COVID Summary: Case skipping serves as a reminder to stay put, says Arra

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The total number of COVID-19 cases at Gray-Bruce increased by five Monday afternoon, bringing the total to 26, the largest local increase for a day.

Dr. Ian Arra, the medical officer of health for Gray-Bruce, said skipping cases should remind people of the importance of isolating yourself, washing your hands, staying away from others and to stop all nonessential travel to pack the spread across the community.

New cases include a man in his sixties, a woman in his thirties, a woman in his forties and a woman in his twenties, all insulators, and a woman in her fifties who is hospitalized. Nine people have recovered, according to the 20th Gray Bruce Health Unit status report.

One of the new cases is a healthcare worker. Now, seven health care providers have tested positive for this new strain of the coronavirus. An Owen Sound long-term care home, Maple View, is listed as having COVID-19 since April 1.

Thirty-four people tested negative, which means they don’t have COVID-19.

Arra declined to say whether more Maple View staff had been infected with the virus, fearing to “stigmatize” the home by doing so.

“Whether there is one case, two or three, the level of risk in an institution has increased, which has necessitated more stringent interventions,” said Arra. “By naming how many more people or how many more health care workers, really, I would worry about stigmatizing the facility.”

He said he checked the public health history of Maple View and “they have a very good record. Their staff actually sat on a committee that worked with our health unit to develop better protocols for all nursing homes and retirement homes in Gray-Bruce. “

He said he also didn’t want to increase the anxiety of Maple View residents or their families who might consider moving their loved ones.

“Frankly, everywhere in Gray-Bruce, the level of risk has increased in any facility similar to this facility. . . the fact that he was hit first more or less is just chance. . . knowing that they have a good record. “

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The Gray Bruce Health Unit released a press release on Monday which, according to Dr. Ian Arra, is in part an attempt to reassure people who have asked for more details about people who tested positive for COVID-19 .

“I would like to reassure the public that all cases of COVID19 that have now been identified to public health meet the requirement of isolation until recovery. We are contacting these people daily for monitoring, “the statement said.

In an interview on Monday, he added, “The repeat question, where is the place? Why don’t you release him? Well, that’s why we don’t publish it. Because the risk. . . is no different whether they live in the next door or in the next town, “he said.

“Anyone should assume that any interaction with another person could (have) an implication of the COVID virus. So it could give false assurance to someone telling him where the case is in city X. If they are in city Z, they may not be as careful. “

The statement also advised people that they should be honest with health care providers and if there is any doubt about it, “public health works with local law enforcement agencies to ensure conformity “.

Public health has so far not reported any cases to the police, said Arra.

“If people are not being honest and are not aware of their own symptoms when they are dealing with health care providers, not just public health,” they could expose these workers to the virus and force them to s ‘isolate from their work,’ added Arra.

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A second Gray-Bruce Bruce Power Town Hall teleconference is scheduled tonight from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. update the public on the latest COVID-19 information and give people the opportunity to speak directly with public health officials.

People will receive a phone call just before 6 p.m. with an invitation to join the event, which will feature medical officer of health Dr. Ian Arra, Mike Rencheck, the president and CEO of Bruce Power, who is again sponsoring the event, and elected officials.

City Hall will be broadcast live by 560 CFOS AM, CKNX AM 920 and 92.3 The Dock and The Shoreline’s myFM. A recording will be available on www.brucepower.com shortly after the end of the information session.

An open discussion teleconference is also scheduled for Thursday in Huron County, also at 6:00 p.m.

The first Gray-Bruce City Hall teleconference was held on March 19.

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Meaford has banned outdoor fires to help firefighters respond to urgent calls facing the threat of COVID-19 disease, said fire chief John deHooge in an ad on the city’s website.

The ban includes burning grass, debris and campfires, even when using an outdoor fire grate, fireplace or hearth. The ban also applies to holders of fire permits. But portable gas or propane barbecues are still allowed.

Similarly, Hanover has announced a ban on open fires and the lighting of fireworks until further notice. The fire permits that have been issued cannot be used until this temporary fire ban is lifted, the notice says on the city’s website.

Bruce County imposed a similar fire ban on April 3 until further notice.

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The Meaford Scarecrow Invasion and Family Festival was canceled on Monday due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Although the event only takes place in the fall, the process of collecting used clothing and accessories usually begins at this time of year, and then volunteers meet in May to start building hundreds of scarecrows, said a festival statement.

“Instead, we encourage our volunteers to practice social distance, stay at home, stay safe and plan to meet this time next year,” for the festival’s 25th anniversary in 2021, a event chair Donna Earl said in the press release.

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