Chatham-Kent woman petitions for mandatory masking in the region
Region's medical officer of health remains hesitant to recommend mask-wearing
A petition created by Chatham-Kent resident Tera Fox that asks the municipality to implement mandatory masking has received more than 2,200 signatures as of Thursday.
The petition, which Fox created on July 20, will go to city council on Monday. Fox said she wants to see council pass a mandatory mask-wearing bylaw that would make it a requirement for people to wear masks for indoor public spaces and when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
"I've actually been very appalled at the fact that Chatham-Kent hasn't done this on their own," she said.
"We're wanting to keep the spread to a very minimum so that we can keep our health system not overwhelmed."
Other municipalities in southern Ontario, including Toronto, Windsor and London, have all implemented mandatory masking policies.
Chatham-Kent's medical officer of health Dr. David Colby has said that while there is strong evidence supporting the effective of medical grade masks, the data is unclear when it comes to cloth masks.
For this reason, he said he's been hesitant to recommend them.
Fox said with the recent increase in cases in Chatham-Kent she feels masking would be a good "preventative measure."
'Cluster' of COVID-19 cases linked to one boating trip
Chatham-Kent Public Health said Thursday that a "cluster" of COVID-19 cases have been traced back to a boating trip.
Multiple households were involved in the trip, the health unit said, which took place over several days outside of the municipality.
The health unit is now tracing the contacts of each of the individuals, of which they say there is a "very large number."
"While we are in Stage 3, members of the community need to be reminded that we are still in a pandemic, and the potential for rapid spread of COVID-19 is very real," Colby said in a press statement.
"Social circles are a maximum of 10 people for good reason; with everyone else we must physically distance."
This latest cluster comes as a spike of new cases popped up in that region. On Wednesday, officials reported that a second person from Chatham-Kent died.
After seeing low numbers of new cases in the months of May and June, Chatham-Kent has seen increasingly more new cases in July. The region entered Stage 3 of reopening July 17.
As of Thursday, Chatham Kent Public Health reported 308 cases for the region, with 84 still active. Three people are in hospital and one workplace is experiencing an outbreak.
Of all cases reported in Chatham-Kent, 253 contracted the virus through a close contact.
Chatham-Kent Public Health is reminding people to physically distance two-metres from one another even when outdoors, stay home when you are unwell, not exceed the gathering limits (50 indoors and 100 outdoors) and use 70 per cent alcohol hand sanitizer frequently.