Infographic on washing hands properly

Residents urged to remain vigilant as second wave of COVID-19 hits County of Renfrew

By Patricia Lebeouf

Posted on Thursday October 1, 2020

The second wave of COVID-19 is officially occurring in Renfrew County, and people exhibiting any symptoms are being urged to stay home and get tested.

“We need you to understand that letting your guard down now will give this virus the opportunity it needs to surge forward and take lives with it,” said Renfrew County Warden Debbie Robinson.

Officials acknowledge that residents are experiencing some level of COVID fatigue, but this is not the time to allow their defences to falter. The virus is just as contagious and just as deadly as it has always been.

“I realize we all want our lives back, that many of us are tired of being told what to do, where to go, who we can and cannot see, but let’s be clear, ignoring the rules puts not only yourself but others at risk. Your desire for independence does not eclipse your neighbours right to be safe,” said Robinson during a live-streamed meeting on Sept. 21.

Though the county did relatively well during the first wave, numbers have been climbing steadily, culminating in community outbreaks and the closing of Fellowes High School in Pembroke, the first school to close in the province. And still the number of cases continues to rise.

“We’ve had more cases in September than we did in March,” said Acting Medical Officer of Health for the Renfrew County District Health Unit (RCDHU) Doctor Robert Cushman. “And we also had a fair amount in August.”

He warns against people getting compliant now that the second wave is here. As much as people are frustrated with the restrictions imposed on them, health care workers are starting to burn out. So officials are urging the public to observe all the rules to keep the numbers from rising much higher.

“To use a football analogy, you, the public, are the offence of the battle,” said Dr Cushman. “You are the ones that can hold the virus at bay.”

If COVID-19 numbers continue to trend upwards, regulations will return to the start of the pandemic with schools and businesses shut down and the economy faltering.

Staying home and getting tested when exhibiting any symptom of the virus is just as important as hand washing, physical distancing and wearing a face covering, officials said. 

When a person gets sick, even if it is suspected allergies or another benign condition, they must stay home to self isolate. They can return to society once a negative test has been produced and it has been 24 hours since they’ve had any symptoms. Children with common symptoms like a runny nose are an exception as long as they are negative. 

Members of their household do not require testing if they do not have symptoms and can continue their activities as long as they are healthy and adhere to safety regulations.