Lambton Public Health to talk to bars about ways to trace patrons in case of a COVID-19 case

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Lambton’s Medical Officer of Health hopes to talk to bar owners to find ways to make sure health officials can track who was there should a COVID-19 case be found.

Bars and restaurants are among the businesses allowed to reopen Friday in Lambton County. In other countries of the world, the number of COVID-19 cases increased when bars were open and the cases were in 20 and 30 year olds. Dr. Sudit Ranade says the age group feels if they get COVID-19, they’ll recover.

But health officials are concerned about how far those people would spread the virus. Florida, for example, had almost 79,000 cases of COVID-19 in one week after reopening bars and restaurants.

Ranade told reporters Wednesday his biggest concern is contact tracing and he wants to talk with bar owners specifically about how that can be done in a way that doesn’t hamper their business.

“Recognizing these places have been closed for a while, and they also want to get things up and running and they want to have an opportunity to get their services up and running again…we want to work with them. What will be effective to do contact tracing while also not creating a substainal burden for you.”

Ranade says it is important to have the conversation, particularly for bars, because while the provincial rules tell patrons not to socialize, that may not be realistic.

“I don’t think that when you’re in a bar and you’re in there for the purpose of socializing that telling you not to socialize, especially after you have had a few drinks, is going to be effective.”

Ranade says other communities have imposed some additional requirements for bars so people can be easily traced but in Lambton “nothing is final on the topic right now.”