Coronavirus cases surge in Brant, no new cases on Six Nations as new standards role out for face masks

SIX NATIONS — Canada’s top physician announced new standards for cloth masks on Tuesday while case rates on Six Nations took an encouraging slow down.

SNGR’s latest update shows there are 9 active cases with no new positive cases diagnosed. In the last week there were 5 lab confirmed COVID-19 cases on Six Nations.

Meanwhile, Brant County Health Unit is seeing a surge in cases with a total of 49 new cases confirmed in one week, the highest single week case total since the beginning of the pandemic. Currently BCHU is reporting 62 active cases with 4 people in the hospital in stable condition.

That region is also reporting a number of outbreaks, including one at the Salon Mirage location in Lynden Park Mall. A total of 5 employees were confirmed to have COVID-19. No customers are reported to have contracted the virus, however as a precaution the salon was closed and BCHU investigating its hygiene protocols.

In Haldimand-Norfolk there are 26 active cases with a total of 8 new confirmed cases in the last seven days.

Nationally, Dr. Theresa Tam unveiled new recommendations Tuesday for non-medical masks, saying they should be made of at least three layers and stressing their importance as the country heads indoors for winter amid a surging COVID-19 case count.

Face masks should comprise two layers of tightly woven fabric such as cotton or linen, plus a third layer of a “filter-type fabric” such as polypropylene, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

“We’re not necessarily saying throw out everything that you have,” Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said at a news conference Tuesday.

“The fit is the most important thing,” she said, emphasizing a pinched nose and full coverage of nose and mouth, but also comfort and breathability.

In a departure from news conference habit, the country’s top politicians and doctors wore their masks except when speaking, underscoring the role of face coverage in battling the pandemic as temperatures drop.

The mask memo came as Ontario reported a single-day record of 1,050 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, and 14 new deaths due to the virus.

About 80 per cent of the new cases were in the hot spots of Toronto and the surrounding regions of Peel, Halton, York and Durham.

Despite the unprecedented number of daily cases, Premier Doug Ford said he will ease restrictions on the province’s hot spots, in contrast with Quebec’s recent extension of “red-zone” measures.

Ontario rolled out a new tiered system Tuesday that will determine when and to what extent coronavirus restrictions are placed on parts of the province, a move the government said will help fight the pandemic at a regional level.

Areas with the lowest case counts, positivity rates and community transmission levels will fall into a green category with the most permissive rules. The colour-coded system then moves upward through yellow, orange and red with increasingly strict measures, topped off by a grey “lockdown” level where the most stringent protocols would be implemented

The framework goes into effect on Saturday, allowing restrictions previously treated as hot spots including Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa to loosen up. The softer rules mean gyms and cinemas can reopen and indoor dining will resume with capacity limits following closures under “modified Stage 2” measures imposed Oct. 10.

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