‘The second wave is here:’ Renfrew County doubling testing capacity

OTTAWA — After a Pembroke high school became the first in Ontario to close due to COVID-19, Renfrew County officials now say the second wave of the virus is here.

As of Monday afternoon, the County of Renfrew has eight active cases. Five are from Fellowes High School, the first in Ontario to be shut down due to COVID-19, with no timeline for reopening.

Debbie Robinson, the warden for the County of Renfrew, is asking residents to stay vigilant.

“We won the first round, this fight is not over,” she said. “We did everything possible to keep COVID-19 at bay in our county, we were successful.  Today, I’m asking you to once again take up the challenge; the second wave is here and the number of positive cases is rising.”

The closure of the high school is a warning, Pembroke mayor Mike Lemay said.

“It’s an important reminder that we are still in the middle of a pandemic.”

Dr. Robert Cushman, the acting medical officer of health for the region, pointed out the region has had more cases in September than it did in March.

“What does this tell us?  It tells us two things – one is, this is the second wave; the other one is that we have COVID fatigue.

As a result, the county is increasing their testing capacity, says Chief Michael Nolan, the Emergency Management Co-ordinator.

We added in additional testing capacity over the weekend in Renfrew County, and beginning tomorrow we have doubled up our testing capacities.”

The region is reminding everyone about the dangers of Covid-19. Dr. Jonathan Fitzsimon is the Clinical Co-ordinator for the RCVTAC.

“COVID-19 has most certainly not gone away; it’s not become less dangerous, it’s not become less contagious.”

Fitzsimon is reminding everyone to obey physical distancing rules, wash hands, and to get tested if they have symptoms.

“If anyone has any of the possible symptoms of COVID-19, even if they are mild – the person with symptoms must self-isolate and get tested.”

If you think you have symptoms and live in Renfrew County, contact them to arrange for testing.

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