Lambton down to one active COVID-19 case, MOH warns not to let your guard down

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Alex Kurial/ Local Journalism Initiative

Lambton’s Medical Officer of Health is pleased to see Lambton County’s number of active cases drop to one, but warns about being complacent especially with Halloween this weekend.

Dr. Sudit Ranade spoke on Thursday morning after Lambton dipped to just one active case. One active outbreak remains – at the Twin Lakes Terrace long term care home in Sarnia – but Ranade says he will likely be able to declare that outbreak over today or tomorrow.

“We’ve passed that period where we would have gotten cases from exposures related to Thanksgiving. But it’s still important for people to moderate their social interactions, and really minimize them because those are the things that are the primary causes of disease transmission,” says Ranade.

Since this is not always possible, Ranade warns people to be careful about necessary interactions with people outside your household. “We also know that people can’t get away with doing no interactions in terms of their physical and mental health. So just be safe and smart about it,” Ranade says.

Ontario recorded another 934 people with COVID-19 Thursday. The majority of them remain in the Toronto, Peel, York, and Ottawa regions, but Ranade says no one should let their guard down. 

“The trend in Ontario is concerning, and I think it parallels the trend in the rest of the world… The big concern that we all have to keep our eyes on and think about is this second wave is happening in a setting in which we know more about this disease, and have a bunch of precautions and mitigation efforts underway. So… why is it that in the face of many restrictions and mitigation efforts, the numbers are actually higher than they were the first time.”

“One of the explanations is there are more opportunities for people to interact now than there were the first time that we went through this. There are more settings that are open, there are more places that people can go… And that is critical to note, because it’s going to be how we tackle transmission overall – reducing the opportunities for people to interact socially,” Ranade says.

He adds that despite neighboring regions not currently fairing as well – Chatham-Kent has 35 active cases on Thursday while London-Middlesex has 63 – it’s more important to focus on staying safe at home rather than worrying about travel from other counties.

“Limit your unnecessary social interactions, especially if they involve moving great distances,” says Ranade. “But even then I would never rule out the fact that we do have cases here, so there is transmission here. So the things that you need to do in terms of keeping yourself safe are not exclusively limited to staying away from other jurisdictions.”

As for the upcoming Halloween weekend, “In terms of outdoor trick-or-treating, that’s a very low risk activity… You don’t have to go to five to ten neighborhoods, just keep it small and keep it moderate,” he says.

“The key driver of any transmission from Halloween would be social interactions: people getting together for a gathering, a Halloween party, families getting together. Those kind of things are not advisable at this time,” says Ranade.