covid renfrew county

Ontario doctor begs people not to travel or socialize as some regions move out of lockdown

Just three regions in the entirety of Ontario have moved out of the shutdown and into the Green-Prevent level of the province's COVID-19 framework, but one local medical officer of health is warning that travelling and socializing will likely land any region right back in lockdown.

Dr. Rob Cushman, the medical officer of health for Renfrew County and District (RCD) Health Unit, shared his message with members of the public in a YouTube video this week. 

The doctor explained that cases have remained optimistically low in the area and, unlike Toronto, residents can now enjoy shopping, eating in restaurants, going to bars and getting a haircut as a result — but they must still avoid travel between regions and partying with friends. 

"We have to be extremely careful because you know, once this virus gets into our community, it can wreak havoc very quickly," he said. "And interesting enough, the cases we've had have all come from travel."

Cushman said the two things that always cause trouble in the region are travel and socializing, and he is especially concerned considering this weekend is both a long weekend and Valentine's Day. 

"This is no time for partying. Not at all. Please, please, please. Because we can blow this. We can ruin it on a weekend and we'll pay for it later," he said. 

"If need be, we're going to have to do a U-turn and go back into a lockdown. You don't want that, I don't want that. And while the numbers are improving in Ontario, no doubt you've heard about the variants. This is a very dangerous situation."

The region's top doctor also explained that Ontario residents from other parts of the province should not be visiting Renfrew County under any circumstances, something people from Toronto have been guilty of in the past

"I don't want people to travel. Don't invite your friends and family up to Renfrew County for the weekend or, for that matter, in the future. And please, please don't leave Renfrew County unless you absolutely have to," he said.

"Our latest cases all came into the community and infected the families where these people visited and, luckily, there was no further spread in the community. So that's what we're dealing with, really, travel and socializing."

Lead photo by

Clement Lo


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