The gift that keeps on taking

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In a season of giving, there’s one thing we really don’t want to give or receive. The covid-19 situation in this region has become more worrying over the past month, and it is really difficult to see how it will improve over the holiday season unless we take better care of each other.

December was not a good month in that regard.

At the end of November, there had been a total of 480 confirmed cases of covid in the UCLG East sector of the Leeds Grenville Lanark Health Unit area [LGLHU], which consists of the municipalities of North Grenville, Merrickville-Wolford, Augusta and Edwardsburgh-Cardinal. By December 18, that number had risen to 628. As of last Friday, there were 50 active cases in the region, all of them in the community, rather than long-term care homes.

Fortunately, in that time period, there have been no further deaths. Of the 53 fatalities since the pandemic arrived, all but four were in long-term care homes or seniors residences. Worryingly, however, the number of confirmed cases is rising sharply. Between December 17 and 18, there were 12 new confirmed cases, compared to six the previous day, and four between December 5 and 6. Around half of all cases are between the ages of 20 and 64, with 41% of cases in the over-65 age group.

As of December 18, as can be seen in the map, there were 90 cases in the UCLG East sector, 7 of which were active. This does compare well with UCLG West, where there are 22 active cases, but it is about average for the rest of the region. The Health Unit issued the following statement when the area was put into the Yellow-protect category:

“Following a sharp increase in people infected with COVID-19 over the past week, Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health for the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit is urging residents to carefully consider their actions at this critical time. ‘We have seen a surge in the number of people newly infected from one or two new cases each day in previous weeks to up to eight new cases each day over the past week. This is affecting local businesses, workplaces, and schools,’ explains Dr. Stewart. ‘The move from Green-Prevent to the Yellow – Protect level in our region over the past two weeks highlights how quickly COVID-19 can spread when precautions aren’t in place. Our staff are working diligently to follow-up and isolate all people with COVID-19 and their high risk contacts to prevent transmission in our community. We are relying on the residents, businesses, services and workplaces in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark to follow precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19 in their settings. It is in our hands to protect our communities, and prevent further restrictions at levels beyond yellow.’”

This is usually a time of family gatherings and group celebrations; but this year is different and we have to adapt. Better to miss out on some fun this season and remain safe and healthy until the vaccine arrives. Covid is the gift that keeps on taking: don’t be complacent and stay safe for everyone’s sake.

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