Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, the Medical Officer of Health in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit insists that health officials are prepared for a potential second wave of COVID-19 cases and is urging people not to panic as the new school year is set to begin in less than three weeks.
The news came after Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said that the Public Health Agency of Canada is preparing for a potential peak of COVID-19 cases in the fall and localized outbreaks until at least January 2022.
In an interview, Dr. Roumeliotis was asked if he thinks Ontario and Canada are prepared for a “post-summer surge” of COVID-19 cases.
“I think we’ve learned a lot from the first wave. We know how the virus behaves,” said Dr. Roumeliotis added that health officials are preparing for a second wave of the virus.
“We know that a certain percentage of people can spread the virus without knowing it, and that’s relatively new – we didn’t think that was the case when it first started.”
The Medical Officer of Health emphasized that it is important for everyone to “collectively” do their part in limiting the spread of COVID-19 through following public health advice and related COVID-19 prevention measures.
“So now, with the mask-wearing that we’re mandating, with the people understanding the importance of physical distancing, the social circles-social bubbles, I do believe that we have a much better scientific knowledge and understanding of the virus,” said Dr. Roumeliotis.
“So, collectively as long as we continue with the measures that we’ve been taking, I think we’ll be able to offset a big second wave in the fall”.
When asked about the possibility of new cases of COVID-19 this fall, especially as schools are expected to reopen this September, the Medical Officer of Health shared that cases of COVID-19 will continue to be reported but he urges people not to panic at the possibility of new cases.
“I can tell you that we will be getting cases, but the trick is to be able to have low enough numbers so we can manage them and manage the surges so they won’t be overwhelming our emergency rooms and our hospitals,” said Dr. Roumeliotis.
“I don’t want people to panic. I think that they should expect that we will be getting what we call sporadic cases here and there, that public health is very well poised to manage. Our main priority in that situation is to identify the case, confirm the case, confirm the contacts and isolate those contacts – that’s the containment phase.”
“As long as we’re able to do that, which I know we can, I believe that just because the odd case here, the odd case there – and sometimes you have more cases one day then the other – as long as the trends are in the right direction and stable I think we’re going to be in a very good position” added the Medical Officer of Health.
Ontario’s COVID-19 Update for Monday, August 17, 2020:
As of Monday, Ontario Health Officials are reporting an additional 99 new cases of novel coronavirus, the second day in a row of less than 100 cases.
Including the new cases that were announced today, the province’s total number of lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 sits at 40,745 cases with more than 90% of cases considered as resolved recoveries.
Ontario’s Health Minister, Christine Elliott said that 29 of the province’s 34 public health units have reported five or fewer new cases of COVID-19 as of Monday, with 17 public health units reporting no new cases at all.
According to the Health Minister, Toronto reported 26 new cases, Peel Region reported 25 new cases, and the Ottawa region reported 19 new cases.
Elsewhere, Waterloo reported 8 new cases of COVID-19 and the York Region reported 7 additional cases of the virus.
As the entire province is now in Stage 3 of Ontario’s Reopening and COVID-19 Recovery plan, many indoor dining settings at bars and restaurants have been allowed to reopen. Additionally, gyms and facial services have also been allowed to reopen.
More than 2.6 million COVID-19 tests have been conducted in Ontario since the virus reached the province in late January.
In the last 24 hours, a little more than 25,000 tests were conducted.
As of 10:30 a.m. on Monday, 15,067 test samples are still under investigation.
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