Lambton’s MOH urges people to reduce non-essential social contacts

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Public health reported seven new COVID-19 cases Thursday with two outbreaks – one at a Sarnia home, one at a business

Lambton’s medical officer of health says the seven people testing positive for COVID-19 Thursday is a “heads up” for the community.

Twin Lakes Terrace nursing home in Sarnia has declared an outbreak. One staff member has tested positive for COVID-19.

There is also a workplace outbreak with three people who have the virus. The employees of the business have been told to self isolate. Public health doesn’t release the name of the workplace unless it needs to reach people who may have been exposed to the virus.

Three schools have reported COVID-19 cases; about 92 people in two elementary schools – Col. Cameron in Corunna and Bright’s Grove Public School – are self isolating because of the cases.

A total of 10 people are now ill with COVID-19 in the community – that’s three more people in the last four days than were ill in all of September.

Dr. Sudit Ranade is not surprised. “We’re now expecting that we will be seeing more cases, that we will be seeing more transmission in the community and so it’s kind of like a heads up.

“Where once upon a time, months and months ago, we would have had six or seven cases, and many of them would have had very limited exposures, now, because more and more things are open, you see more and more potential contacts for any given case, because people are doing more things…that has led to the need to contact a lot of people and isolate a lot of people for any one given case.”

Ranade says as they investigate, they find the cases are connected through socializing. “We want you to start reducing your unnecessary social contacts, reducing the the non-essential things that you do,” he says adding that will help limit the spread of COVID-19.

And he’s also asking people who do get a call from public health contact tracers to be honest about where they have been. Ranade says people know what the current guidelines are and may be reluctant to say what they have been doing beyond that.

“It’s a technical kind of terms that we use as social desirability bias, so when we ask people questions, you tend to get answers that people feel like you want to hear.”

But the MOH says if people do not tell contact tracers about where they have been and who they have been in contact with, public health won’t be able to determine if others were exposed.

Ranade says everyone is tired of COVID-19 but he doesn’t think Lambton residents have abandoned the public health guidance to stop the spread of the virus.

“I think that people here are doing the same things that people in the rest of Ontario are doing, which is socializing to greater degrees. And I think that that’s why more and more of us are going to start talking about pulling back on those on those socializing behaviors, especially if they’re not linked to an essential activity, like work or school.”

Ranade says that while the spike is cases may be alarming to some, he reminds people to “keep doing the (public health measures) that we’ve been doing, but recognize that because other things are open any one case results in a larger number of contacts that we would have usually had.”