Dr. Paul Roumeliotis told media on Thursday afternoon that the seven-day rolling average, reproduction and positivity rates had taken the region out of the orange zone and into the red. The Ontario government officially announced the decision on Friday. Unlike Ottawa, which entered the red zone within 24 hours of the announcement, Dr. Roumeliotis said the weekend would provide time for businesses to prepare for added restrictions.
The biggest changes between orange and red included a drop in indoor dining capacity from 100 people to either 50 or 50 percent of capacity (whichever is lower), as well as indoor gathering restrictions moving from 10 people to five. Sports and recreation facilities indoors moved from 50 people to 10, as did meeting and event spaces. Supermarkets needed to trade at 75 percent capacity, while other retailers were limited to 50 percent, and all team sport except for training was banned.
Of the 332 active cases, 205 were variants of concern. Some were linked to the South African variant, but the majority were cases of the mutation first reported in Britain. The variants showed up in 67 percent of new positive cases in the region.
Eighty-four new cases were reported in the EOHU on Monday, of which 34 came from Prescott-Russell. Dr. Roumeliotis said the rate was alarming, and warned that the region was heading to the grey “lockdown” zone based on recent trends.
“Our reproductive number, our positivity rates, our seven-day rolling average are all on the increase, which are not good signs,” he said. “I’m pleading with everyone to please adhere to these guidelines. A lot of these that we see start with gatherings which then spread to the household.”
Two outbreaks were reported at the Hawkesbury and District General Hospital, with 27 patients and five staff members testing positive. Five people have died at the hospital of COVID-19. Across the EOHU, 35 people were hospitalized, of whom five were in intensive care. One new death was reported across the region over the weekend.
No outbreaks were reported at Prescott-Russell schools, but four student cases were reported at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic High School in Russell, two student cases and one staff case were reported at Mother Teresa Elementary School in Russell, one staff case was reported at École élémentaire publique Nouvel Horizon in Hawkesbury, and one student case each were reported at École élémentaire catholique de Casselman – Pavilion St-Paul/Ste-Euphémie, École élémentaire catholique Saint-Joseph in Russell, École intermédiaire catholique in Hawkesbury, École secondaire catholique régionale de Hawkesbury, and Pleasant Corners Public School in Champlain.
Of the 296 cases in the EOHU on Thursday, 90 were in Prescott-Russell communities, including 31 in Russell, 26 in Hawkesbury, 20 in Clarence-Rockland, 12 in East Hawkesbury, 10 in Champlain, 9 in Casselman, 7 in Alfred-Plantagenet, and 1 in The Nation.