Public health authorities are reporting three new cases of COVID-19 in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties.
As of Friday afternoon there were six active cases in the region, five of them confirmed between Thursday and Friday.
Two of the cases announced Friday were confirmed Nov. 12. One stemmed from close contact with an infected person; the second was contracted while travelling, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health reported. The third case, confirmed Nov. 11, was one of local transmission.
Updated data on the health unit’s COVID-19 online dashboard also included more details on two other cases confirmed Nov. 11. One person was infected through local transmission, the other through travel.
Three of the week’s new cases were in Quinte West with one each in Belleville and Prince Edward County. The cases included a female patient age 19 or younger.
Of the male cases, one was no older than 19; one was between the ages of 20 and 29; and two more were between 40 and 59.
No outbreaks in schools or other facilities were reported.
No patients were in hospital as a result of the virus, the health unit noted.
The region had, as of Friday, had 87 cases, including five deaths and 76 cases deemed recoveries.
Hastings-Prince Edward remained a “green” zone, meaning relatively low virus activity and restrictions.
In Ontario, meanwhile, there were 1,396 new cases announced Friday, with 17 deaths related to the virus. The total was a decrease from Thursday’s record daily high of 1,575.
Premier Doug Ford and chief medical officer Dr. David Williams said new modelling showing Ontario could soon reach 6,500 new cases per day is “alarming.”
“We’re staring down the barrel of another lockdown,” Ford said.
He announced new, lower thresholds for COVID-19 restrictions and said further steps may be announced next week. Hamilton, Halton, Peel, and Toronto moved into the red zone, with residents told to leave home only for essential services.
“Please don’t lose hope,” said Ford, urging everyone to follow public-health advice.
Williams said it will be difficult but not impossible to stop the increases, but it’s needed to both protect people’s health and to avoid an overwhelmed health system.
“Intensive-care units could be overwhelmed in six weeks. The impact on our hospitals would be absolutely devastating,” Ford said in his daily briefing.
Health system strained
The Canadian Medical Association sounded the alarm about an impending “crisis” as rising cases push parts of the health-care system to near or full capacity.
The association said medical workers are getting “the short end of the stick” in the face of insufficient measures to slow the spread of the virus.
The doctors’ group said the health of Canadians must take precedence over economic concerns.
The association called on political leaders to implement “difficult but necessary” measures that public health officials have recommended.
Ford and Williams again said it was not time for a widespread lockdown.
Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said the country is projected to hit 10,000 new COVID-19 cases a day by early next month if the spread of virus continues at its current pace.
Tam said there were 45,000 active cases across the country.
Tam said public health labs tested an average of close to 55,000 people daily over the past week and six per cent tested positive.
She said the number of severe cases continued to rise, with an average daily increase of 1,400 hospitalizations, including 280 in critical care, over the past seven days.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada reached on Thursday a new daily high of 5,000 new cases.