community as quickly as possible. For the latest updates about which population groups are eligible to receive the vaccine and how to access it, please regularly visit the Eastern Ontario Health Unit’s website at www.EOHU.ca/vaccines"
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) is confirming the presence of the first cases of COVID-19 variants of concern (VOCs) in the region. Public Health Ontario (PHO) screens all positive samples for the presence of a mutation and has informed the EOHU that four samples have screened positive and are awaiting specific genetic testing to identify the exact variant types.
Suspected variants have been detected in three staff at the St. Albert Cheese Cooperative in St. Albert, which is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak. The fourth has been identified in a separate single case in the EOHU region. The EOHU is undertaking enhanced contact tracing protocols to identify the source of infection and any contacts for all four of these cases.
While the number of COVID-19 cases in Eastern Ontario has been levelling off, infections continue at area long-term care facilities. As of February 25, there were outbreaks at Maxville Manor, The Palace Long-Term Care in Alexandria, Glen Stor Dun Lodge, Chartwell McConnell, Riverview Manor, Cornwall, Iakhihsohtha Lodge in Akwesasne and Woodland Villa in Long Sault. The number of active cases was 102; three patients have been hospitalized; none is in intensive care, according to the Eastern Ontario Health Unit.
Have you noticed that your butter has been harder than usual? The change in consistency is probably related to feed supplements, named palm oil, used to boost cows’ diets. “Buttergate” has prompted the Dairy Farmers of Canada to set up a special committee to examine fat supplementation in cow feed. “Dairy farmers are uncompromising when it comes to quality and follow some of the most stringent standards in the world to uphold that commitment,” states DFC. From a feed perspective, the Animal Nutrition Association of Canada notes that the use of palm fat in dairy feed is not new and is a safe ingredient, approved for use by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Similarly, Daniel Lefebvre, the Chief Operating Officer from Lactanet, the Canadian dairy centre of excellence, stresses that the inclusion of palm fat supplements in the cow’s nutrition is not a health or safety concern.
For the second consecutive year, the Raisin River Canoe Race has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Raisin Region Conservation Authority notes that the event is one of the longest canoe races in Eastern Ontario. First started in 1973, the race runs from St. Andrews to Williamstown. The race is always held in April when water levels are high.
The event typically sees 350 paddlers every year cheered on by groups of spectators along the 30 km course. For everyone's safety and following the current COVID-19 public health measures in place, the difficult decision was made to cancel the event this year.