Thursday, January 21, 2021

We’ve Moved From Green to Yellow, Can We Get Back to Green?

A little over a month ago I wrote about how well the Grey-Bruce region has fared during this COVID-19 pandemic when compared to the rest of the province. How things have changed in just a few short weeks.

In mid-October I wrote that, while Ontario had seen roughly 60,000 of its residents test positive for the virus, as of Monday, October 12, only 155 of those positive cases were in Grey-Bruce (just 13 in the Municipality of Meaford). And though Ontario has seen more than 3,000 deaths as a result of the virus, in Grey-Bruce we have fortunately not seen any deaths thus far.

In the roughly six weeks since, we have seen positive tests skyrocket in Grey-Bruce. While we only had 155 positive cases on October 12, some seven months into the pandemic, as of November 23 we have now seen an additional 128 positive tests for a total of 283 thus far. It took Grey-Bruce more than seven months to reach 155 positive tests, but just six weeks to nearly double that total.

In Meaford, our numbers have remained steady throughout this recent spike, with no new cases having been added to the 13 previously confirmed positive tests. All around us however, the numbers have been surging. Where a few months ago the daily update report from Dr. Ian Arra would advise of no new cases, or perhaps one or two, over the past couple of weeks we have seen daily new cases numbering in the teens.

As a result, beginning on Monday of this week, Grey-Bruce was moved from the green stage to the yellow stage of the provincial monitoring framework, which means some additional restrictions, particularly for local bars and restaurants. This move is concerning, particularly as we have also seen Toronto and Peel move backward into lock-down mode this week, and many are rightly concerned that, as well as we have fared thus far, we in Grey-Bruce could very well be heading toward another lock-down ourselves should our numbers continue to surge.

In mid-October I wrote that, “While we can take some comfort in the minimal impact of this virus in our neck of the woods, now is not the time to become complacent. With a second wave of the virus upon us, along with our traditional flu season, we all need to ensure that we are following health unit guidelines, that we are distancing from others, washing our hands, wearing masks when indoors, and perhaps most of all, remaining calm.”

A little more than a month later, the message remains the same. If we want to avoid being in a lock-down situation as the traditional holiday season approaches, our best bet is to follow the guidance of our local health unit and stay home as much as possible, avoid large gatherings, wash our hands regularly, and if we are indoors in a public setting, we should be wearing face coverings as a preventative measure.

As Grey-Bruce’s top doctor Ian Arra has been telling us for many months, we continue to be in this together, and we will get to the other side of this pandemic together. This week Dr. Arra is asking us to get ‘back to the basics’ by adhering to the following advice:

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Watch your distance (ideally 2 m)
  • Wear your face covering correctly
  • Avoid crowds
  • Arrange for outdoor activities instead of indoors whenever possible
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Avoid close contact (unprotected contact within 6ft of each other) with those from outside your household
  • Avoid travel to areas with higher transmission and minimize non-essential travel
  • Be kind, be calm, be safe

As I have written a time or two in recent months, none of us is enjoying this experience. We have all become exhausted by this entire ordeal, but we have seen that distancing and other protective measures work. We managed to avoid the worst of this pandemic for the first several months, and while we have seen cases spiking in recent weeks, we know what we have to do, like it or not, so let’s take the advice of the health unit, and do our best to avoid a holiday season lock-down.

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