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Niagara Falls
Friday, April 19, 2024
How many NOTLers haveCOVID-19? Region won’t tell mayor

Specifics on pandemic cases would help town handle response, Disero says


The Region of Niagara is still not releasing numbers of cases of COVID-19 by municipality, and Niagara-on-the-Lake Lord Mayor Betty Disero said she’s hoping that changes.

The reason is “for the sake of privacy,” Disero said in an interview Monday.

“To me it doesn’t make any sense at all,” she said. “Because you know, if you’ve got 30 cases in a municipality, how is that telling anybody who’s got it?”

Disero said knowing the numbers of cases and how the virus is spreading would be helpful for the town when planning its emergency response.

“And more importantly, for me, is the fact that, if I know we’ve got X number of cases in Niagara-on-the-Lake, it would be helpful for us to target out phases better,” she said.

“Because if they say, 'Yeah, X people have it in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the majority of them got it through travel abroad,' then I know that we’ve got to focus the message more on: If you’re returning, stay home,” Disero said.

“If they’re saying the majority are from people from community spread, then we’ve got to work with the essential stores that are still open to try and find out a way to assist that better, because it’s spreading within the community somehow, right? So, just knowing how people are contracting this would be helpful to try to stop it, to stop the spread.

She said just knowing regional numbers doesn’t really let the town know how it should be responding.

“Just knowing all over the region that 50 per cent is close contact, well what does that mean? It doesn’t mean community spread, it doesn’t mean returning from home. Does that mean within the long-term care facilities? Well, our three long-term care facilities seem to be OK at the moment, so it really leaves our hands tied in terms of trying to assist or put in mechanisms in the community that will help us to overcome this crisis.”

Disero said she’s been actively trying to get the numbers from the region and will try again at Thursday’s regional council meeting.

“Hopefully, at the region meeting on Thursday enough members of council will be able to convince the medical officer of health — because they act on their own, they’re not a political body — that the numbers are large enough now that the issue of privacy is no longer relevant, in terms of the potential to identify patients.”

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