Oxford-Elgin might be moving toward COVID-19 ‘red tier’

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Southwestern Public Health reported 19 new cases of COVID-19 last Friday, bringing the total number of active confirmed cases in the Oxford-Elgin region to 72.

By Monday, those numbers had surged to 102.

It also reported the region’s eighth death last week, an 89-year-old Norwich Township man.

“These numbers are predictive of a move to the Red Tier of Ontario’s Safe and Open Strategy which will have a significant impact on our local businesses,” said Dr. Joyce Lock, Medical Officer of Health for Southwestern Public Health in a Friday media release.

“These numbers – some of the highest of the year for us – are also predictive of an increase in serious illness, hospitalizations, ICU stays, and death.

“There is good news, however,” Lock added. “The good news is that each of you has what it takes to bring these numbers down, to decrease the amount of virus circulating in our community, and to lower the risk to the community we love.”

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The health unit is asking the public to focus on three actions that will reduce the most common sources of transmission seen in our region:

  • Maintain physical distance and wear a face covering in the workplace. The virus spreads quickly and easily when people are close together and unmasked, particularly in areas like break or lunchrooms.
  • Limit close contact to members of your household. Close contact is within two metres for longer than 15 minutes.
  • Stay home and get tested if you experience even one symptom. A test is the only way to know if your symptoms are COVID-19 related. Once you know your result you can take action to keep your loved ones safe.

Six of the Oxford-Elgin region’s 102 COVID-19 cases reported Monday morning are Tillsonburg residents.

Woodstock had Oxford’s highest number at 23, followed by Ingersoll 13, Tillsonburg 6, Zorra 5, Norwich Township 4, Blanford-Blenheim 2 and South-West Oxford 2.

St. Thomas jumped from 12 to 22 cases on the weekend. Aylmer has 19 COVID-19 cases, and Southwold 1. Bayham had five new cases on the weekend.

Southwestern Public Health COVID-19 assessment centres are currently available in Woodstock, Tillsonburg, Ingersoll and St. Thomas.

The assessment centre in Tillsonburg at 17 Bear St. tested 286 people last week.

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