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Rising COVID-19 cases could force Sarnia-Lambton back into lockdown

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Troy Shantz

Ontario will decide Friday whether to move Sarnia-Lambton back into lockdown under its COVID-18 response framework, Lambton’s Medical Officer of Health said today.

Persistent social gatherings and contact through recreational sports have caused an “incredibly concerning” increase in local cases, Dr. Sudit Ranade said in a media call.

Sarnia-Lambton’s infection rate has risen to 3.1% and the number of cases per 100,000 people has grown to 102 from 58 the previous week, he said.

“We know that when you start to have cases they can start to spike quite quickly,” he said. “At one point, a very manageable exercise in contact tracing quickly becomes unmanageable and you become overrun with cases. The only thing you can do at that point is to lock down.”

The COVID-19 framework allows the province to rank health units based on case numbers and trends, using colour-coded categories range from “green-prevent” to “grey-lockdown.

As case numbers have risen, Sarnia-Lambton has moved backward from “orange-restrict” to its current “red-control” status.

A downgrade to “grey-lockdown” would mean indoor organized public events or social gatherings are no longer allowed, except with members of the same household, and outdoor gatherings limited to 10 people.

Ranade said lockdown is imposed when hospital capacity is at risk and contact tracing become difficult. The province can also move to grey if COVID-19 variants of concern are found, he said.

“You need to act as if you’re in a lockdown to prevent a lockdown. You have to act as if everything you do matters.”

Lambton Public Health reported 13 new COVID-19 cases today – and 178 new cases since March 1.

More than 8,800 vaccine doses have been administered, including 700 in the past day, Ranade said.

The mobile vaccination team expects to finish giving second doses to residents of long-term care, retirement and indigenous elder care homes by the end of March.

Ranade said people who are vaccinated can’t return to a normal lifestyle just yet because it’s still not clear whether the virus can be transmitted by someone after they receive the shot.

Lambton Public Health nurse Mariela McGrath prepares a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine shot during a clinic held at Point Edward Arena on March 6 for residents 90 years of age or older and their primary caregivers.
Troy Shantz

 

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