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Schools, barbecue, wedding add to COVID high-risk contact count

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The number of high-risk COVID contacts spiked by nearly 50 people in the Grey Bruce Health Unit’s daily COVID-19 update Friday, though just two new confirmed cases were reported.

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The health unit reported two more COVID-19 cases Friday, bringing the number of active cases in both counties to 20. The latest confirmed cases were from Arran-Elderslie and Brockton.

Dr. Ian Arra, the medical officer of health in Grey-Bruce, said health unit staff were also managing 79 high-risk contacts Friday and 19 of them will soon drop off the list. Thursday the health unit reported 30 high-risk contacts.

Among the high-risk contacts in Friday’s report was a class of students at Notre Dame Catholic School in Owen Sound sent home after one person tested positive with COVID. Exactly how many went home wasn’t available Friday afternoon.

The health unit reported the single case Tuesday, on a section of its website reserved for single positive cases at schools. If COVID is transmitted to at least two people in school it’s deemed an outbreak, is posted as an outbreak and triggers a news release, Arra said.

As well, St. Teresa of Calcutta Catholic School in Walkerton had one positive case Thursday, two people were asked to isolate and nine others were deemed low-risk contacts and were allowed to attend school. That case had yet to be posted Friday.

Also contributing to the spike in high-risk contacts was a wedding outside of Grey-Bruce. There were 10 Grey-Bruce people attending who were deemed high-risk contacts.

A further 19 people made the high-risk contact list after 27 people attended a barbecue gathering outside of Grey-Bruce.

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But those 19 were from various other health unit jurisdictions and will drop off the local list and be added to other health units’ lists. Eight people from Grey-Bruce who attended the barbecue gathering will remain high-risk contacts here, Arra said.

There have now been 2,274 confirmed cases of the pandemic virus in Grey-Bruce, 2,228 of which are considered resolved. The health unit has no declared outbreaks anywhere currently. Figures were current as of midnight Thursday.

Three local people are in hospital in Grey-Bruce and one is in hospital outside of Grey-Bruce. There have been 22 deaths attributed to COVID.

Vaccines given in the past week numbered 1,635 in Grey-Bruce. In all, 228,034 doses have been given. So far 82.6 per cent of those eligible for a COVID shot have at least one dose in Grey-Bruce.

The percentage of those eligible who have both shots is 77.2 per cent in Grey-Bruce. The percentage of the total population with two doses (including children younger than 12 years not yet eligible), is 67.8 per cent, the health unit’s website said Friday.

The age groups with the lowest percentage of vaccination among those eligible are between 12 and 29 years. Sixty-five per cent of 12- to 17-year-olds have had both doses, 64 per cent of those 18 to 24 years and 65 per cent of 25- to 29-year-olds have had two shots.

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