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Sarnia-Lambton currently an island of calm in rising COVID sea

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Troy Shantz

Local residents deserve a lot of credit for keeping COVID-19 largely in check, even as cases soar across Ontario and Canada, says Lambton’s medical officer of health.

“People here have been taking it very seriously, and that’s great,” said Dr. Sudit Ranade. “I really want to commend people here for doing the things that they need to do.”

Sarnia-Lambton has averaged about one new case a day in November, and as of Sunday had just 9 active cases. Only one person is in hospital, and the last institutional outbreak at Fiddick’s Retirement Home was declared over last week.

Those numbers stood in sharp contract to record-setting increases elsewhere. Health experts warned Friday that Ontario could see 6,000 new COVID-19 cases per day by mid-December unless the Ford government adds more public health restrictions.

“Fires are burning in so many different areas,” Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s top doctor, said.

In mid-October Canada had 2,300 new cases daily. That had doubled by last week, and the daily case count could hit 10,000 by mid-December if the resurgence isn’t reined in soon, she said.

Ontario recently moved to a colour-coded framework to indicate when pandemic restrictions should be increased or lifted, from green, the lowest risk, to grey, requiring total lockdown.

Sarnia-Lambton is currently at green, with only the most high-risk activities and buildings closed.

Given the provincial surge and the fact local restrictions are at such a low level, we should be prepared for things to change quickly, Ranade warned.

He added that if and when infection rates climb he won’t hesitate to use his powers under the Ontario Public Health Act to tighten restrictions.

“If there are some things that I need to do in order to dramatically reduce disease transmission, I will do it,” he said.

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