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COVID-19: As cases climb, Peterborough MOH urges no travel during Victoria Day weekend

Click to play video: 'Peterborough Public Health urging people to stay home this Victoria Day long weekend' Peterborough Public Health urging people to stay home this Victoria Day long weekend
The countdown to the Victoria Day long weekend is on. There are limitations on what you can do and where you can go with a stay at home order still in effect. Where you end up going is a big concern for Peterborough Public Health as officials say they're worried about people heading out of town this weekend. Katrina Squazzin has more – May 18, 2021

Peterborough Public Health‘s medical officer of health says she’s disappointed to see cases continuing to increase and is urging people to stay home for the upcoming Victoria Day long weekend.

During her media briefing on Tuesday, Dr. Rosana Salvaterra noted that for the week of May 10, there were 91 new cases of COVID-19 in the health unit’s jurisdiction. It’s the second-highest week since the pandemic was declared in March 2020.

Read more: Ontario health units urge patience amid vaccine demand surge as all adults now eligible

“It’s certainly disappointing to see that three weeks into the stay-at-home order that we are actually seeing local cases increase instead of decreasing along with the rest of the province,” she said.

So far for the month of May there have been 167 new cases, the majority involving individuals ages 20 to 29, she said.

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She says there has been a “trend” in socializations linked to most new cases.

“The most common type of exposure was within the household,” she said. “Our data indicates that it is indoor, social gatherings and household spread that are playing a significant role in increasing the number of cases.

“It’s a good thing vaccination opened today for those 18 and older because we will definitely need to target those 20-year-olds, especially those sharing their accommodations with others to bring our case numbers down.”

As of Monday evening, there were 103 active cases in the health unit’s jurisdiction of Peterborough, Peterborough County, Hiawatha First Nation and Curve Lake First Nation. Close contacts are up to 315, which is 88 more since Friday.

Victoria Day long weekend

Salvaterra urged people not to travel during the upcoming Victoria Day long weekend, especially since Ontario’s stay-at-home order has been extended to June 2.

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“We’ve observed a spike in COVID-19 cases after every long weekend since the start of the pandemic,” she said. “So I challenge everyone in Peterborough, set a new record — let’s make this a long weekend where we actually have cases going down instead of up.”

She said trailer parks and campgrounds are off-limits this weekend. Anyone travelling to a secondary residence for essential maintenance must do it alone and make a visit to a site for less than 24 hours. People should only leave their primary residence for essential needs.

“This is not the season opener for the cottage, it is not the time to gather with family and friends,” she said. “Longer stays at your seasonal residence are only permitted if you are relocating there for the summer. And they should staff the first 14 days in isolation in order to protect the rest of us.”

Peterborough County OPP Const. Joe Ayotte says every long weekend, OPP have increased patrols with an expected increase in travellers to the region.

Enforcement has already increased at Crown Land at Burleigh Falls about 30 kilometres north of Peterborough — an area that had to be closed last July due to excess visitors and garbage left behind. The popular waterfalls area was reopened in September.

“We are already increasing our patrols in that area,” he said.

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Ayotte also says OPP are investigating complaints about camping on Crown land.

 

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