President and CEO of the Dryden Regional Health Centre, Doreen Armstrong-Ross, says social distancing and physical isolation measures are working to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Still, Armstrong-Ross stressed that the public still needs to follow all of the directions to prevent further outbreaks and further spread of the virus.

“Ontario and the DRHC prepared for a certain amount of cases based on population. At the same time, the self-isolation and quarantine measures have kept us safe. Everyone has done such a good job following those. We are seeing the result of that. That is why we are in a best-case scenario situation.”

If social distancing measures were not strictly followed, estimates showed that between 30 and 70 per cent of the local population would be infected. Approximately 5 per cent of those testing positive would require hospitalization and acute care.

In Dryden, the DRHC serves roughly 14,000 people. A conservative infection rate of 30 per cent would have lead to the hospitalization of 210 people. A high infection rate of 70 per cent would have lead to the hospitalization of roughly 490 people.

At this time, there have only been four resolved cases in Dryden, and none of them needed acute care.

“We are still prepared and ready for more COVID-19 patients, however, we are seeing the isolation measures worked. But there are some hot-spots in Ontario. Over 50 per cent of the cases are in long-term care homes. There’s a lot of work being done to keep our elderly safe,” added Armstrong-Ross.

A provincial model released in early April suggested the province might see 300,000 COVID-19 cases in a worst-case scenario, or as few as 20,000 in a best-case scenario.

With the exception of long-term care homes, experts say the province is seeing numbers that are more in line with a best-case scenario, and this is being attributed to the hard work and sacrifice of Ontarians.

“We have done such a good job, that what I want to caution, is it’s not time to stop doing these things. The measures have worked. We’re seeing decreased cases. But we need to keep on those.”

“The virus is still very-much in Ontario. It is very important that we continue self-isolation and physical distancing. That has kept our community safe and it will continue to do so. I cannot stress that enough,” she noted.

Armstrong-Ross reminds the public that when a new COVID-19 case is confirmed, that number is constantly fluid and can be updated at any time. She says that testing results have been roughly two weeks behind the actual results.

The hospital has created isolation areas for affected patients to help keep other patients and staff safe. As of last week, staff also began participating in mock COVID-19 exercises.

A multi-disciplinary team of frontline staff have been training and treating mock COVID-19 patients, to prepare for local patients. These measures are in addition to a number of visitor and patient restrictions within the hospital.