The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Haldimand and Norfolk has risen to eight as of early Sunday, up three from a day earlier.
Few details have been released about those who have tested positive in the two counties. They range in age from young adults to seniors.
The area’s first death from the virus was on Thursday. The individual was a resident at Anson Place retirement home before being admitted to West Haldimand Hospital in Hagersville.
“Anson Place staff and executive are working with our local health team. They are both prepared and equipped to manage this situation and I have full confidence in all of those involved,” Haldimand Mayor Ken Hewitt said in a video release on Saturday.
Anson Place has 61 residents in its long-term care facility and 40 residents in its retirement home, according to its website.
Haldimand-Norfolk’s medical officer of health Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, called the public health management plan ‘robust’.
“We have implemented public health management at the retirement home. This is happening today and I think it is a robust plan to prevent the spread of the illness,” he said in the video.
All residents at the facility have been placed in isolation.
Nesathurai said he has been asked about the increase in the number of local cases compared to a week ago.
“Part of that is because we are like the rest of the province. There are more and more cases throughout Canada and throughout the province and at the current time the number of cases are doubling every three days,” he said. “Secondly, there is a delay in getting test results back and we are receiving results from tests that were completed up to 10 days ago. I anticipate we will continue to get more test results back and I anticipate we are going to get more positive tests back.”
Hewitt and Nesathurai along with Norfolk Mayor Kristal Chopp, who chairs the board of health for both counties, reiterated their message of the importance of self-isolation as key in the COVID-19 containment strategy.
“As I have been stating, we must be diligent, our daily behaviours must be in the mindset that your neighbour is the person that is positive,” said Hewitt.
“Follow the directives that have been set out for you and your families. We will continue to make the necessary decisions to protect you and your communities and we expect that you will do the same. Stay safe.”
There are a number of strategies that have been put in place, said Nesathurai.
“First, it’s important that if you have no compelling reason to leave the house, stay home. Second, social distancing, maintain a distance of at least six feet or two metres from the next person. Number three, if you are sick stay at home.”
Chopp took a hard line for those who aren’t following the orders for self-isolation.
“For those of you continuing to flout our orders the jig is up. This is just the beginning. Where there is smoke there is fire. In addition to the people that are testing positive right now, hundreds are still waiting for their results. Not to mention the influx of snowbirds and others that are still returning home,” she said.
Orders are in place that those returning to Canada from other countries must self-isolate for 14 days.
Elected officials are receiving calls about those who are not following orders and “jeopardizing our small communities right now,” said Chopp.
“On what planet do you live that you think the rules don’t apply?”
Chopp said self-isolation should be called what it really is — quarantine. She spoke directly to those who have returned home from travel, those experiencing symptoms, and those who have been in contact with someone who has the virus.
“Are you still picking up groceries and trying to pick up prescriptions from your local pharmacy? Are you still taking trips to the post office? Are you still trying to get your car serviced? Are you still out walking your dog? Shame on you. There are programs in Haldimand-Norfolk to bring everything from food to pharmaceuticals right to your front door.
“You are breaking the law and we will begin prosecuting you,” said Chopp before relaying the various fines and prison terms that can be imposed under the federal Quarantine Act.
“Where is the humanity right now? As Canadians, we’ve been pretty lucky in our lifetimes. On the whole, we’ve had it pretty easy. Our day has come. We’re now fighting against an invisible invader. All we have to do, instead of putting on a uniform and carrying weapons into war zones, is to passively resist and stay home.”