WINGHAM, ONT. -- The Grey-Bruce Health Unit says they’ve largely got a recent explosion in COVID-19 cases under control.

On April 15, the health unit asked residents to voluntarily stay home, because the region was reaching a “critical threshold” in cases.

Following months of minimal cases, Grey-Bruce reported over 170 cases last week, their highest weekly case count since the beginning of the pandemic by far.

Many businesses voluntarily shut their doors for two days to help control the spread of the virus.

Health unit staff were redeployed from vaccinations to helping with contact tracing.

Dr. Ian Arra, Grey-Bruce’s Medical Officer of Health, says it worked.

Despite cases still being higher than normal, the “critical threshold” was not exceeded, he says.

While he expects a lingering number of cases related to last week’s outbreak, the “risk to the community is mitigated.”

“Public health did what we had to do. The community did what they had to do and together we were able to contain this potentially dangerous surge in COVID-19 cases." says Arra.

"It is crucial for all of us to stay the course with the three Ws: wash your hands, watch your distance and wear a mask over the coming weeks until the vaccine rollout is complete this summer."

Grey-Bruce added 14 new cases for a total of 1140 confirmed cases, to date.

There remain 127 active cases in Grey-Bruce, with five local patients in hospital.

Saugeen Valley conservation reopens trails

Trails owned by the Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority (SVCA) are open to the public again.

After deciding to close their trail network last week until May 20 to stop people from congregating, the SVCA have changed their minds, and reopened trails for “passive use” yesterday.

Saugeen conservation officials say after talking with the Grey-Bruce Health Unit, they decided they could safely reopen trails for the hiking public.

The initial move to close their trails for the length of the stay-at-home order, was met with widespread public dismay.