A 45th case of COVID-19 in Grey-Bruce was announced as of 3:30 p.m. Friday.

A man in his 80s, who is isolated, was added to the list of people testing positive for the pandemic respiratory infection, the Grey Bruce Health Unit reported.

Medical officer of health Dr. Ian Arra tried to temper his relief concerning that number, saying “Again, I don’t want to say good. This is a half-decent outcome. Because if there was no social distancing, there will be more cases.”

Seven new cases have been announced since Easter Monday. Arra stressed “it’s important to keep the social distancing, washing hands. We’re in this together.”

No one with COVID-19 is in hospital, 10 people have recovered, and 14 of the cases are healthcare workers. The health unit confirmed the person who admitted to hospital on April 8 was discharged Thursday.

Arra said he doesn’t inquire about many patient details unless he needs them, but he did know that patient had disease serious enough to be admitted to an intensive-care unit.

Owen Sound has the most confirmed cases by far in Grey-Bruce at 25, but the health unit notes that includes long-term care facilities. Maple View Long Term Care home in Owen Sound is the only such facility with an announced COVID-19 outbreak.

The health unit has not said how many Maple View residents have the virus, but a home administrator confirmed some residents do. The health unit has confirmed some staff were infected. Arra has said how many have it isn’t important because once there’s one case, stepped-up measures are activated to contain the spread.

He also wants to avoid adding anxiety to the situation and to respect privacy. It’s not revealed to residents, who are isolated, which among them has COVID-19, he said. Among families, only those of infected residents are informed.

But he acknowledged there is public concern about how many people there have it.

Dr. Arra issued an open letter to staff at nursing homes, homes for the aged and retirement homes in which he thanked and congratulated them for their work, particularly amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Please take this as a sincere thank you for staying the course, and caring for our most vulnerable,” the letter says.

He concluded by saying he’s confident they all will “rise to this occasion and I want to let you know we will be there with you to support you along the way.”

In Grey County, West Grey has four COVID-19 cases, Grey Highlands and Southgate have three each, Georgian Bluffs and Meaford have one each and Chatsworth, Hanover and Blue Mountains have no lab-confirmed cases.

In Bruce County, Saugeen Shores and South Bruce Peninsula each have two, Arran-Elderslie and Huron-Kinloss have one each, while South Bruce, Brockton and Northern Bruce Peninsula have no confirmed cases reported.

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Since more COVID-19 testing has started, as of Monday the health unit will no longer contact people to tell them that their test results are negative, Grey Bruce Health Unit spokesman Drew Ferguson said.

Instead, people will be directed to a provincial online portal to access any test results.

People who test positive for COVID-19 will continue to be informed personally by the health unit.

“Each of those is resource-intense just to make contact with those people. I’m sure they’re all anxious and I know . . . that human touch is better, but we just don’t have the resources to do it anymore,” Ferguson said.

Find test results at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/. You will need a photo health card and personal details to log in. To allow for processing, check the online portal about five days after the test swab has been taken.

Anyone without Internet access may call the health unit for results at 1-800-263-3456, ext. 3000.

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The health unit’s 31stsituation report, issued Friday, noted it had received a “significant” donation of personal protective equipment from Chapman’s Ice Cream and Bruce Power. The equipment is being distributed locally to long-term care, retirement and group homes, and other communal living locations including shelters.

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Meaford Mayor Barb Clumpus thanked residents and encouraged them continue to follow the medical officer of health’s directions by staying home except for essential errands, following social distancing guidelines and washing hands thoroughly and often.

Council will meet electronically on Monday and essential services including water management, fire protection and waste pickup continue, she said in the Friday message.

She advised anyone who needs help of any kind to get through the pandemic to call 211.

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Bruce Power, Bruce County and Huron County have purchased machines to sanitize personal protective equipment of frontline healthcare workers.

The “Clean Flow Health Care Mini” machine “can destroy 99.9 per cent of pathogens and viruses on surfaces and clean up to 1,000 N95 masks per hour,” David Abbott, Bruce Power’s director of community and Indigenous relations, said in a news release Friday.

The machines, which will be delivered in two to three weeks, will only be used “in the event that there are shortages in procuring new personal protective equipment for our frontline healthcare workers.”

The Bruce Power and Bruce County machines will be located in Paisley at Abraflex, which supplies personal protective equipment to the nuclear industry and makes other products.

Stephanie Crilly, Bruce County’s emergency information officer, said these will be the first machines of their kind in Grey-Bruce. Huron County will announce soon where its machine will be located, she said.

“The Clean Flow Health Care Mini was developed by Clean Works, based in Beamsville, Ontario, using technology verified by the University of Guelph and approved by Health Canada on April 13, 2020,” the release said.

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Bruce Power and the Power Workers’ Union announced a $400,000 donation to University Health Network in Toronto to accelerate research into treatment of people vulnerable to COVID-19 and faster testing for frontline workers.

While the health network receives provincial funding for patient care and diagnostic testing, it is looking to corporate Canada to help fund research into vaccines, immunology and other interventions, for today and the longer term, a news release said.

The nuclear operator and the union, which each donated $200,000, “are stepping up to help fund this research and are issuing a challenge to other companies in the energy sector to show their support,” the release said.

University Health Network includes Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute.

Read original article at: https://www.owensoundsuntimes.com/news/local-news/arra-urges-people-keep-up-their-covid-19-fight