Covid alerts in Kemptville

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There have been two COVID-19 alerts in Kemptville during the past ten days. This reflects the general increase in confirmed cases in this area, and a worrying, though not unexpected trend. The staff at WalMart in Colonnade Mall were tested after an individual who was later found COVID-positive had been recorded to have been in the store. The individual was not from this area.

The Leeds Grenville Lanark District Health Unit [LGLDHU] was informed and followed up with a visit to the WalMart store to ensure no-one there had contracted the virus. In a statement to the Times, a spokesperson for the Health Unit said: “Consistent with public health requirements, the Health Unit has followed up on potential exposure of the employees at the Kemptville Wallmart to an individual with COVID-19. The store had all required public health precautions in place for employees. Being very careful, the Health Unit has recommended that the employees, at low risk of having had close contact with the individual, self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days after the employee was present in the store.”

The Health Unit could also reassure the public that they were not at risk from this incident: “Our risk assessment identified that customers were not at risk, so the public does not need to do more than continue with the regular public health guidance about staying home when sick, wear a face covering/mask when in enclosed public spaces, maintaining a 2 metre distance when out, and regularly wash hands”.

The second alert was at Holy Cross school on Clothier Street, when a teacher there reported having symptoms of COVID. Once again, the Health Unit was informed and investigated on site. Students in the teacher’s class were tested and their parents informed by letter. Other students were not considered to be in as high a risk situation, but that assessment has changed. The Health Unit issued statement saying: “Based on the initial investigation, all students and staff were assigned a level of risk. As the investigation has evolved and more information has become available, some students and staff that were initially identified as low risk are now being identified as high risk. The Health Unit has been in contact with all staff and parents/guardians of students whose level of risk has changed to provide updated guidance. Adjusting recommendations based on new information is an essential part of our on-going public health response. Staff or parents/guardians with questions can contact the Health Unit’s school team at 1-866-236-0123.”

The Health Unit’s policy is not to identify individuals by name, nor will they provide details on which grades were affected. “We kindly ask that if you know details to refrain from posting these publicly; be kind and resist the temptation to speculate or share rumours. We all deserve to have our personal health information protected.”

There has been a significant increase in confirmed cases in the area known as UCLG East, consisting of North Grenville, Merrickville-Wolford, Augusta, and Edwardsburgh-Cardinal. Between September 18 and 21, there were three new cases confirmed. That number increased by two by the 23rd, and another two the following day. There were another two new cases the day after that. That is seven new confirmed cases in a week. As of last Friday, there were four active cases in UCLG East, the highest number in the Health Unit’s area, and the highest in this area for many weeks. There is real concern that this number could rise as a result of the two alerts reported last week.

It may, or may not, be a “second wave”, but it is certainly not helped by the groups of young people hanging around together outside the Curling Club and other locations, without social distancing, or masks.

Most of the new cases around the world seem to be in the age group 17-35, as young people assume, wrongly, that they are in no danger. They also seem to ignore the fact that they could infect their parents, grandparents, and other more vulnerable members of their community. Parents should check with their children that they are aware of these dangers.

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