Mayor Christian Provenzano offers the following statement on the recent positive test results for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Algoma district:
Algoma Public Health (APH) has now confirmed a fourth positive test result for COVID-19 in the Algoma district. There are a number of things that all of us should be mindful of and focus on.
Firstly, 305 people in the Algoma district have been tested for COVID-19 and 136 of those tests are still outstanding. We should expect that a number of them will be positive and that we will hear about those results over the course of this week.
Based on the information that APH has shared about the four positive test results, it does not appear that there is evidence of community spread in Algoma but community spread may be happening and can happen at any time. It is more important than ever that we follow APH’s advice. Go to algomapublichealth.com to learn about COVID-19 symptoms, self-isolation and #PhysicalDistancing. If we all follow APH’s advice and encourage those around us to follow it we do three things: we slow the spread of the virus, minimize the risk of a surge in demand for Sault Area Hospital services and give Sault Area Hospital more time to prepare for a potential surge.
Based on the information APH has shared about the four positive test results, it is critical that anyone returning from out of country travel, especially the United States, self-isolate for 14 days. If you have a family member, friend or acquaintance who is not, you need to encourage them to self-isolate and make sure they know that it is illegal not to self-isolate.
There has been some frustration expressed about the quantity of information APH is releasing about each positive test result. APH has a contact management process and it thoroughly assesses each situation and the risk of the positive test result to the community at-large. We have to trust APH to do its job and we should. I certainly do. It is doing a very good job in very difficult circumstances. To the main point, each of us has the information each of us needs: self-isolate if you have symptoms, stay home if you don’t and if you need to go out practice physical distancing.
Lastly, the longer this process takes the more difficult it is going to be for all of us. With time and more positive test results, uncertainty about our health and our jobs, fear and frustration will grow. This may effect the way we treat one another. We have to stand on guard against this. It is easiest to be friendly, accepting and kind when things are going well; it is most important to when they are not. It is understandable to be frustrated by people who are not following APH’s advice. However, deriding those people, speaking negatively to them or about them, either through social media or otherwise, will not likely bring them onside. Community is not created when we focus negatively on our differences, it is created when we focus positively on what we have in common. Let’s bring people onside by modeling the behaviour we want to see, looking out for each other and setting a positive example.
As for the people in Algoma who have tested positive for COVID-19, none of them should be made to feel that they have done anything wrong. This is a highly contagious disease that travels quickly. Each of the people who have tested positive, their families and their friends need our unconditional support. Let’s show them the best of Sault Ste. Marie and as things get more challenging, as they will, let’s meet that challenge with kindness and resolve.