Lambton sending COVID-19 data to province in hopes of opening


Province to review data over the weekend

Lambton’s Medical Officer of Health is sending local data on COVID-19 to the province today in the hopes of getting Lambton County back to business.

Monday, the province announced stage 2 of the reopening of the province allowing more access to restaurants and bars, outdoor amenities, hair salons and personal services. Twenty-four regions will be reopening, but Lambton will not.

Dr. Sudit Ranade and county officials questioned the move saying Lambton is in the same position as its neighbours who will be opening Friday.

Provincial officials said the fact Lambton is a border community played into the decision, but Ranade says there are no cases of COVID-19 in Lambton linked to the border.

Ranade talked with provincial officials yesterday asking what criteria was used to make the decision.

“It seems like they were sort of general categories of information that they used, such as in health system capacity, things like the number of cases, but it’s really unclear if they had sort of criteria or thresholds for those decisions,” he told reporters Wednesday.

And Ranade says Lambton was never consulted about the move. “We were notified shortly before the the announcement on Monday. So they kind of called to give us a heads up so it wasn’t like a consultation, it was more information.”

Ranade did ask for more information on what information the province made the decision with but officials only outlined the categories the province reviews.

The medical officer of health thinks Lambton hits the most important marks for reopening. “It seems like there is adequate health system capacity, it seems like… I’ve been telling you folks and the rest of the community that our members have been dropping in our curve, it’s been quite flat. And certainly we don’t see large spikes or ongoing transmission in terms of, not knowing where our cases are coming from.”

Ranade and county officials talked with Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey and Monte McNaughton – who is the Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP and the Minister of Labour – to outline the facts.

Bailey, in a statement issued online, says the outbreak at Vision Nursing Home may have been part of the reason for the decision.

“The Ministry of Health has informed me that, following a thorough analysis of current local testing and transmission data, the decision was made to allow for additional time to show a more consistent downward trend,” says Bailey in the statement posted on his website. “While our numbers in Lambton County have been very good recently, two weeks ago we were dealing with an escalating outbreak in a local Long-Term Care home.”

A letter will be going to the province to make Lambton’s case for reopening today.

Bailey says the information will be reviewed over the weekend with a decision possible by Monday.