By Sue Tiffin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
A resident of Haliburton County has died due to COVID-19, according to an epidemiological report update from the health unit on March 4.
The death marks the first local recorded COVID-19 related death of the pandemic, which was declared in March 2020. Confirmed deaths in the data reports are individuals who died and had a positive laboratory test for COVID-19, according to the health unit. To date, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge district health unit has seen 67 deaths related to COVID-19 – 54 confirmed, and 13 probable.
“While the health unit cannot provide specifics about an individual case, there was unfortunately a recent death of a Haliburton County resident due to COVID-19,” said Chandra Tremblay, spokesperson for the HKPRD health unit, on March 5. “The person had been hospitalized outside of the region for a non-COVID related issue and acquired COVID while in hospital.”
As there have not been any local positive cases of COVID-19 confirmed by the health unit in almost a month, the report of the death was confusing for those following Haliburton County’s daily case updates, and the Times sought further clarification from the health unit to explain the data update.
“HKPRDHU was notified of the case earlier in February and the person was included in our case count as of February 10,” said Tremblay. “The person remained in hospital, but due to issues with the data system, they were not included in our hospitalization or active case counts. The error was recently discovered, but the person had already died, and the death was reported in the health unit counts yesterday.”
As of March 4, in Haliburton County the health unit was reporting no current unresolved cases of COVID-19, two current high-risk contacts, and 51 confirmed cases to date. In City of Kawartha Lakes there are currently 11 unresolved cases and 37 high-risk contacts, with a total to date of 542, and in Northumberland County, there are currently 10 unresolved cases and 91 current high-risk contacts for a total of 1,037 confirmed cases.
The HKPRD health unit posts data reports daily from Monday through Saturday at http://www.hkpr.on.ca.