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UPDATED: COVID count climbs; eight active cases

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The tri-county area’s COVID-19 total has risen by seven cases since the start of the week, with eight active cases reported in the region at last count.

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Earlier this week, the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit’s total case count rose by five, to 407; that total rose by two more in the latest tally, based on figures as of 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic first hit the region, there have now been 409 cases, eight of which were still active, 349 of which have recovered, and 52 of which have proven fatal, the health unit noted.

Members of the community, as opposed to health-care workers or residents of seniors’ homes, remained the sector of the population affected by the active cases. None of the patients with active cases was hospitalized.

Two of the eight active cases were in the region including Brockville and the townships of Elizabethtown-Kitley, Front of Yonge and Athens, while three others were in the West Leeds/Gananoque area, one was in the Grenville/Prescott area and the two others were in Lanark.

Paramedics in Leeds-Grenville and Lanark have been running pop-up test sites in recent weeks, to take some of the pressure off the area’s COVID-19 assessment centres.

The next such event will be on Thursday, in Carleton Place, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Carleton Place Aquatic Centre, 359 Bridge Street. To get tested, everyone is being asked to book tickets through Eventbrite by following this link.

A ticket is only for one test, so if there are multiple family members who need testing, multiple tickets must be booked.

Testing will only be available to people who meet the provincial guidelines. These include: Having COVID-19 symptoms; having been in contact with a confirmed positive COVID-19 case and having been referred by public health; or being workers and residents of, or visitors to, long-term care homes, homeless shelters or other vulnerable group living settings.

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A second pop-up site will open in Perth on Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Conlon Farm Recreation Complex, 127 Smith Drive.

“It is by appointment only and that’s becoming provincewide, because of the backlog in testing,” said Perth Mayor John Fenik.

To book a testing ticket for the Perth site residents can follow this link.

All links can be reached from the health unit’s website under ‘Assessment, Testing and Results.’

Anyone seeking a test at either site is asked to bring their health card and wear a mask.

Both of these pop-up testing centres have been organized by the health unit, working with Lanark Paramedic Services.

Public health officials reminded residents across the region that it remained critically important for everyone to continue following public health advice, including everyday actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as practising physical distancing with people outside one’s household; wearing a face covering when physical distancing is a challenge or where it is mandatory to do so; washing hands frequently and thoroughly; and following gathering limits and rules.

As of Sept. 19 the province reimposed restrictions on all private gatherings, limiting the numbers to 10 indoors and 25 outdoors.

Meanwhile, the health unit announced Wednesday that non-COVID school immunizations will start later this month, reminding area families that those regular shots remain important even during a pandemic.

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The health unit is offering the meningitis, hepatitis B and HPV9 vaccines for Grade 7 students, and those Grade 8 students who did not complete their series last year at school-based clinics, officials said.

The school-based clinics will be held at host schools throughout Leeds, Grenville and Lanark on weekends beginning Saturday, Oct. 24.

These weekend clinics will be by appointment only.. Health unit officials said the “new model of service” is meant to minimize traffic in the schools, as a COVID-19 prevention method.

Schools are to provide parents or caregivers of Grade 7 and 8 students with clinic dates and information on completing consent forms and booking appointments.

“The health unit is planning additional immunization clinics for Grade 7 and 8 students who may need extra support or who are unable to attend their scheduled school clinics,” the health unit added.

The public health agency will post information about those additional clinics on its website later.

(With files from Heddy Sorour, Local Journalism Initiative)

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