'Totally unacceptable,' Sarnia mayor reacts to growing COVID-19 cases counts in Lambton
LONDON, ONT. -- Concerns in Sarnia-Lambton won’t be waning any time soon it appears, as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, putting health officials ill at ease.
On Wednesday, Lambton Public Health reported 40 new cases in a 24-hour period, eclipsing daily case counts from before the holidays.
Medical Officer of Health Dr. Sudit Ranade worries that so-called COVID-fatigure is setting in.
"It’s important to go back and think about why this is happening. It is happening because every case has more contacts than they used to and those contacts lead to cases. And when I say contacts I am still talking about close contacts."
Ranade added that by all accounts it looks like this second wave is going to be tougher to get through than the first wave, because some people appear to have let their guards down and the restrictions aren’t as tight as they were in the first lockdown.
As of Wednesday there are 15 active outbreaks in Lambton County, including institutions, schools, and workplaces.
There is even an outbreak at Sarnia City Hall where two cases have been reported.
Mayor Mike Bradley says the City Hall cases are the result of community spread. It’s clear though, he’s not happy with the current trends.
"And for God's sake if you look back on some of the cases that have been happening in the community in the last couple weeks - a darts league, a meat raffle group, an office party. Totally unacceptable, just totally unacceptable given the message that’s been out there now for the last nine months."
Lambton Public Health is also pointing to COVID-19 cases coming from adult recreational hockey leagues.
Ranade would not say exactly where the approximately 20 cases are, pointing out that many recreational hockey players travel between communities. He did say he doesn’t necessarily believe that those affected weren’t following proper safety protocols.
"Recreational hockey is at its core a social activity. And so, even if you follow protocols related to it there are probably going to be times where, these are your friends, they’re people that you like, but you get closer to them than you need to which might include the pre- or post-hockey activities, or it may include things that actually happened while you’re engaging in that activity."
The concerns come as Sarnia-Lambton’s economic health is also top of mind for some.
A Sarnia councillor wants the province to restrict big box stores to selling only the essentials, such as groceries, making for a more equal playing field with small businesses that are closed during lockdown.
"When you see certain companies, stock valuations have gone through the roof," said Councillor Bill Dennis. "People are making more money now than they ever have basically because of the pandemic, profiting off the miseries that some people are going through - it’s not fair."
A special meeting of Sarnia council has been set for Tuesday to consider Dennis’s proposal to ask the province to change the rules for big box retailers.