Algoma Public Health has changed its COVID-19 reporting methods to include a more detailed breakdown of positive cases in the Algoma district.
These changes – which now reveal positive cases by subregion – show that there are currently eight positive cases in Sault Ste. Marie and the region, a sub-region that also includes the Batchewana First Nation, Garden River First Nation, as well as the townships of Laird, Prince and Macdonald, Meredith and Aberdeen Additional.
“We have always had a plan in place to provide as much information as possible while meeting our obligations to comply with privacy laws. As the number of cases increased – now that we have more than 10 cases and the numbers are a bit distributed by sub-regions – we were able to post it on our website, “said Dr. Jennifer Loo, doctor Health Assistant and Director of Health Protection for Algoma Public Health. “You will notice that the weak numbers are always removed – this is very common practice at Statistics Canada and other statistical agencies when reporting weak numbers. “
“Again, we always want to report as much information as possible, as soon as we are able to do so. “
Dr. Loo says Algoma Public Health could model future COVID-19 reports based on more detailed epidemiological summaries published daily by Ontario Public Health if the number of positive cases increases.
“We are trying to look at the information that is reported, particularly in this type of overall epidemic curve format, or what is called an epidemiological curve, or epi-curve,” she said.
Although the old approach to COVID-19 reporting has raised concerns among members of the public, not to mention the mayor and members of Elliot Lake, Sault Ste. Marie-mayor Christian Provenzano has come to understand and respect the position of the health unit.
“When we had the first positive result, my first question to Algoma Public Health was” is it in Sault Ste. Married? “And they wouldn’t give me this information,” he told SooToday on Friday. “So, I can tell you my first reaction to this, I thought it was strange. I did not understand why they did not give me this information, but they explained it to me and I accepted what they said as responsible. ”
“So from the start, I hoped that Algoma Public Health would release the information if it did.”
Provenzano continues by paraphrasing the reasoning behind the initial approach of the COVID-19 reporting method from the health unit:
“There is a problem with small numbers because when the numbers are small, it is difficult to give certain information without actually identifying who the person is,” said Provenzano. “So if this first case was not in Sault Ste. Marie, and if it was in a small community, if they identified the community in addition to all of the other information they provided, they may have inadvertently identified the person in that community. “
Earlier this month, Elliot Lake mayor Dan Marchisella used a public information session to accuse Algoma Public Health of imprecision and inconsistency when it comes to providing credentials Community specific for reported COVID-19 cases.
“I think there will always be disagreements, and certainly sometimes anxiety, fear and temper can skyrocket. I think the important thing is that, independently, we continue to work closely with Elliot Lake as well as with all of our municipalities, “said Dr. Loo, when asked about the critics. “There are meetings, teleconferences and emails all the time, and again, our goal is actually the same: we all want to protect our communities.”
“There may be disagreements over which strategies to implement when, but I think it is important to remember that we are really in the same boat, and our ultimate goal is exactly the same – we want to protect the population of Algoma. “
Although Algoma Public Health’s more detailed COVID-19 report now breaks down positive cases by subregion, Dr. Loo says now is not the time to start relaxing current public health measures, which include staying at home as much as possible, physical distance in the community and hand washing for 20 seconds.
It is the measures, she says, that will ultimately help break the train of transmission.
“When we publish a breakdown of cases by area of residence, we have been very clear that even if in some areas there is no confirmed case of spread in the community, that does not mean that it does not happen not there, “said Dr. Loo. “Whenever someone has a positive test, they could have been sick for a week before taking the test, and they could have been exposed the previous two weeks. “
“So the tests only give us a picture of the people who have been exposed and infected in the past – we have to take action based on what’s going on, and only one community in Algoma and each person in Algoma has to behave as if there is a community spread right now in our communities. ”
The 11th and 12th positive cases have been reported by Algoma Public Health in the past two days, with the 11th case providing evidence of community transmission.
Here are Friday’s COVID-19 figures from Algoma Public Health:
- 1120 tested
- 12 positive
- 897 negatives
- 211 pending
- 0 deceased
- 6 resolved
COVID-19 positive cases, broken down by region:
- 8 in Sault Ste. Marie and the region
- less than 5 in central and eastern Algoma
- less than 5 in Elliot Lake and area
- 0 in the north of Algoma
Here are the COVID-19 reporting regions for the District of Algoma, as defined by Algoma Public Health:
The center and east of Algoma includes: Blind River, Bruce Mines, Hilton, Hilton Beach, Huron Shores, Jocelyn, Johnson, Mississauga First Nation, Plummer Additional, St. Joseph, Tarbutt and Tarbutt Additional, The North Shore, Thessalon, Thessalon First Nation
Elliot Lake and area include: Elliot Lake, Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation, Serpent River First Nation, Spanish
North Algoma includes: Dubreuilville, Michipicoten First Nation, Missinabie Cree First Nation, Wawa, White River
Sault Ste. Marie and the region includes: Batchewana First Nation, Garden River First Nation, Laird, Macdonald, Meredith and Aberdeen Additional, Prince, Sault Ste. Married