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Sunday, May 24, 2020
COVID-19 Pandemic Coverage

Avoid all non-essential public gatherings, health officials advise

There is no safe number when it comes to public gatherings, says the region’s acting medical officer of health.

“I would like all residents in our community not to gather,” Dr. Hsui-Li Wang said in a teleconference briefing this morning, nothing the 50-person limit set down by provincial edict is only a starting point.

Public Health officials are still receiving reports of public gatherings such as church services. Wang called for an immediate halt to such practices.

“We have been getting a lot of calls from the public about gatherings they they’re witnessing,” she said. “We have heard that there are some gatherings of faith communities that are still relatively large.”

Wang advises against all non-essential in-person meetings of any kind, noting the region regularly gets calls from residents reporting concerns ranging from church services to sightings of neighbours recently returned from travelling and venturing outdoors despite self-isolation protocols.

“If everyone does their part, that’s going to help.”

“We don’t want these types of gatherings to happen anymore,” added Mike Murray, the region’s chief administrative officer.

To date, the region has yet to lay any charges in connection to regulations put in place to stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Officials are focusing on public education rather than enforcement, he said.

“Our goal is compliance.”

Wang noted that those groups and individuals contacted about their practices have typically complied immediately with the concerns raised by officials.

“I sincerely appreciate their cooperation,” she said.

Limiting physical contact is the paramount goal just now, she stressed. To that end, it’s best to act as though you could come in contact with the virus in any circumstance.

The number of cases in the region continues to rise, with officials as yet unable to determine when the number might peak.

As of today, there are 69 cases in the region: 33 confirmed, 36 presumptive. Eleven of those patients have been hospitalized. There have been 1,463 tests carried out, of which 901 were found to be negative, while 493 still await results. Public Health is monitoring 562 people.

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