Durham’s health department is reporting a significant spike in the number of new COVID-19 cases.
This comes after weeks of steady increase.
“It’s largely in the community,” says Durham’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Robert Kyle.
“Either people are unaware of how they are contracting it or they are spreading it in their households, that sort of thing.”
Wednesday’s 42 cases marked the highest daily jump in the region since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, with another 28 reported Thursday.
Kyle says what we are seeing now is the effects of schools being open.
“It’s children, it’s students, it’s teachers, health-care workers. It’s people who live in the community,” says Kyle.
“This is happening in child-care centres, schools, congregate living centres. It’s a combination of different ages.”
Evidence of that can be seen in the large number of cases coming from schools, which includes 11 reported from Durham Region schools on Thursday.
“We have a number of outbreaks on the go in settings and we understand why — it’s because people are congregating,” Kyle says.
In Toronto, a partial shutdown was ordered last week in response to the second wave of the pandemic, with Premier Doug Ford speaking of the possibility that York Region could also be brought down to a modified Stage 2 of reopening.
“We’re keeping a very close eye on York right now,” he said.
However, so far, Kyle doesn’t see the need for the same measures in Durham.
“I’m not aware of any outbreaks related to gyms, fitness centres, bars that they’ve seen elsewhere.”
But officials say what is a problem across the board is the number of instances where some people have stopped adhering to health measures.
“COVID-19 is here for a considerable length of time,” says Kyle. “What we have, though, is a problem of pandemic fatigue. People are letting their guard down and we need to continue following health measures.”
Health officials say that mentality needs to change as we head into cooler temperatures, forcing more people indoors.
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