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5th death confirmed in Wellington County amid spike in COVID-19 cases

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Wellington County reported a fifth death related to COVID-19 on Thursday as cases continue to soar amid a second wave of the pandemic.

It’s the second death reported in as many days and the third this month.

Read more: Guelph bylaw stepping up COVID-19 enforcement due to crowded stores

Public health said the latest death was a man in his 90s and it comes after the deaths of a middle-aged woman and a man in his 70s.

Prior to November, Wellington County had not reported a fatal case since the spring during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

The county has been hit hard by the second wave of the pandemic.

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Three weeks ago on Nov. 5, there were 129 total cases, including seven active cases, 120 resolved cases, and two deaths connected to the virus.

As of Thursday, those numbers have ballooned — 305 total cases, 61 active cases including one in hospital, 239 resolved cases and five fatalities.

“This underscores two things. First, COVID is actively circulating in our region. Second, it can be serious, even fatal,” said public health spokesperson, Danny Williamson.

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“Public health urges every resident of our region to follow public health advice: practice good hand hygiene, maintain physical distancing, wear a face covering, and keep close contacts to only those you live with.”

The health unit, which also includes Guelph and Dufferin County, is currently in the province’s orange-restrict level of its COVID-19 response framework. It’s not known if the spike in cases and deaths will put the entire public health unit into the red level.

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The medical officer of health has ordered all Old Order Mennonite churches and schools to close, as several cases have been connected to that community in the northern portion of the county.

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At least two outbreaks have been connected to an Old Order Mennonite school and wedding.

An outbreak has been declared at Maple Drive Parochial School in Elora where five students and one teacher have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Three other outbreaks in the area, which are connected to long-term and retirement homes, have a case each among their staff.

Residents have also been urged to not visit each other’s homes as it has become the number one way to spread the virus.

Almost half of the active cases in the county have been spread by close contact.

Read more: Wellington County’s Old Order Mennonite churches, schools ordered to close

Earlier this week, Wellington County’s warden Kelly Linton said a sense of complacency had fallen over the rural county of about 90,000 residents.

“We need to change the behaviour,” he said. “We need to get active on enforcement around the county because we cannot afford another lockdown.”

Global News has reached out to Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health for further comment.

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