Ford must be ready to revert all of Ontario back to lockdown measures

Well it was a nice run while it lasted, wasn’t it?

If you recall, the mid-March coronavirus lockdown saw Canadians of every stripe and from every locale come together as a united front to fight back the COVID-19 scourage in hopes of a better day and more time for our officials to prepare for a potential second wave. Build inpatient capacity, develop or source more quicker and reliable tests and figure out strategies for when life might gradually return to normal.

While it might take years to figure out how and why the novel coronavirus unduly burdens long term care homes, there was time over the summer months for regulatory bodies and LTC management teams to develop interim processes that would mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in nursing and retirement facilities.

In Prince Edward County we bought into the mask concept lock, stock and barrel even if some of our part-time visitors left their masks and brains at home.

But now we are facing the dreaded second wave and it seems like we aren’t going to get off so easy this time. A pair of active cases in Prince Edward County as of Tuesday and 18 in each of neighbouring Belleville and Quinte West indicate it’s only a matter of time before COVID-19 comes knocking for real.

At the time of the initial outbreak, this corner praised Premier Doug Ford and the Ontario government for their diligence in dealing with COVID-19 and taking the narrow and necessary path of locking almost everything down as a way to stop the spread.

Those early decisions were a painful dose for all Ontarians but the medicine seemed to work. Flattening the curve became everyone’s mantra. No unneccessary trips. Constant hand washing. Maintain social bubbles.

But summer soon beckoned as numbers plummeted. Around the county, it was impossible to tell a global pandemic was raging as visitors beat a well worn path to our door to enjoy the sand, the sun, the wine and the fun. A return to school and a semi-normal routine brought about cautious optimism in September that maybe we were out of the COVID-19 forest but any light from the clearing has all but dwindled. The question for our provincially elected leaders is what have you done during the summer lull and when are you going to administer another dose of COVID-19 preventive medicine? Whatever was planned, strategized or mapped out to avoid strict measures isn’t working.

To hear Premier Ford these days, the messaging is far removed from the early days of COVID-19 when everything was on the table to stop the spread. By developing colour coded COVID regions and not locking down high transmission areas like gyms and bars throughout Ontario, Ford has opened the door for easier region-to-region transmission, a deep concern in Prince Edward County where folks are still coming to hide out for the weekend. As tough as it is for parents to hear, in person classes for students might need to take an extended break to get the numbers trending in the right direction.

Ontarians deserve a clearer strategy for COVID-19’s second wave and our health must remain the overarching priority. If that means another lock down, so be it.

The pain of the first months must not have been surrendered in vain.

-Jason Parks

PICTURING OUR COMMUNITY

FIRE ON THE SHORES of WELLER’S BAY – Prince Edward County firefighters were busy on Friday afternoon at a structure fire at the corner of Smokes Point Road and Quigg Lane in Ameliasburgh. The cottage was unoccupied at the time of the blaze which required the services of the Prince Edward Fire Rescue’s ariel truck. No injuries were reported on scene and the cause of the fire was not believed to be suspicious in nature. (Gazette photo by Desirée Decoste)