Did you know that we’re in a second wave of COVID-19? The numbers from across Ontario certainly show we are, and, as predicted, it seems like this second wave is worse than the first. With the numbers quickly adding up in our area, and the fact that we were moved into level orange on Monday with much of the rest of the GTHA, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Nicola Mercer is asking all residents to step up to get that curve re-flattened.
“It is now clear that people acquire COVID-19 from their friends and family in a home setting,” Dr. Mercer said in an open letter posted to the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health website. “They then take it into schools, workplaces, places of worship and long-term care homes or hospitals. The reality of this disease is then seen in classroom closures, loss of income for many and, sadly, death for some.”
Mercer said she’s concerned because there’s definitely a noticeable trend now with younger people being admitted to the hospital with serious complications from contracting COVID-19. The source, Mercer said, is personal gatherings in private homes whether that’s celebrations like birthday parties, or something more low key like catching up with friends over coffee.
For this reason, Mercer said that people have to be extra cautious now: do not go into a home that’s not yours, and do not let anyone who doesn’t live with you into your home.
“I know it will be difficult for everyone. But to be safe, everyone should comply as fully as possible to stop the spread of this disease,” Mercer explained. “If someone you love has to come into your home for mental or physical health reasons, wear masks at all times and keep apart as much as possible, wash hands and get tested if symptoms develop.”
The COVID-19 status report released Tuesday from Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health added five new cases to bring the total number of active cases up to 119. That is down by nine from Monday, but there was a huge jump in the number of new cases after the weekend. On Friday morning, there were 100 active cases in the three municipalities, but then there were 128 on Monday morning, with the vast majority of those cases being in Guelph (44) and Wellington (55).
According to the weekly trends, last week set a new record for the most number of new cases in a seven-day period with 102. In fact, the last time that the weekly new case count got anywhere close to that number was back on the week of March 29 when the number of new cases over seven days was 83.
Aside from just the usual concerns about the spread of a deadly pandemic, everyone now has thoughts about the coming Christmas season and spending time with families. A few weeks ago on the Guelph Politicast, Mercer expressed her hope, and her hesitancy, about the odds of a Christmas season that’s even close to normal.
“I share hope it will not be a completely virtual Christmas a year, and yes, it’s tricky” Mercer said. Her non-tradition Christmas tips include sequestering yourself for two weeks before visiting more elderly relatives, and to take part in Christmas activities that are outdoors and do not involve food or drink since it requires one to take off their mask, and since alcohol reduces one’s likelihood to follow public health advice.
“It’s not going to be the same Christmas this year, it really isn’t, but I do think that we can modify our traditions for one year only. And I believe that Christmas in 2021 will be a much more normal looking Christmas for all of us,” Mercer added.
You can read Dr. Mercer’s open letter in its entirety here.