NWHU Acting Medical Officer of Health says public adherence to COVID-19 preventative measures paying off
Tim Brody - Editor
Dr. Ian Gemmill, Acting Medical Officer of Health for the Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU), said he feels our area has “dodged a bullet”.
He shared during his public COVID-19 Q&A session on May 6 that all 16 positive coronavirus cases reported in the NWHU’s catchment area have been resolved.
“Since the last time we had a public session a week ago (April 29), we have not had any new cases of coronavirus diagnosed, documented in our area,” Gemmill shared.
Gemmill emphasized the importance of frequent hand washing, not touching one’s face, and physical distancing when in public.
“This virus is now, I think, here to stay with the human race, therefore we really can’t let our guard down.
“While we may be able to relax some of the restrictions, I don’t think we can relax the personal protective measures that each and every one of us should be practising,” he stated.
“We’re still recommending strongly that, unless it’s for an essential reason, we ask that people not be travelling between communities,” Gemmill added.
Asked about the relatively low number of positive cases recorded in the NWHU’s catchment area compared to other areas of the province, Gemmill shared, “I think it’s partly geography, it’s partly I think good luck on our part, I think it’s also the adherence of our population to the measures that have been put in place. I think that the restrictions that have made our lives so difficult over the last few weeks have actually benefited us a lot.”
He added, “I also want to point out that the cases that were diagnosed here, were all contracted either outside through occupational travel, through other parts of the world primarily, but the individuals who were ill in our area, have really done the right thing by being in isolation, keeping themselves separate so that they did not put the rest of the community at risk.”
Asked his thoughts on Ontario’s reopening strategy, Gemmill said, “I think now that we’re in a better spot than we have been almost two months ago, I think that we need to balance the livelihoods of people, their businesses, their economic wellbeing, we don’t want people to lose their jobs if that can be prevented, we don’t want businesses to go bankrupt if it can be prevented, and so the goal here is to, as I understand it, to relax things in a slow and steady way so that we can observe what happens as we do it.”