Southwestern Public Health Medical Officer of Health Dr. Joyce Lock issued a special appeal to area residents in the face of steadily rising COVID-19 case counts, Wednesday, Oct. 13.
In a statement, she said local numbers “are rising at a time when the seven-day average number of cases in Ontario is declining.
“Most active cases in our region are in people under the age of 40 who are unvaccinated. Many people testing positive for COVID have no known exposure for COVID – they do not know where or how they became ill.
“Before you and your family members leave the house each day, please screen for symptoms of COVID-19. If you have symptoms of illness, you should stay home and get tested.”
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- New or worsening cough
- Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
- Sore throat, difficulty swallowing
- Loss of taste or smell
- Upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Decreased appetite
- Unexplained fatigue, body/muscle aches
The only way to determine if symptoms were the result of COVID-19 or the common cold was to book an appointment and get tested at assessment centres at St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital, Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital and in Woodstock, she stated.
“The ‘rapid tests’ available at pharmacies and some workplaces should not be used if someone has COVID symptoms or has been exposed to someone with COVID. Assessment centres are where you go if you have any symptoms,” Dr. Lock stated.
“I ask you to please keep washing your hands, wearing your face covering, and keeping a safe physical distance between yourselves and others. Avoid crowds and socialize outdoors or in well-ventilated spaces.
“If you are not vaccinated, please wear your face covering whenever you are around people from other households.”
She also encouraged getting immunized against COVID-19 with either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
Southwestern reported 13 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Elgin, St. Thomas and Oxford on Wednesday, Oct. 13, about the same as the daily average over the Thanksgiving weekend.
The health unit is now tracking 93 ongoing confirmed cases, up from 87 on Tuesday.
Five area residents are hospitalized with COVID-19, two of them in intensive care units.
The number of ongoing cases in Aylmer and area increased to 14 Wednesday from 13 Tuesday, in Bayham to 13 from 10, in St. Thomas and area to 13 from 12, in Malahide to three from two and in West Elgin to three from two. Dutton Dunwich remained at five.
In Oxford, Norwich rose to nine from eight. Woodstock and area fell to 11 from 12 and Zorra to one from two.
Tillsonburg and area stayed at eight, South-West Oxford at six, East Zorra-Tavistock and Ingersoll and area at three each and Blandford-Blenheim at one.
The infection rate for the Southwestern region stands at 44 ongoing cases per 100,000 of population, up from 41.1 Tuesday.
Across Ontario, 306 new cases were confirmed Wednesday, down from 390 on Tuesday.