Lambton MOH says assessing COVID risk, severity is challenging

Lambton Medical Officer of Health Dr. Sudit Ranade (Community news conference May 2020)

Lambton’s medical officer of health says the region is at the point in the pandemic where serious questions are being asked about risk and how severe COVID-19 is.

Dr. Sudit Ranade was asked at a media briefing Monday to comment on those who insist the seriousness of the virus is being overstated by health authorities and the media.

He conceded there are many people who could very legitimately look at the numbers and look at their own situation and say “even if I were to get COVID, that wouldn’t be such a big deal for me.”

“That’s a very reasonable, legitimate thing to say, the problem is when you translate from the individual level to the population level, a bunch of people saying the same thing about their risk and choosing to do whatever they want, means a much greater risk to the level of the population,” said Ranade. “It also means that some people who didn’t make that choice could be impacted.”

Dr. Ranade said we’re walking a fine line trying to balance living our lives and limiting the spread of COVID.

“How can we get as much of our livelihood and lives back as possible while making sure we’re also protecting people who are very vulnerable and who might be at risk of severe disease? Because if you ask somebody who got severe disease from this, they would say that this is a really serious issue and everybody needs to take it seriously because you don’t want to be where I was.”

Lambton’s top doc also struck an optimistic note Monday.

He said they haven’t seen a lot of additional transmission from Sarnia-Lambton’s two active outbreaks.

“And so we’re anticipating, that as long as that stays stable, that certainly this week we should be able to say that those are finished.”

Outbreaks were declared on October 15 at Twin Lakes Terrace where two staff tested positive, and at an unnamed workplace where three cases were confirmed.

Dr. Ranade also said the window is closing on any possible spread in the community from the long Thanksgiving weekend.

-With files from Colin Gowdy