Renfrew County’s top doctor says it is a matter of when, not if, the increasing COVID-19 cases spill over into the region from Ottawa.
"It’s a challenge. We tend to get some degree of spill over from Ottawa," says Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Robert Cushman. "The real question is how big it’s going to be."
Ottawa Public Health reported a single day record of 142 COVID-19 cases Friday. Currently in Renfrew County there are three active cases, with 53 total being reported since the start of the pandemic.
"We may find that by next Friday or so that we’re experiencing some of the woes that Ottawa is," says Cushman.
"Put it this way, we’re uneasy. I’m uneasy. And the community needs to be uneasy and take the appropriate action."
Despite Renfrew County’s close proximity to the capital, it has been mostly business as usual in places like Arnprior, where Lisa LaFleche’s shop, Jade & Laney Boutique has continued to do well.
"Am I surprised, no. I think we’re trying to stick together and realize we are in this together," says LaFleche. "People have been really courteous of each other, following the social distancing rules, mask obviously."
Business has been steady at Lumbertown Ale House in Arnprior as well, despite the restaurant serving a number of diners coming from the capital.
Co-Owner Jade Andary is skeptical as the number of patrons goes down as the cases go up.
"It does concern me as a whole that with the restrictions coming in that there may be another shutdown," said Andary.
"It is worrisome," says LaFleche. "I hope that as small businesses in the valley we can sustain and continue on past this. But we do have to be vigilant and be prepared for what may come."