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Peterborough medical officer of health reports ‘very good job’ of flattening coronavirus curve

Peterborough’s COVID-19 case numbers moving in right direction
Peterborough Public Health announced six new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. Its medical officer of health says the slope of the COVID-19 curve has flattened.

Six new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the Peterborough area late Wednesday afternoon as the medical officer of health for Peterborough Public Health earlier in the day said residents are doing a “very good job” of flattening the curve of novel coronavirus cases.

During a noontime media conference on Wednesday, Dr. Rosana Salvaterra reported 45 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, for Peterborough Public Health’s jurisdiction as of Tuesday evening. It’s an increase of four cases since Salvaterra’s last media conference on Friday.

That data was as of Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.

However, around 3:35 p.m. Wednesday, the health unit’s daily situation update reported an additional six new confirmed cases of COVID-19 cases to bring the region’s total to 51.

Of the 51 cases, 14 were now resolved – an increase of four since Tuesday. Of the 1,093 people tested, 757 were confirmed negative and 285 remained under investigation.

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The health unit represents Peterborough, Peterborough County, Curve Lake First Nation and Hiawatha First Nation.

“I’m certainly heartened by the results I’ve shared with you today. It appears Peterborough residents are doing a very good job at flattening the curve and slowing the spread of COVID-19,” she said at noon. “We need to keep up this good work.”

Salvaterra says the health unit’s COVID-19 case rate is approximately 28 per 100,000 people versus the provincial average of 31 per 100,000 people.

“It’s a significant slowing of our rate of increase over the past couple of weeks,” she noted.

“We were doubling every four days but we’re not seeing that now. That is promising, but I’m not going to let down our guard.”

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She said the area’s distance from the Greater Toronto Area may contribute to the lower rate of transmission in the health unit’s jurisdiction.

“Peterborough’s rate is not unlike those to the east and north of us,” she said. “I do believe distance does play a factor.”

READ MORE: Peterborough Regional Health Centre preparing for ‘surge’ of coronavirus patients

However, she said health officials are still doing further investigation to determine if any cases are “missing” by reviewing past and current results. She also said case numbers are “moving in the right direction” and credited people for practising consistent physical distancing and handwashing and staying at home.

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“They may be an early indication our measures are having an effect, however they are early,” she said. “The slope of the curve has flattened.”

“I’d like to ask Peterborough to not to give up… They are making a difference.”

Of the 45 confirmed cases reported at noon, three are the result of local transmission (no connection to travel or contact with another confirmed case) — approximately seven per cent of the caseload, she said.

Outbreaks at St. Joseph’s at Fleming and Riverview Manor remain status quo, Salvaterra said. There are four confirmed cases of COVID-19 at St. Joseph’s and one confirmed case at Riverview Manor.

Masks

Salvaterra also said residents can wear a non-medical mask or face-covering mask, but she cautions that they have not been proven to protect the wearer from becoming infected.

However, she said a mask can be an additional measure to keep the wearer’s respiratory droplets from contaminating other people or landing on surfaces.

“The mask can reduce the chance that others are coming into contact with your respiratory droplets,” she said. “Masks may also stop you from touching your nose or mouth.”

The health unit has information on its website for face-covering masks. Salvaterra stressed the importance of handwashing before putting on a mask and removing it, and recommended placing it into a washing machine after use. Masks should also not be shared.

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Swabs

Salvaterra also noted the health unit has 270 test swabs available to cover the remainder of the week and Easter holiday weekend.

Andy Mitchell, chairman of the health board and Selwyn Township mayor, praised Salvaterra, health-care workers, first responders and residents as they work together to combat the coronavirus pandemic. He encouraged people to avoid interactions during the Passover, Easter and Ramadan celebrations this month.

“It is not easy to practise physical distancing, but we need to know it is making a difference,” he said.

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