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‘The virus is not done with us’: Grey Bruce COVID-19 cases continue to rise

12 new cases reported in Grey-Bruce on Nov. 19

GREY-BRUCE – The Grey Bruce Health Unit is urging residents to get back to the basics as COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise in the region.

There were 12 new cases reported in the region on Thursday. Six cases were in Southgate, two in Hanover, and one each in Owen Sound, Grey Highlands, the Blue Mountains and Kincardine.

As of Nov. 19, there are 53 active cases in the region. There are 17 active probable cases, which are cases that are not lab confirmed but are high-risk contacts of an active case, and also symptomatic.

GBHU says there are 211 high-risk contacts associated with active cases.

Two cases are currently hospitalized.

A breakdown of COVID-19 cases in the region, by community, as of Nov. 19, 2020. (Grey Bruce Health Unit graphic)

In a press release on Thursday, the health unit said that if the rising trend continues, the case and contact management capacity that is needed to maintain control over the situation will be challenged.

“Based on the increase in numbers, most likely, the Grey Bruce Health Unit will be moving from the Green to the Yellow level of the Ontario’s COVID-19 colour-coded framework in the imminent future,” stated the release.

“This means greater restrictions and enhanced enforcement – including operational restrictions on bars and restaurants, sports and recreational facilities, personal care services, retail spaces and other businesses – an outcome that none of us desires. Collectively, it is in our control to change course.”

Dr. Ian Arra, Grey Bruce’s medical officer of health, believes that the increase in number is likely due to “COVID fatigue.”

“Some people say we are done with the virus. The truth of the matter, the virus is not done with us,” he said.

“The virus is not going to stop, until we stop it.”

Collaboration efforts with Amish and Mennonite communities

In a separate press release on Thursday, GBHU stated that they have a collaborative relationship with the Amish and Mennonite communities, one that has continued to grow throughout the pandemic.

COVID-19 has reached every corner of Grey and Bruce to date including the Amish and Mennonite communities.

GBHU says that many Amish and Mennonite community elders and leaders have chosen to cancel school and church gatherings for various timeframes and are in direct communication with each other and the health unit.

Because of this communication, GBHU says that all COVID-19 information is being shared in those communities and community leaders are asking those with symptoms to isolate at home.

The GBHU’s School Health Team is also working with many school leaders within these communities to assess COVID-19 related needs and says they will act accordingly to ensure that knowledge and resources are shared with community schools as required (masks, hand sanitizer, educational resources).

In order to help slow the spread, public health officials are recommending the following:

  • avoid social gatherings and limit close contacts to your household or the people you live with;
  • maintain two metres of physical distancing from everyone else;
  • wear a face covering indoors and wear one outdoors if physical distancing may not be maintained or if wearing one is required;
  • wash your hands thoroughly and regularly;
  • stay home if you have COVID-19 symptoms, even if mild;
  • “cover your cough”;
  • get tested if you have symptoms compatible with COVID-19, or if you’ve been advised of exposure;
  • people from higher transmission regions should avoid travel to lower transmission regions, except for essential reasons; and
  • download the COVID Alert mobile app.

For more information, visit www.publichealthgreybruce.on.ca.