Southwestern Public Health says region could be overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases

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Southwestern Public Health added 47 cases to its COVID-19 dashboard on Jan. 4, bringing the region up to 401 active cases.

That total is up 106 cases in the last week.

Tillsonburg had 94 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Monday, currently the most in any Oxford-Elgin municipality including St. Thomas (81) and Aylmer (53) and Woodstock (47). Since the first case of CODI-19, Tillsonburg has had 191 cases. Aylmer has had 268 since March, the most in Oxford-Eglin.

SWP reported Maple Manor Long Term Care in Tillsonburg had 50 residents and 33 staff members with COVID-19 on Monday. SWP also reported one person deceased from Maple Manor.

Sixteen people have died in the region from COVID-19.

As of Monday, 19 of the 295 cases in the Oxford-Elgin region were hospitalized, including six in the ICU.

The assessment centre at 17 Bear Street, Tillsonburg, continues to test individuals for COVID-19.

New modelling used by Southwestern Public Health, reported last week, projects 100 daily cases or more in early January. The health unit says this represents a critical point in the pandemic.

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“Once we start to see daily increases approaching 100 per day, it becomes very difficult to conduct contact tracing within 24 hours to contain the virus,” said medical officer of health Dr. Joyce Lock, in a media release.

“Our team is working at maximum capacity, our local health care system is strained, and we are urgently asking for your support to modify behaviours to stop the spread.”

The latest data (Monday) indicates the percent positivity in the Southwestern Public Health region is four per cent. This exceeds a critical threshold of three per cent that health authorities have used to determine if a region is at-risk of being overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases.

“We need to prioritize contact tracing to ensure we contain the spread in high-risk settings, such as workplaces, long-term care homes, and in schools. It may take us longer than 24 hours to notify positive cases elsewhere,” said Lock.

If you are tested for COVID-19, you are encouraged to check for your own test results online at

https://covid19results.ehealthontario.ca:4443/agree. Those who test positive must stay home and follow instructions from public health.

“If you have a positive result and have not yet heard from us, please inform your friends, family, co-workers and anyone else you had contact with so that they can self-isolate and get tested. A close contact is anyone you have been within six feet of for more than 15 minutes, even if you had a face covering on,” said Lock.

“It is also advisable to download the COVID Alert App and keep a list of the places you may have been and any close interactions you have had over the past two weeks.”

Additional actions that can help stop the spread:

  • Avoid visiting friends, family, and any other people you do not live with.
  • Stay at least six feet away from people you do not live with.
  • Wear a face covering in public spaces, even when outdoors.
  • Maintain distance from coworkers – such as eating alone during lunch breaks.
  • Stay home if you are sick, even if your symptoms are mild.

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