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COVID-19: 8 new cases for Peterborough area, health unit suspends hotline, email to redeploy staff

Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, medical officer of health at Peterborough Public Health, says COVID-19 communications will be suspended to redeploy staff to tackle the rise in cases. Global News Peterborough file

Peterborough Public Health reports another eight new cases of COVID-19 on Monday while suspending pandemic communication services to redeploy staff to address the rise in cases.

In its COVID tracker at 4:15 p.m., there are now 123 active cases of COVID-19, down from 132 reported on Sunday. Over the weekend there were 24 new cases (11 on Sunday, 13 on Saturday).

The health unit also reported that of its 1,115 cumulative cases (one removed from a previous day) since the pandemic was declared, 367 are variant of concern cases, up from 360 reported Sunday afternoon. The first confirmed variant of concern was reported on Feb. 23.

Read more: COVID-19: Peterborough police issue 6 tickets at anti-shutdown protest; Cobourg police charge 4

Of the health unit’s total cases, 980 are now declared resolved (up from 964 on Sunday) — approximately 88 per cent.

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The health unit also announced Monday that it is suspending its COVID-19 hotline phone and email services until further notice as staff are redeployed to manage the local COVID-19 outbreak in the community. The health unit serves Peterborough, Peterborough County, Hiawatha First Nation and Curve Lake First Nation.

“It is ‘all hands on deck’ now that the surge in local cases and high-risk contacts has reached record levels,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, medical officer of health.

“All COVID-19 hotline staff have now been reassigned to help us manage cases and complete contact-tracing as these efforts are vital in containing the further spread of the virus by ensuring people get tested and know how to self-isolate.”

She apologized for the inconvenience and said additional resources have been added to the health unit’s website and that its phone system now offers pre-recorded voice greetings that address frequently asked questions.

Residents looking to cancel vaccination appointments are asked to contact the call centre at 249-494-5631.

Salvaterra hopes to see hotline services resume once the third wave of the pandemic begins to subside.

“The more closely residents follow the stay-at-home order, the faster we’ll see case counts decrease, and the sooner we’ll be able to reinstate the hotline and other public health services,” she said.

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Since the pandemic was declared, the health unit has dealt with 241 COVID-19 cases (up 10 since Friday) associated with 39 outbreaks. Active outbreaks as of Monday:

  • Champlain College residence (E/F tower): Declared Friday. Case details not provided but Trent University reports 18 student residence cases as of Monday — up from 13 on Friday. University notes not all cases may be linked to the Champlain College outbreak.
  • Workplace #6 in Peterborough: Declared Thursday, no case details were provided.
  • Workplace # 5 in Peterborough: Declared Tuesday, no case details were provided.
  • Congregate living facility # 3 in Peterborough: Declared Sunday, no case details provided.
  • Empress Gardens Retirement Residence: Declared March 22 after one employee tested positive. Two residents have died in hospital due to COVID-19 complications. Two new active cases — one resident and one staff — were reported late Wednesday.

Other COVID-19 data for Monday

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  • Close contacts: 306, down from 326 on Sunday
  • 40 cases have required hospitalized care since the pandemic was declared, up four since Friday. Seven required the intensive care unit (up one since Friday)
  • Trent University:
  • Fleming CollegeReports no cases related to its Sutherland Campus in the city — down from one on Friday.
  • Peterborough Regional Health CentreReports 21 COVID-19 inpatients, unchanged since Friday. There have been 46 patient transfers from other areas — one more since Friday.
  • Death toll: 12 since the pandemic was declared, two linked to outbreak at Empress Gardens Retirement Residence; one to the Severn Court Student Residence outbreak in Peterborough; three associated with a November 2020 outbreak at Fairhaven long-term care in Peterborough.
  • More than 48,800 people have been tested for COVID-19.

Other school cases in the health unit’s jurisdiction:

Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board (board does specify if student or staff):

  • Armour Heights Public School in Peterborough: One new case, unchanged since Thursday.
  • Hastings Public School: One case
  • North Shore Public School in Keene: One case, unchanged since last Wednesday.

Peterborough Victoria Northumberland Clarington Catholic District School Board:

  • St. Alphonsus Catholic Elementary School in Peterborough — 2 cases, unchanged since Wednesday.
  • Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School in Peterborough — 1 case, unchanged since Wednesday.
  • St. Catherine Catholic Elementary: One case, unchanged since Wednesday.

Vaccination

Vaccination appointments can be made either online at any time or by calling 249-494-5631 from Mondays to Fridays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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— With files from Jessica Nyznik/Global News Peterborough

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