No new COVID-19 cases reported Monday in Oxford-Elgin

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No new COVID-19 cases were reported in Oxford or Elgin Counties Monday morning.

The Southwestern Public Health region still had 40 confirmed ongoing cases, including two in Tillsonburg.

Four are in hospitals, two in ICU.

Tillsonburg will be in Ontario’s ‘red’ zone for at least another week, according to medical officer of health Dr. Joyce Lock.

On Feb. 16, the region moved to the red zone of the Province’s ‘Safe and Open Framework.’ After two weeks, that could change.

“The government will then closely look at our local data to determine if the region should stay where we are in red or be moved to a different level,” Lock said during a Feb. 17 conference call.

Southwestern Public Health’s Oxford-Elgin region continues to see an encouraging downward trend, said Lock. Yet she also continues to advise people to stay at home as much as possible, wear a face covering when you go out, wash your hands frequently, and avoid close contact with anyone you do not live with.

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“It’s important for all of us to keep this up so that we can continue to have this encouraging downward trend.”

Basic public health practices continue to play a key role in the community’s response to COVID-19, she said.

“Despite how tired we are, the current lull in the number of cases does not mean that the danger has passed for our region.”

It is also important for people to continue COVID-19 testing, she said.

“Testing numbers are down in our region. We have seen a steady decline since the beginning of January. We went from completing over 6,000 tests the first week of January to around 4,000 tests (per week) last week.”

“We can’t make decisions about local COVID-19 risks unless we know what those risks are. People need to get tested, even if they only have one mild symptom. It’s the only way we know the status of the virus in our region.”

There are currently five test centres in the Oxford-Elgin region, including one at 17 Bear Street. Call 1-855-905-6148 (Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) to book an appointment in Tillsonburg.

Tests results are usually available within 48 hours.

A total of 220 people were tested in Tillsonburg last week.

“Please make an appointment to be tested if you have any symptoms at all.”

Common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, new or worsening cough, and shortness of breath. Other symptoms can include sore throat, difficulty swallowing, new olfactory or taste disorder, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, runny nose or nasal congestion (not including seasonal allergies).

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VACCINATIONS

“There is still only a limited supply of vaccine available across Ontario, but despite this, mass immunization planning is well underway at Southwestern Public Health for when we get more vaccine,” said Lock.

Those who are 80-and-older, and most at-risk for hospitalization due to COVID-19, will be vaccinated first. More details on clinic dates and locations will be released soon. Southwestern Public Health will communicate through media channels and family doctors to let people know how to get on the list.

“We receive regular updates from the Province on our allocations for vaccine doses, but we only usually get about a two-week window of what’s ahead. We don’t have a line of sight further than that, and I think that’s because the Province as well only gets so much lead time on its information.

“So we are planning to hopefully be able to start with those who are over 80 as soon as possible, but realistically this may not end up being until the second week in March. When we know more about when we are getting vaccine, and the number of doses, then we will share that information.”

cabbott@postmedia.com

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