Rural regions pushing COVID-19 case counts higher
WELLINGTON COUNTY, ONT. -- You could say Wellington County was largely untouched during the first wave of COVID-19. The second wave, however, is a much different story.
“Back on October 20th, we had zero cases of COVID in Wellington County. Now, we’re up to the high end, especially in Wellington North, Minto, and Mapleton,” says Town of Minto Mayor, George Bridge.
Wellington County has 24 active cases today. A week ago, Wellington had 52 cases. Most of those cases traced back to social gatherings like, backyard parties, garage get togethers, and kitchen table chats.
“It’s everywhere. That’s the problem. You get a little complacent, thinking it’s a big city issue, but once it’s here, it’s the silent killer,” says Bridge.
A similar story is unfolding in the Huron-Perth region, where rural municipalities like North Perth and Perth East, are pushing that area dangerously close to the red COVID category.
“This has been a devastating second wave in Huron-Perth. I do hope that we all pull together and bend this curve, as soon as possible,” says Huron-Perth’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Miriam Klassen.
At least part of increase in these rural regions can be traced back to the Amish and Mennonite communities, who have had numerous schools and churches, closed due to COVID outbreaks.
“There’s a lot of interconnected activity with that community, so once it got into that community it really went rampant,” says Bridge.
Bridge believes most of the Amish and Mennonite communities are now on board with the public health measures, and he’s confident the second wave surge in rural ontario has made everyone in the countryside realize, COVID isn’t just a big city problem.
“If they have ten or 15 cases, and we have five, we have a lot more as a percentage basis than they do. It says it’s here, in our communities,” says Bridge.