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COVID-19: April record month for new cases for Peterborough Public Health with 10 days to go

Click to play video: 'April sees highest COVID-19 case count yet in Peterborough'
April sees highest COVID-19 case count yet in Peterborough
Despite being a few weeks deep into our third provincial lockdown, April has the highest COVID-19 case count of the pandemic. The majority of new cases continue to be high-risk contacts, but community transmission is also increasing. – Apr 20, 2021

April’s 240 new cases of COVID-19 is a new record for Peterborough Public Health — and there are still 10 days left in the month.

According to the health unit during a Tuesday media briefing, 112 new cases were reported for the week of April 12 — the first time more than 100 cases have been reported in a week by the health unit. The total surpasses 81 for the week of April 5 and 65 for the week of March 29.

The 112 cases represent 9.92 per cent of the total cases reported in Peterborough since the pandemic was declared in March 2020. As of Monday afternoon, there were 123 active cases and 367 cumulative variant cases.

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Medical officer of health Dr. Rosana Salvaterra notes the rate of new cases and fewer high-risk contacts have dropped since the week April 12, a pattern she hopes will be “sustained.”

“While these numbers are starting to go in the right direction, last week’s record-breaking case count will still be felt for weeks to come,” she said.

She added Ontario’s shutdown measures implemented in early April are “starting to have an effect” on cases.

Of the health unit’s 1,115 cases since the pandemic was declared, 75 per cent are linked to contact with another case.

While cases are evenly divided between males and females, the health unit notes more than 50 per cent of the total number of cases (567) are from individuals age 29 and under.

Salvaterra reports 75 per cent of all cases are linked to contact with another case.

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“It certainly is sobering remember why socialization with members outside our household is now strictly prohibited.”

Community spread is linked to 17.5 per cent of cases.

“These are cases where people don’t know where they were exposed — there is no link,” she said. “It reminds us why we must stay home and only leave for essential purposes.”

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There remain five active outbreaks for the health unit. Salvaterra noted all residents at Empress Gardens Retirement Residence were retested again on Monday. That outbreak has claimed the lives of two residents.

Health unit board chair Andy Mitchell says “everyone needs to focus” and follow health guidelines and protocols. He said in recent days governments have been “ascribing blame” amid constantly changing provisions rather than focusing on protecting residents.

“At a time like this the politics need to be set aside,” he said. “Blind adherence to ideology needs to be stood down. The blame games need to cease.”

Peterborough Regional Health Centre 

Dr. Lynn Mikula, PRHC’s executive vice-president and chief of staff, reported Tuesday morning that Peterborough Regional Health Centre currently has 17 COVID-19 patients, down from 21 reported on Monday.

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She says the hospital has accepted 46 patient transfers from the GTA since the pandemic was declared — 22 transfers during the last three weeks. The “vast majority” of transfers have been patients who have been “very sick” with COVID-19, she said.

“More than five patients” are in an intensive care unit, she said.

“This is a high and accelerating volume of patient transfers and it is out of the ordinary,” she said. “It is happening all around the province.”

She says further transfers to PRHC are expected in the coming days and weeks.

Mikula noted that while the hospital has ramped down non-urgent care as per provincial directives, people are still encouraged to seek urgent care at the hospital when needed.

*Update: As of Tuesday afternoon, the number of COVID-19 patients dropped to 16, according to the hospital’s website.

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