- by Anne Finlay-Stewart, Editor

After publishing over 700 Situation Reports on Covid-19 from Grey Bruce Public Health, the Owen Sound Hub received their last daily report on  March 14, 2022.

By then there had been 6,710 cases of Covid-19 reported in Grey-Bruce since the first case in 2020. 52 local people had died of Covid-19, up from 24 on January 1, 2022.

We will use the sources available to us to keep you informed about Covid-19 locally as we go forward. We follow all media releases from the Grey-Bruce Medical Officer of Health, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, PublicHealthOntario and the Ontario Science Advisory Table.  We stand by our facts and sources, and we thank those who have supplied information and verification.

As of Friday, two local long-term care homes and a retirement home were in Covid-19 outbreak.  Most residents and many staff have had four vaccinations. Visitors and contractors in most facilities are still being given rapid antigen tests and refused admittance if they test positive or decline to wear mandated protective equipment.

Staffing shortages are affecting most sectors, and parents were forewarned by the Bluewater District School Board in a letter in January of the impact this might have in schools. One day last week, a substitute teacher reported that 16 staff were absent from their local elementary school. Since changes in testing and contact tracing, the prevalence of Covid-19 in schools cannot be accurately reported.

Some immuno-compromised children get to school on buses. On one local school bus there are three vulnerable children, wearing masks. The driver is masked, and all but one of the fellow students riding the bus have voluntarily agreed to wear their masks.

Owen Sound Transit drivers, employees of First Student, continue to have the option not to wear a mask while the bus is moving if they feel the mask interferes with driving.

Many primary care medical visits are still being done by telephone. Current Covid-19 protocols and visitors' policies for the Grey Bruce Regional hospitals are available here. At least one busy dental clinic still asks you to remain in your car where you will be called when they are ready to screen you and take you directly to the dental suite. Similar safety precautions are being taken at optometrists and other personal services.

If you have Covid-19 symptoms, steps to be taken are provided by Public Health here.
PCR tests are no longer available to the general public, and the Medical Officer of Health does not recommend rapid antigen tests for asymptomatic people.

Covid-19 and its variants have not left Ontario, nor Grey-Bruce.  Many meetings and other gatherings continue to be held virtually; we receive reports that others have been cancelled due to outbreaks among participants.  Hand hygeine,  masks when distancing is not possible, getting vaccinated and staying home when you are sick are still the recommended public health measures.  Fourth Covid-19 vaccinations are currently available for eligible high-risk residents of Ontario, but have not been made available for the general population at this time.

Screen Shot 2022 03 31 at 5.46.19 PM

The chart above shows cumulative data on Covid-19 from wastewater in all 34 Public Health juristictions in Ontario. When we saw it and heard Dr. Peter Juni, Chair of the Ontario Science Advisory Table, characterize this growing 6th wave as "the ‘throw-caution-to-the-wind’ wave", we wrote to the Communications Co-ordinator of the Grey Bruce Health Unit asking if there would be a comment from the Medical Officer of Health. We received no response. Dr. Juni has announced that he is stepping down to take a position at Oxford, and the Ontario government is rolling the work of the Science Advisory Table into Public Health Ontario.


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