“The science doesn’t know what is going on”

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Nearly 300 people were tested at the Brooke-Alvinston-Inwood Community Centre the weekend of March 13 after an outbreak of COVID-19 in the Brooke Central School.

Brooke-Alvinston council urging premier to end lockdowns ‘as long as people keep following the rules’

Brooke-Alvinston Councillor Jamie Armstrong says the “science doesn’t know what is going on” when it comes to COVID-19.

At his suggestion, the council will write to Premier Doug Ford asking him to end lockdowns.

Lambton is currently in the Grey-Lockdown phase of Ontario’s Reopening Framework as the number of COVID-19 cases rise. The community has the second highest rate of COVID-19 rates in the province at 160 cases per 100,000 people just behind Peel Region.

There 65 people who are COVID-19 positive in 21 schools in Lambton County including Brooke Central School, where two students are still listed as COVID-19 positive. Public health still lists Brooke Central as in outbreak – one of seven schools where officials believe the virus was spread in the school.

There are also five students and a teacher at LCCVI who are COVID-19 positive and two students at St. Philip in Petrolia.

Lambton Public Health reported another 41 people tested positive Thursday and another death – a person in their 70s – due to the virus which has lead to 48 deaths in Lambton. Ontario reported more than 2,000 new cases of COVID-19 today including 17 deaths. There have been 7,280 people in Ontario and 22,782 people in all of Canada die of COVID-19 since the pandemic began a year ago.

Ontario is still trying to stop the spread of the virus, particularly since new variants of COVID-19 are appearing which spread the virus faster. The province moves regions into different zones as the prevalence of the virus increases in the community – the strictest controls are in lockdown.

But the province recently loosened the rules for communities in the Grey-Lockdown zones. Churches can now have services with up to 15 per cent of the building’s capacity inside. Restaurants, which were limited to take out business in lockdown before, are now able to open their patios to serve members of the same family with up to 50 people present at one time, depending on the size of the patio. And retailers, who also were closed in earlier lockdowns, may now serve customers indoors, but only have 25 per cent of the store’s capacity inside.

Armstrong told councillors at Thursday’s meeting lockdowns were for a specific purpose; “We want wanted to make sure that our health systems didn’t get overloaded. And now we’ve got more people that have been affected by COVID and I failed to see what a lockdown is actually doing, as long as people follow all the social distancing and all the masking that the health system is requesting us to do.

“We keep on saying science, but every time you pick up the paper, science doesn’t know what’s going on with this. And I really do not believe that lockdowns are the way to go. I think it’s causing a lot more mental health issues than then what we’re actually solving. We’ve got vaccines started up. And I really think that the premier needs to hear that,” added Armstrong.

“Even though there’s a variant, the variant seems to be, ‘it looks like it might be and …everybody’s guessing, it looks like it might me more contagious,’ but then we’ve got three people in Bluewater Health today,” he says. There are actually eight people in Bluewater Health with COVID-19 Thursday.

“I think that we need to move on and try to pay for our health system,” says Armstrong. “If we don’t, I don’t I really don’t know when we’re going to get out of this lockdown. I think we need to give some direction to the premier.”

Armstrong’s motion to write to the premier urging him to end lockdowns carried. Only Mayor Dave Ferguson spoke briefly about it, and acknowledged the difficulties facing communities.

“I do believe in the science, and we shouldn’t (end lockdowns.)

“I do believe we’re having mental health issues and businesses are really suffering. There’s two sides to this …in the small communities when we’re spread out to start with, it’s tough.”