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With precautions, not much of increased risk from tourists

To the Editor:
What is the increased Covid-19 risk due to the return of tourists to the County upon the reopening of short-term accommodations (STAs) and Sandbanks?

If County residents take reasonable precautions, it’s my (informed but non-expert) opinion that there will not be many new Covid-19 cases in the County. Note: To date, there have been only five to 9 confirmed cases in PEC.

To date, we’ve done very well with self-isolation and physical distancing. Now that there is much less virus in the environment, self-isolation is not as necessary. We have to learn to live with COVID-19, which means continuing to impede transmission of the virus, including by physical distancing, hand hygiene, and wearing a mask.

Here is a Q&A regarding the reopening of tourism here:

1. What is the risk from STA renters? Data from Toronto show that the number of COVID-19 cases per 100K population in high-income neighbourhoods is only about one-20th of that in low-income neighbourhoods. As most STA renters are higher income, the risk from these folks will be quite low, relatively close to that from County residents.

2. How about the risk at Sandbanks? There’s a mix of tourists and locals, but in an outdoors environment, which is low risk. As long as physical distancing is maintained and crowding is limited by park management, the risk to locals will be low.

3. What about Quebeckers? It appears that the Quebec government and public health authorities have brought COVID-19 under control, with the risk now being comparable to that in Ontario. So no additional concerns.

4. But what about the increased numbers? As the population of the County is considerably greater in the summer, there is a need for increased caution where larger numbers of people may be found. This will be particularly true for front-line workers, e.g. in retail stores.

5. How about the risk to seniors and people with chronic conditions? As the mortality risk is much higher for these folks, they need to be more cautious than the rest of the population, and it would be prudent to minimize contact with tourists.

In summary, It’s my (non-expert) view that there will not be much of an increase in risk from tourists per se, but there will be an increase in risk due to the greater summer population of the County.

However, given the few confirmed cases to date, the increased population is unlikely to result in a large number of new cases among County residents.

Gary Mooney
Prnce Edward County

Filed Under: Letters and OpinionNews from Everywhere Else

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  1. Gary Mooney says:

    Check out this article for some reassurance about tourists.

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