Guelph/Eramosa councillor voices concerns about COVID mandates

GUELPH/ERAMOSA – After contracting the virus, Corey Woods has used his platform to object to federal and provincial COVID-19 mandates, most of which were removed weeks ago.

The Ward 2 Guelph/Eramosa councillor attended the April 4 council meeting virtually via Zoom and  announced he and his family have tested positive for COVID-19. 

“I wasn’t going to say anything, but I’m going to regret not saying this,” he said. “I’m not vaccinated for COVID. I have COVID.”

Woods went on to say he believes he contracted the virus the previous Thursday, experienced muscle aches that day, but has had no symptoms since then. 

“If you were to believe the media, I should be gasping for air in a hospital bed on a ventilator,” he stated. 

In February, the Guelph/Eramosa councillor donated US$200 to the Give Send Go campaign in support of the “Freedom Convoy” protest that occupied Ottawa for about three weeks.

“I hate the way we are with society. I hate the way we are with media,” he said on Monday. “I hate the way we are with provincial and federal government saying this fear mongering that the unvaccinated are going to die of COVID-19, (that) it’s the unvaccinated’s fault.”

In an apparent reference to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Woods added, “The dictator of Canada won’t allow unvaccinated people to travel. I can’t get on a plane, I can’t get on train, I can’t get on the bus – I can’t leave Canada.”

Woods also said that after having COVID he is immune for eight to 12 months.

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health associate medical officer of health Dr. Matthew Tenenbaum said COVID-19 symptoms vary from person to person and the level of immunity a person has following infection is unpredictable – as is the length of that protection.

“We do know that you get some benefit, you get some protection and some immune response to an infection,” he explained. 

“But how long it lasts and how strong it’s going to be, is going to be a bit inconsistent and different from person to person.”

Tenenbaum told the Advertiser vaccines and infection “have different ways of stimulating the immune system to generate that immune response.”

Studies have also shown that long COVID is a risk for those testing positive for the virus, even individuals who initially experience “mild” symptoms.

Tenenbaum noted long COVID is still being studied to better understand the implications it will have for COVID patients in the long term. 

He also pointed out that while getting vaccinated does not guarantee full protection against COVID-19, it greatly reduces the risk of experiencing serious illness. 

“We know that the vaccine is not the silver bullet; it doesn’t keep you from becoming infected,” he explained. “Some people are still going to have COVID, but the odds of it being severe are much less if you have the vaccine.”

According to the Ontario Science Table, as of April 5, unvaccinated individuals are 1.5 times more likely to test positive for COVID-19, four times more likely to be hospitalized and seven times more likely to be admitted to an ICU than a person with at least two vaccine doses.

Woods also told Guelph/Eramosa council he takes issue with “the way Canadians are and North Americans are … Let’s vilify everybody for not getting forced to be vaccinated.” 

He added, “hopefully all the discriminatory practices on all levels of government … are lifted.”

Tenenbaum said the goal, at public health at least, has never been to vilify anyone. 

“The intention is always just to make sure people have the information they need to reduce their own risk, and of course, we need to have measures in place that reduce the risk of the population overall.”

No other Guelph/Eramosa councillors commented on Woods’ statement.