Pembroke -- Three new cases of COVID-19 in Renfrew County and district were confirmed on Tuesday, bringing the total of confirmed cases since the pandemic began to 349.
The Renfrew County District Health Unit (RCDHU) reported on Monday two individuals were in hospital in intensive care and another individual was in hospital. At that point 29 people were in isolation with confirmed cases of the virus.
Last week Dr. Robert Cushman, acting medical officer of health for the RCDHU, issued a stern warning to county residents following a large number of cases identified in the Arnprior and McNab-Braeside area after a gathering in the community which saw a large number of people infected and several businesses affected.
“RCD has been classified as a Green Zone for weeks now, which will likely change if cases continue to rise,” he warned. “Businesses are finally getting the chance to open again, to employ their workers, and to serve their customers delayed needs. The last thing we want to do is to jeopardize our status and clamp down yet again on the economy, or possibly implement more stringent rules in the Arnprior area.”
Last Friday, the RCDHU confirmed nineindividuals that reside in the Town of Arnprior and five that reside in the Township of McNab-Braeside tested positive for COVID-19 in a period of a week. The health unit noted there were 37 high-risk contacts and six local businesses affected. According to the health unit, many of these cases attended the same social gathering, and several others are considered close contacts of those that attended the gathering. RCDHU has directed all persons and business impacted to self-monitor and/or self-isolate until exposure and risks have been assessed by the contact tracing team at RCDHU.
“This will continue to be followed by further testing and investigation, which could lead to more cases over the coming days,” Dr. Cushman said.
The health unit was supported by the mayors of the affected communities in asking for continued vigilance and adherence of COVID protocols among area residents.
“I really encourage the residents of Arnprior to take this virus seriously and not let your guard down,” Arnprior Mayor Walter Stack said.
His comments were echoed by Mayor Tom Peckett of McNab/Braeside.
“With the new variants of concern spreading in other regions across Ontario, we want to ensure that we are taking all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep our community, family and friends safe,” he said.
The county currently has one long-term care home in outbreak. Miramichi Lodge in Pembroke has seen three confirmed cases of the virus.
The health unit has completed 65,633 tests since the pandemic began and although almost 350 cases have been identified so far there have been zero of the more contagious variants identified in the county and district.
COVID testing continues in the county with tests on Thursday in Laurentian Valley, Cobden and Deep River. Friday tests are being done in Arnprior, Horton and Barry’s Bay. Testing is done by appointment and anyone needing a test must call RCVTAC at 1-844-727-6404 to schedule a testing time. Those requiring a test are reminded to wear a face mask or covering, arrive at their scheduled time and bring their health card and proof of address.
Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader