New cases of COVID-19 should be wake-up call to Island residents, say health leadership

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MANITOULIN – With another case of COVID-19 having been confirmed on Manitoulin (the latest being in Wiikwemkoong within the past week, after a few were recently reported in Mindemoya), it should act as a wake-up call for all residents on the Island that the pandemic is still very much ongoing and that residents need to keep their guard up to protect themselves and others from the pandemic.

“At our (Manitoulin health leadership committee) meeting (last week), we were notified that the 12th confirmed case of COVID-19 has been announced on the Island,” said Dr. Maurianne Reade. “This should be a wake-up call for everyone on the Island, that we have to examine what we are doing all the time, at work, breaks at work, at home, our social life, basically everything, and remain committed to preventing the pandemic from spreading.

“Everyone needs to keep their circle of contact as small as possible, and not get lulled into thinking we are near the end of COVID, with the vaccines starting to be distributed around the country,” said Dr. Reade. 

“At our meeting we talked about a variety of things. Duke Peltier (Ogimaa) Chief of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territories provided a summary of the business initiative there that will be making personal protective equipment. We all needed a good news story and it is exciting that PPE is going to be manufactured locally. Even with the COVID-19 vaccines arriving in Canada and Ontario beginning this week, it won’t change the need for quite a while. We all need to keep adhering to precautions,” continued Dr. Reade. 

Manitoulin Health Centre is revising its surge planning, said Dr. Reade, who noted as well, “people going to the emergency department at local hospitals will see staff wearing even more PPE (personal protective equipment) than they have up to now. Staff will be wearing full PPE equipment—including masks, visor protector goggles, gowns and gloves—to recognize the added seriousness of the situation.”

With the Christmas holidays coming up, “it is so important for people to restrict their holiday gathering (outside) or just those from their own household. If a person lives alone they can pair up with a family, as long as everyone stays in their own little bubble,” said Dr. Reade. 

As well, Dr. Reade pointed out the continued need to stay vigilant against COVID-19. “Not until 70 percent of people have received the COVID-19 vaccine can we even think of relaxing a little.”