Oxford-Elgin might be moving toward COVID-19 ‘red tier’

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Southwestern Public Health reported 19 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the total number of active confirmed cases in the Oxford-Elgin region to 72.

It also reported the region’s eighth death, an 89-year-old Norwich Township man.

“These numbers are predictive of a move to the Red Tier of Ontario’s Safe and Open Strategy which will have a significant impact on our local businesses,” said Dr. Joyce Lock, Medical Officer of Health for Southwestern Public Health in a media release.

“These numbers – some of the highest of the year for us – are also predictive of an increase in serious illness, hospitalizations, ICU stays, and death.”

For the Red Tier restrictions, see Ontario.ca

“There is good news, however,” Lock added. “The good news is that each of you has what it takes to bring these numbers down, to decrease the amount of virus circulating in our community, and to lower the risk to the community we love.”

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The health unit is asking the public to focus on three actions that will reduce the most common sources of transmission seen in our region:

1) Maintain physical distance and wear a face covering in the workplace. The virus spreads quickly and easily when people are close together and unmasked, particularly in areas like break or lunchrooms.

2) Limit close contact to members of your household. Close contact is within two metres for longer than 15 minutes.

3) Stay home and get tested if you experience even one symptom. A test is the only way to know if your symptoms are COVID-19 related. Once you know your result you can take action to keep your loved ones safe.

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Four of the Oxford-Elgin region’s 72 COVID-19 cases reported Friday morning were Tillsonburg residents.

Woodstock currently had the highest number at 19, followed by Ingersoll 10, Norwich Township 5, Tillsonburg 4, Zorra 4, Blanford-Blenheim 2 and South-West Oxford 1 in Oxford County.

Aylmer had 14 COVID-19 cases, St Thomas 12 and Southwold 1.

COVID-19 assessment centres are available in Woodstock, Tillsonburg, Ingersoll and St. Thomas.

The assessment centre in Tillsonburg at 17 Bear Street tested 209 people this week as of Thursday.

Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit is reporting 40 active COVID-19 cases of Friday, and Middlesex-London had 252 active cases, up 25 since Thursday.