The local health unit reported a new COVID-19 death during the weekend as 49 more cases were detected, including a virus surge in the Brockville area. The death, which was the region’s 55th since the pandemic began, was the first since Jan. 12.
Susan Healey, who speaks for the health unit, said the deceased person was not a victim of one of the COVID variants but she didn’t offer any details about the deceased, citing privacy concerns. The statistics indicate that she or he was not a resident of long-term care or a retirement home.
News of the death came as the weekend’s record-high provincewide numbers affected the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark area as well. There were 118 people with COVID-19 in the health unit on Monday: 49 new cases, but 33 people who recovered for an increase of 16 from Friday’s total.
Twenty-one of the active cases were in Brockville and its area that includes Elizabethtown-Kitley, Front of Yonge and Athens. On Friday, the region had eight cases, indicating the virus spiked by 13 during the three days from Friday to Sunday.
The number of people in hospital with COVID was a growing concern as well. The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit reported 11 of its residents were in hospital with the virus. Four of them were in intensive care and three of those patients required a ventilator.
In response to a provincial directive, Brockville General Hospital on Monday postponed surgeries that require an overnight stay to clear the deck in case room is needed for more COVID patients.
Only emergency and urgent surgeries will be done, BGH officials said in a statement.
“BGH is constantly monitoring daily reports,” it said. “Our hospital and health-care workers will need to be ready to quickly amend any plans to ensure we can support additional bed capacity and respond to transfers and surge activity.”
The hospital added that the province is monitoring the impact on its hospitals and it will allow a return to normal once it is safe.
Meanwhile, the health unit is asking people who visited three businesses to monitor themselves for COVID and get a test if they have symptoms.
Customers at the Brockville Walmart on Wednesday, April 7 from noon to 5 p.m. and anybody at Shoeless Joe’s Sports Grill in Kemptville on April 2, between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m., should watch for symptoms and self-isolate, call the health unit and get tested if they feel sick.
Later Monday, the health unit also advised the same for anyone at the 1000 Islands Brewery, in Brockville, on April 1 between 5 p.m. and closing.
“Some individuals may have become infectious already so it is critical that those patrons who attended this premises at that time immediately self-isolate, go for testing at a local assessment centre, and remain in self-isolation until a negative result is received,” the health unit added.
With the Brockville-area surge and the continuing COVID troubles in Grenville, the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville had 74 of the active cases while Lanark County reported 42. (One person’s residence was unknown and one was at a long-term-care or retirement home.)
Grenville County had 46 active cases while Western Leeds recorded seven as of Monday.
Eastern Lanark, which along with Grenville are the health region’s closest districts to Ottawa, reported 32 active cases on Monday.
Ottawa itself was struggling with record spikes in COVID. There were 339 new virus cases reported Monday, only slightly better than the 377 cases on Sunday.
Provincewide, it was a weekend of daily records of new COVID cases. On Monday, Ontario reported 4,401 new cases, which was the second highest after Sunday’s daily record of 4,456 cases. More than half the new cases were reported in Toronto, Peel and York regions.
In response, Premier Doug Ford announced Monday that schools won’t reopen for in-school learning after this week’s break. Instead schools will return to remote learning for the foreseeable future, he said.
COVID also spiked again in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, which reported 453 active cases on Monday, 71 more than it had on Friday. The increases appeared mainly in the townships near Ottawa, although Cornwall had 130 active cases.
In North and South Dundas, however, there were 11 cases combined, which is down from the 50-plus cases that the municipalities recorded a week earlier.
In Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Public Health, there were 131 active cases mainly because of last week’s outbreak among Queen’s University students.