Limit contacts, top doctor urges

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The acting medical officer of health for Renfrew County and District is warning local residents to limit their contacts to help prevent the spread of coronavirus variants.

“Less is best” when it comes to social contacts, Dr. Robert Cushman said in a new video message released Friday afternoon.

Dr. Cushman said Renfrew County has had a “good February” with “very few” new confirmed cases of COVID-19, but that the health unit has seen a concerning trend in its contact tracing of positive patients, with up to 15 or 20 people considered close contacts.

“This doesn’t make sense,” he said.

“We’ve had a lifting of lockdown, you can go to work, you can do some shopping, and you can get outside a little more than usual, but we’ve said all along this does not mean socializing – this does not mean it’s party time.”

In one case, he added, the health unit had an example of a “bonfire party.”

“I don’t know how distanced people were or how many masks people were wearing, but I really question that kind of activity if it’s not done carefully,” he said.

Cushman said with new “super infectious” variants of the coronavirus detected in Ontario, it’s more important than ever for people to limit their social contacts.

“This is how this virus will get into Renfrew County and this is how it will spread like a brushfire,” he warned.

“Please please please, (continue) masking, (social) distancing but most of all, limit your social circle… We have to be extremely careful and limit the number of people you socialize with.”

Dr. Cushman said limiting social contacts will “help us get through this winter” until a greater supply of COVID vaccines is available in the spring.

“But in the meantime, it’s cold and it’s still winter, we’re indoors. You have to limit your social circle and you have to pay vigilant attention to masking, distancing, hand hygiene, and as I said, overall the number of people you associate with, because the virus loves to associate with people.

“That’s how it gets into our community, that’s how it spreads, and that’s how it does its damage.”

To view the whole video, click here.

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