By Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative
Chatham-Kent’s COVID-19 messaging has gone stale.
The local board of health wants to bring some new life back into the education for the best safety practices as provincial cases continue to rise.
Their other message? That COVID-19 is still here despite the low municipal cases.
Chatham-Kent reported no new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday afternoon. The three residents with active cases did not contract the virus within the municipality.
Meanwhile Ontario reported 315 new cases on Wednesday. Toronto, Peel, Durham and York totalled 192 new cases and Ottawa accounted for 61.
Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s medical officer of health told the board at Wednesday’s meeting that the local population must continue to maintain caution, physical distancing and frequent hand washing despite Chatham-Kent’s low cases.
There is “the potential or very rapid and intense spread” of COVID-19 in settings where people are associating in large social pockets without social distancing, he added.
April Rietdyk, general ,manager, Health & Family Services, who also sits on the board said creative ways were needed to re-engage the public and remind them that “COVID-19 is still here.”
“For six months now we have walked by the posters of ‘wash your hands’. They’re in the bathrooms above the sink and people have probably, unfortunately, stopped looking at that,” she said.
Coun. Carmen McGregor who sits on the board of health said that a lot of her constituents are feeling confused about all the information.
“People tend to think that when cases are higher in larger urban centres like Toronto that for some reason that’s not going to travel here and that we don’t need to be as strict,” McGregor said.
Out of Chatham-Kent’s neighbouring counties, Windsor-Essex continues to see the highest number of active cases with 92. The county reported 10 new cases on Wednesday.
Middlesex-London has 25 unresolved cases after an outbreak associated with Western University students.
Southwestern Public Health (Oxford- Elgin-St. Thomas) remains with 9 and Sarnia-Lambton sits with two active cases.
Sixty-four per cent of the cases came from individuals under the age of 40.