Twenty-six new cases were reported in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) catchment area over the weekend, including 17 in Prescott-Russell. Most of those new infections could be traced to existing cases, or were detected in ongoing outbreaks at long-term care homes.
The EOHU website showed 319 new cases were recorded in the region during October, more than all earlier months combined this year. A large number of those cases came from an outbreak at the Prescott and Russell Residence in Hawkesbury, which was first declared on October 9.
Another three residents died at the long-term care home over the weekend, which brought the facility’s toll to 12. Twenty-three of the 83 residents who tested positive had active cases as of Monday afternoon, as did 21 of the 55 staff members who had tested positive.
EOHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said the outbreak appeared to be stabilizing, but more testing had been conducted at the residence on Monday. Red Cross personnel remained at the residence to assist with staffing shortages.
Elsewhere in Hawkesbury, the Burger King dining room on Main Street East remained closed after one case. Dr. Roumeliotis said the health unit had deemed there was no danger to the public. “It was 10 to 12 days ago… we did not ask them to close, we think they did it out of precaution,” he said. A staff member at the Hawkesbury Canadian Tire also tested positive to COVID, but was not directly exposed to the public.
Across the region, 10 active cases were reported across six schools. Tiny Hoppers day care in Rockland had two cases.
Figures from the end of October showed the seven-day rolling average transmission rate in the region had fallen since a peak on October 14. Dr. Roumeliotis said most cases had been clustered, and had benefited from people self-isolating after testing positive.
“Because we know that one is positive, if there’s, let’s say, seven in the household, they’re all going to stay home anyway, so by the time they come back positive they’ve already isolated,” he said. “It’s easier for containment and contact tracing.”
Rapid testing kits were soon expected to be rolled out to health units across the province. Some 74,682 tests had been conducted in the region since the pandemic began
Active cases across Prescott-Russell included 80 in Hawkesbury, 23 in Clarence-Rockland, 9 in Russell, 9 in Alfred & Plantagenet, 8 in Champlain, 6 in The Nation, 3 in Casselman, and 1 in East Hawkesbury.