Cornwall & EOHU Failing on Social Distancing & Masking Up. By Jamie Gilcig #covid19

MAY 24, 2020 – It’s odd how people react to COVID 19. There are those that take it seriously, and those that take it so lightly they compare it to a common flu.

What we know is that we don’t know enough about this virus yet. We know we don’t really have a true treatment and that many die, and that not all those that die are advanced seniors.

While many seniors residences have been impacted in Canada so have Meat Packing plants with few seniors there. What is common is the lack of social distancing and Personal Protection equipment.

We know that world wide countries that have embraced social distancing and have made wearing a mask in public mandatory have had dramatically reduced infection rates and deaths.

Here in Cornwall we have an even scarier situation. Paul Roumeliotis, our Public Health Officer boycotts this newspaper. We get no media releases, no invites to his pressers, nor do we get any of our questions answered and that’s scary because we seem to be the only Cornwall media willing to ask the meaningful questions.

You can’t just rely on one source who sends their data to the province when that source has impeached themselves as the EOHU leadership and board have.

Frankly they should be fired and removed for the public’s safety.

When a local Food Basic store had at least one confirmed employee not only test positive for COVID, but work while sick, no fines were issues. The store was allowed to do an over night clean up with the blessing of our Public Health Officer even though other grocery stores such as T&T in Calgary and others did Deep Cleans and took clear and transparent actions.

A quick search on the internet show other stores equaling the care shown in the T&T video including a local Tim Horton’s outlet, but the one common theme is that they are guided by local public health officials.

CFN, with the help of some volunteers did a sampling of retail shopping locally this week.

We found that of 31 visits 22 had instances clearly not of best practices for social distancing and almost all had point of sales staff who were not wearing masks. Some didn’t even have Plexiglas barriers.

Even scarier, this writer attended a local gasbar/convenience shop and the clerk there was visibly and repeatedly dry coughing while not wearing a mask. This store had shut down its coffee service, but was still offering fountain drink service, but you had to ask for a cup from the coughing clerk.

It’s not up to customers to confront or diagnose staff or other customers, but proper safety procedures should be in place at all times. This example was clearly not safe.

When posting a simple warning of the location and that the clerk was coughing we had nearly 50 abusive comments lambasting me for warning the public.

The problem is that if a community is lucky enough to not have visible evidence of the virus people take it for granted that they are safe or even worse, the flat earth antivax people perpetuate their conspiracy theories.

And if you aren’t testing enough how do you truly know how many have been infected unless you purely go by actual numbers of dead or seriously ill? And what if you can’t trust the authority for releasing that information?

The most disturbing case evolved this week when CFN confirmed, after multiple allegations, that our local hospital has been sending our ICU Covid patients to Ottawa for treatment.

Normally there would be a process, but we aren’t being allowed to get answers to the big questions so we posted it on the Standard Freeholder facebook page even though the Post Media Managing Editor Hugo Rodrigues is beyond hostile towards yours truly, and has sat in silence knowing that Freedom of the Press is not being respected locally during this pandemic.

As you can see Mr. Rodrigues was hostile and certainly not grabbing the lead. I was putting the public safety first as we have reduced resources during this pandemic.

So now Mr. Rodrigues had confirmed the lead we fed the Freeholder.

Now our hospital has great staff; an ICU of at least 14 beds, and has at least 4 ventilators. There has been discussion that it, like other hospitals has expanded its capacity, so why are all of our ICU patients being sent to Ottawa?

The Freeholder then ran a story this week, running with our confirmation lead, but again under Mr. Rodrigues failed to ask the big questions.

“All three cases listed as being in hospital — two of them in intensive care units, are being treated in Ottawa. This hadn’t been specified in prior briefings, though Roumeliotis told a Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce and Choose Cornwall video teleconference audience on Tuesday morning that both people in ICU were in Ottawa. On Friday, he said the third case disclosed as being hospitalized earlier this week was also being treated in Ottawa.”

Would we have known this without this newspaper sharing the lead?

We have asked questions since before this Pandemic hit. Why hasn’t the Freeholder or other media locally? They attend the pressers and have access.

When we broke the story about the St. Lawrence College Students at the Walmart Pharmacy where was the Freeholder on the follow up? (Cornwall Walmart Pharmacy Manager States that 3 Nursing Students to Self Quarantine After Fellow Student Diagnosed with COVID 19 Coronavirus 031420)

When Councilor Syd Gardiner stated that our story was false in a live council meeting where were the other media to challenge him? Councilor Gardiner is also the chair of….the EOHU. And why is a former Sears sales person the Chair of the EOHU? He has no medical background?

The history of pandemics is that there are second waves and in many cases they hit harder than the first wave.

We need to learn from our failures in preparing for this pandemic, and we need to make sure we have good people in charge and prepare for the second, especially as we have a higher percentage of residents who fit the high risk criteria.

We need to make sure our front line health care and support workers have PPE supplies. We need our community to embrace best practices until we find some solutions to COVID 19. It’s that simple.

You look across Canada and you see strong leadership and community support in British Columbia. Compare that to Ontario and sadly Quebec.

It’s our choice collectively. We all can take the steps to mask up and social distance and do the right things for our communities.

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  1. WOW!!

    Sales staff are not required to mask up. Just take a look at any grocery store. Personally I think any sales staff should mask up. I wear a mask whenever I go into a store or if there’s a chance of meeting someone who won’t respect social distancing. I find a lot of people don’t wear a mask. Do they all think they are invincible? And watch what happens if you ask someone to back up!

  2. Author

    I have. They get ugly. When you have a weak Public Health officer not enforcing the rules the trickle down can be deadly.

  3. Weak rules / laws, but even more it’s ignorant people or people who think they are invincible or above the law. They can make all the laws they want. But if people chose to ignore them there isn’t much that can be done. A cop cannot be put in every store or on every street corner to make sure people do social distancing. What will it take for people to do what is needed to help stem this?

  4. Author

    Oddly enough it will take high numbers being ill to make this real for the covidiots. That’s really sad and really scary that people should face illness and death.

    Our leadership needs to step up and make masks mandatory to start.

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