C-K seeing more COVID recoveries than infections

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Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative

Chatham-Kent residents are recovering faster from COVID-19 than they are catching it.

On Tuesday two new cases were reported along with seven recoveries. To date, Chatham-Kent’s cumulative total of COVID-19 cases sits at 330.

Eighty-three cases are still active. Four of those individuals remain hospitalized, up from three a day ago. 

Earlier this week, reports came out that CK Public Health did not notify the public of five cases in Chatham-Kent nursing homes which were thought to be positive.

“This is a very common occurrence across many jurisdictions. We are not concealing anything from the public,” said Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s medical officer of health.

The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) did disclose a case to the public about a staff member who at the time tested positive last week. Upon second testing, the results turned out to be negative.

Colby said the long-term care situation was different because it was in an enclosed setting. At the time there were no indoor visits allowed and the province was mandating that all staff and residents be tested.

Because all residents and staff had to be tested, despite not having any known contact with previous cases, CK Public Health was expecting a fair number of false positives, Colby said.

“If you apply a test broadly to a population not at risk (no previous contact and asymptomatic individuals) you’ll get more false positives than true positives.” 

All individuals that test positive are asked to self-isolate including their close contacts, even if they are suspected of having a false result. Colby said it would have been irresponsible to prematurely disclose the positive cases and create public panic. 

“In a situation closed to the community it would be highly irresponsible to issue a release in cases that could turn out to be a false positive,” he said. “Should you be reporting that there might have been a fire when there was no fire?”

Colby said CKHA’s decision to release information to the public about the positive test result was different because hospitals are open to the public and extra precautions should be taken.

“It’s their call. And they have to be looking at how many people could get infected. If I am thinking somebody is going to be a false positive and it turns out to be real, that is not acceptable. We have to be sure, until that situation is clarified, to take all precautions.”

Another staff member has tested positive this week at CKHA, and this time Colby suspects it will be a true positive because the individual in question had contact with another positive case.

Regional updates

Residents planning to travel to Lambton County can add Petrolia to the list of municipalities mandating masks. On Monday night its council passed a bylaw that requires masks to be worn in public spaces. The bylaw will come into effect Friday at 12:01 a.m. 

Sarnia is the only other municipality in Lambton County mandating masks. There are 12 active cases left in the entire county.

Ontario reported 33 new cases of COVID-19 province wide on Tuesday morning. It’s the lowest number of new cases reported since mid-March. More than half of the new cases reported came from Windsor-Essex and the Southwestern Public Health region (Oxford- Elgin-St. Thomas).

Windsor-Essex will officially go into Stage 3 reopening on Wednesday at 12:01 a.m. 

The county’s active cases are lowering each day. As of Tuesday morning, 131 positive COVID-19 cases remain unresolved. Last week there were more than 200.  Currently there are two outbreaks in long-term care facilities and 10 from workplaces in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

Southwestern Public Health is reporting 69 active COVID-19 cases. Middlesex-London continues to see a low number of unresolved cases, with only 17 left to handle. 

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