Chatham-Kent is COVID free … for the moment

Oct 13 • COVID-19, Feature Story, Local NewsNo Comments on Chatham-Kent is COVID free … for the moment

By Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative 

“There will be more cases in Chatham-Kent. This does not mean that it’s over.”

That from Chatham-Kent’s chief medical officer of health after CK Public Health reported no active cases and no new cases on Tuesday afternoon.

“It means that the community risk of COVID is low in Chatham-Kent. But that is for the moment,” said Dr. David Colby. “I’ll take that in stride, I’m happy about it, but there’s always stuff to do.”

Previously, the closest Chatham-Kent came to being COVID free was in July, with one active case, until an outbreak in the Low-German speaking community occurred.

“The wheels can fall off at any time and we must not relax our vigilance. I’m not relaxing mine.” Colby said. “We must maintain our vigilance particularly with what is going on in the most populated areas of the province. We are not isolated from the rest of the province here.”

No COVID-19 safety rules will be loosened, particularly because most (now including mandatory masking) are implemented by the province, which Colby does not have the authority to override.

“I’m bracing for the next couple of weeks, and hope we don’t see spikes from people travelling.”

Meanwhile, the province reported 1,550 new cases in the past two days.

Colby is asking residents to hang tight on visiting family who live outside the municipality.

“Keep following the rules and we want to make sure this isn’t seeded into our community by migratory factors – people moving from jurisdiction to jurisdiction,” Colby said.

CK Public Health has so far not heard of any incidents, such as large indoor family gatherings, occurring over Thanksgiving weekend, according to Colby.

Thanksgiving, traditionally when students return home for a visit, is concerning but we got through that and will have to keep tracking the numbers to see how we did.”

The most recent cases in Chatham-Kent have all been acquired by direct contact with positive cases (not contracted in public spaces such as grocery stores).

Colby said he will only relax when a vaccine becomes available, hopefully by the end of the year.

Sarnia-Lambton has one active case, which was also the first reported by the Lambton-Kent District School Board. The case was reported to be in the Colonel Cameron Public School in Corunna.

London-Middlesex sits at 93 active cases, Windsor-Essex at 77, Southwestern Public Health (Oxford- Elgin-St. Thomas) at five.

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