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Area has 14 new COVID cases

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The health unit reported 14 new cases of COVID-19 throughout the region on Thursday as the local surge showed no signs of slowing down.

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The latest numbers from the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit brought the total number of active cases to 49 – with the West Leeds region of the counties seeing the highest concentration of cases with 19.

This area includes Westport, Rideau Lakes, Leeds and the Thousand Islands, and Gananoque.

As of Thursday, outbreaks have been reported in this area at St. Edward Catholic School in Westport, as well as in Gananoque, at two businesses and one retirement residence.

On Thursday evening, the Upper Canada District School Board reported that one individual had tested positive at Rideau Vista Public School in Westport. Board spokeswoman April Scott-Clarke said the case was in addition to the other positive case reported at the school earlier this week, but the situation was not considered an outbreak, the school remained open and there was no risk of exposure at the school.

The provincial website tracking COVID-19 in schools still listed only one COVID case at Rideau Vista, the student captured in the statistics earlier in the week. The province updated its site to reflect that the single case reported at Smiths Falls District Collegiate Institute is a student.

Of the 49 active cases reported in the tri-county area, 46 were in the community at large, while three were health care workers. In a bit of good news, no long-term care or retirement home residents had the virus, and nobody was in the hospital.

The health unit’s numbers are based on data collected at 4 p.m. the previous day.

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As a measure to help further prevent the spread of the virus, some municipalities are beginning to impose restrictions at a local level.

In Westport, all municipal buildings have been ordered closed, while all recreation programs in Rideau Lakes are cancelled.

Both municipalities say gathering in any form should not happen right now.

To help encourage social distancing, Westport closed all municipal buildings in the village until Dec. 21. This includes the town hall, library and the community centre and arena.

Neighbouring Rideau Lakes Township announced a 45-day “pause” on all activities at its community halls has been implemented as a result of the growing local cases, and its township office is only open for tax payments, waste stickers, and permit and licence payments.

The active virus cases are heavily concentrated in this western edge of the tri-county region, though every other part of Leeds and Grenville and Lanark are also reporting cases.

As of Thursday, there were 19 cases in west Leeds, nine in the central Leeds area that includes Brockville, seven in west Lanark, two in east Lanark, and nine in Grenville.

Since the pandemic began, 557 cases have been reported locally. A total of 455 people have recovered while 53 have died.

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