Sault Ste. Marie Mayor Christian Provenzano says he is waiting for numbers from the Algoma Health Unit in the wake of Public Health Algoma confirming its fourth case of COVID-19.

Provenzano says 306 people have been tested for the virus in the Algoma District and he is waiting for the results of 136 of those tests.

He does expect that a number of them will be positive with results expected this week.

That said, Provenzano emphasizes people must continue to use physical distancing and stay in their homes unless absolutely necessary.

He says if people do that, it can minimize the risk of an increase in demand for Sault Area Hospital services and also give the facility more time to prepare for a possible surge in cases.

Public Health Algoma provides services to the city, as well as a large outlying area extending from Wawa to the North and East to Elliot Lake and Blind River.

\Provenzano says it is also critical for travellers to self-isolate.

“Based on the information APH has shared about the four positive test results, it is critical that anyone returning from out of country travel, especially the United States, self-isolate for 14 days.

“If you have a family member, friend or acquaintance who is not, you need to encourage them to self-isolate and make sure they know that it is illegal not to self-isolate.”

He admits there has been some frustration expressed in regards to releasing information, but he trusts the health unit is doing its job.

“There has been some frustration expressed about the quantity of information APH is releasing about each positive test result. APH has a contact management process and it thoroughly assesses each situation and the risk of the positive test result to the community-at-large.

“We have to trust APH to do its job and we should. I certainly do. It is doing a very good job in very difficult circumstances.
“Lastly, the longer this process takes the more difficult it is going to be for all of us. With time and more positive test results, uncertainty about our health and our jobs, fear and frustration will grow. This may affect the way we treat one another. We have to stand on guard against this. It is easiest to be friendly, accepting and kind when things are going well; it is most important to when they are not. It is understandable to be frustrated by people who are not following APH’s advice.  However, deriding those people, speaking negatively to them or about them, either through social media or otherwise, will not likely bring them onside. Community is not created when we focus negatively on our differences, it is created when we focus positively on what we have in common. Let’s bring people onside by modelling the behaviour we want to see, looking out for each other and setting a positive example.”

He also had a few words for people who have tested positive.

“As for the people in Algoma who have tested positive for COVID-19, none of them should be made to feel that they have done anything wrong. This is a highly contagious disease that travels quickly.

“Each of the people who have tested positive, their families and their friends need our unconditional support. Let’s show them the best of Sault Ste. Marie and area and as things get more challenging, as they will, let’s meet that challenge with kindness and resolve.”