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COVID-19: Peterborough Public Health reports 33 new cases on Saturday, advise caution over holidays

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With the latest surge in COVID-19 cases and the Omicron variant making waves, all it would take is an announcement from the province to return our school boards and post-secondary institutions back to online-only education. – Dec 17, 2021

Peterborough Public Health reported 33 new cases of COVID-19 as of early Saturday evening.

Case updates from the regional health unit are rarely issued on the weekends, however, the health unit said as of 5 p.m. there were 33 new cases since its last update issued around 4 p.m. Friday   — a new single day record. The previous single-day record for the health unit was 27 cases reported on April 14, 2021.

According to the health unit, there are 78 active cases in its jurisdiction (Peterborough, Peterborough County, Curve Lake First Nation and Hiawatha First Nation), up from 63 reported on Friday. A month ago on Nov. 18 there were 16 active cases.

The health unit did not indicate if there were any new cases of the Omicron variant. As of Friday’s update, there were four confirmed cases in the region.

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As of late Thursday (most recent data available), the Peterborough Regional Health Centre reported four COVID-19 admissions. Since the pandemic was declared, the health unit reports 98 cases of COVID-19 have required hospitalization — unchanged since Dec. 7 — and 21 have required admission to an intensive care unit — data unchanged since Nov. 23.

Read more: Ontario announces new restrictions in response to Omicron COVID variant

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Medical officer of health Dr. Thomas Piggott says residents are urged to reconsider social gatherings at this time to protect themselves and limit the spread of COVID-19.

“This abrupt rise in cases is a clear indication that the Omicron variant is circulating in our community,” he stated. “I am strongly recommending that residents reduce their close contacts and reconsider holiday plans to keep themselves safe and reduce the high transmission we are seeing.

“Even with the new provincial capacity limits, we anticipate there will be a significant increase in cases in the coming days.”

Piggott reminds residents to follow public health guidance this holiday season for the best prevention against the transmission of COVID-19.

“Staying safe against a COVID-19 infection does include layering up,” he said. “We layer up to go outdoors in the winter to protect us from the cold and we need to layer up our prevention to protect us from COVID-19.”

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Piggott offered five tips to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19 for the holiday season.

  • Guidance: Check local and provincial public health guidance before going to any gathering
  • Vaccine: Get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is available. The health unit says three doses “ensure the best protection.” Reduce risk by only gathering with others outside your household if they are also vaccinated
  • Test: Stay home if you are feeling unwell and seek a COVID-19 PCR test to confirm an infection. If you have access to rapid antigen testing, use it to ensure you are negative before attending any gathering and consider reporting the result whether positive or negative to the health unit
  • Outdoors: Gather outdoors if possible. If not, open windows to allow for proper air flow in small spaces
  • Mask and ventilation: If you gather with people from outside your household ensure the room is well-ventilated by opening windows or doors (even a crack), and wear a tightly-fitted medical mask or N95 respirator mask

Rapid antigen tests were available Saturday morning at the Peterborough Farmers’ Market at the Morrow Building and on Saturday evening at the market, after initially being promoted at the Peterborough Memorial Centre. However, the  Ministry of Health shifted the distrbution back to the Morrow Building next to the arena due to fans also attending the Peterborough Petes’ OHL game.

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Future dates for distribution of the tests by the province:

  • Peterborough Farmers’ Market, Morrow Building (151 Lansdowne St. W.) from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan 8.
  • Lansdowne Place Mall (656 Lansdowne St. W.), hours to be determined, from Tuesday, Dec. 21 to Thursday, Dec. 23.
  • Peterborough Memorial Centre (151 Lansdowne St. W.) from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 27.
  • Peterborough Public Library (345 Aylmer St. N.) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 5 and Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022. 

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