COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Wellington County

Facility outbreaks, cases in schools mounting across province, WDGPH region

WELLINGTON COUNTY – Public health officials are reminding residents to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines, as cases in Wellington County continue to rise.

On Nov. 13 the county reported nine new cases and 33 active cases – both equalling record highs set earlier this month.

Across the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) region, there were 16 new cases and 100 active cases on Nov. 13.

Wellington County has reported 55 new cases in the 24 days since its case count reached zero for the first time on Oct. 20.

Over the last three weeks, the county has:

  • reported its third death from the coronavirus;
  • set a new high for daily cases (nine on Nov. 6) – and matched it three times since then; and
  • seen its seven-day average of new daily cases rise from 0.14 to 3.43.

While testing volume has increased in recent months, WDGPH officials are alarmed by increasing infections in Wellington County, noting higher local case counts are evidence COVID-19 is “circulating in the community.”

On Nov. 12, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Nicola Mercer issued three orders closing schools and churches in Old Order Mennonite communities in northern Wellington County and requiring individuals in these communities to follow public health measures.

The orders were made after two outbreaks in the communities and what Mercer called an unwillingness to alter behaviours during the pandemic to help curb the spread of the virus.

Mercer has reiterated the importance for everyone to do their part and follow public health guidelines – especially when it comes to social visits.

She said residents should meet outdoors and avoid:

  • kids’ sleepovers or indoor play dates;
  • dinner parties or similar gatherings; and
  • visiting kids or grandkids indoors.

“During the pandemic we’re asking people not to do that,” Mercer said. “This is behaviour that needs to change.”

She again stressed the importance of wearing masks, washing hands and physical distancing with those outside your own household.

Facility outbreaks

On Nov. 12 WDGPH declared an outbreak at Village of Arbour Trails retirement home in Guelph, although officials did not post the number of cases.

The outbreak is one of five current outbreaks at facilities – long-term care/retirement homes and hospitals – in the WDGPH region.

The others are:

  • Caressant Care in Fergus, one staff case declared on Nov. 8;
  • Village of Riverside Glen in Guelph, four staff cases in four sections of the facility, declared on Nov. 6;
  • Avalon Care Centre in Orangeville (second floor), one staff case, declared on Nov. 5; and
  • Elliott Community in Guelph, two staff cases (one each in the facility’s long-term care and retirement home sections), declared on Nov. 1.

An outbreak is defined by public health officials as one or more confirmed cases of COVID-19.

An outbreak is declared over 14 days after symptoms began in the most recent case and when no other cases are suspect.

Cases in schools

As of Nov. 13, six schools in the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) region are reporting active cases of COVID-19.

None of the schools currently impacted are in Wellington County.

Since September, cases have been reported at 27 schools and four child care facilities in the region.

Almost all the cases are school-related, meaning at least one classroom had to be closed because students/staff may have been exposed.

For more information on confirmed cases at the schools click here.

Provincial trends

On Nov. 12 the province released new modelling that shows Ontario could see 6,500 new cases per day by mid-December.

Ontario’s daily COVID-19 case dipped slightly the next day – down to 1,396 from the record 1,575 logged on Nov. 12.

The seven-day average has risen steadily in the last few weeks, hitting a record 1,355 on Nov. 13.

Over the past week, the province has had an average of 15 virus-related deaths per day, up from seven two weeks ago.

Also on the rise are COVID-19 hospitalizations, which were up to 452 from 380 a week ago.

The number of patients in intensive care unites (ICU) has risen to 106. Officials are predicting that figure will surpass the 150 threshold within two weeks.

Previous modelling has shown that once the number of ICU patients exceeds 150, hospitals will be forced to cancel elective surgeries and other procedures.

When the total reaches 350, officials say it will be “impossible” to maintain non-COVID capacity.