COVID numbers continue to fall in Durham but wastewater signals show the virus is still here

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Published July 5, 2023 at 4:27 pm

Is the pandemic finally over? It would appear so, judging by the declining numbers across the board. And for the first time in recent memory, there are no current outbreaks at local hospitals, retirement centres and long term care homes.

Durham Region Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Kyle is not as quick to celebrate, however, noting in his online message to residents that COVID-19 activity has remained steady over the past month and wastewater viral signals remain high indicating that the virus “continues to circulate in the community.”

His message may be in need of an update, but the wastewater reports from the Region’s two sampling sites do back him up. The signal strength at the Corbett site in Whitby is medium, with all five samples showing positive signs of the virus. The news from the Darlington site is even more definitive, with a ‘high’ signal strength and 3-for3 positives from the samples.

But every other indicator shows the virus on the way out. New cases have been chopped in half from last week to nine; there are just two people in hospital with the virus with none in ICU; and the number of deaths is still zero.

The per cent positivity rate is down to 4.5 per cent from 5.9 per cent; and the weekly incidence rate for the June 25-July 1 period is down to just 1.2 (per 100,000 population) from 2.5.

High risk residents are still being encouraged to get another booster dose if it has been more than six months since their last shot.

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