Southwestern Public Health records 71 new cases in one day

Southwestern Public Health on Thursday, Dec. 31, recorded its biggest one-day increase in COVID-19 cases after recording 71 confirmed new cases.

The previous record, 47, was set on Dec. 21.

In a statement issued on Dec. 31, the health unit said that new forecasts indicated 100 or more daily new cases starting in early January.

This represented a critical point in the pandemic to date, SWPH stated.

Dr. Joyce Lock, Southwestern Medical Officer of Health, said, “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.

“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 information put the percentage of COVID-19 cases coming back as positive at 3.5 percent, exceeded “a critical threshold of three percent that health authorities have used to determine if a region is at risk of being overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases.”

The health unit was now essentially asking anyone testing positive to take responsibility for notifying friends, family and co-workers.

“If you have a positive result and have not yet heard from us, please inform your friends, family, coworkers 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,” Dr. Lock said.

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

She suggested taking additional actions to help stop the spread of COVID-19, including:

–Avoid visiting friends, family, and any other people you do not live with;

–Stay at least 6 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.