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Calls to Niagara's COVID-19 info line have tripled in a matter of days

'A lot more anxiety,' says Hirji after more than 660 people went to get tested on the same day
Dr. Mustafa Hirji. Photo: Thorold News archive

As Niagara is seeing a larger daily count of COVID-19, calls to the region's public health COVID-19 phone line has tripled in just a matter of days – and testing centers are seeing line-ups.

On Tuesday, 7 cases were reported in Niagara that has now seen over 1000 cases of the infection confirmed in residents since the first patient was discovered on March 13.

Right now the daily average is 4 cases per day, up from the last half of August, which had around 1.5 new cases per day.

The provincial numbers for the second time this week stayed over 400 cases in the trend that has health officials concerned over the resurgence of the virus. 

"There is a lot more anxiety among people right now," said Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Mustafa Hirji.

"Many people are paying close attention to their health or have symptoms, and have been parents of school children where there have been cases."

He said callers have questions about symptoms or have children in either of the two schools in Niagara that have confirmed COVID-19 cases.

The region's three assessment centers are also reporting a rush, with 665 tests performed on its busiest day during the pandemic.

Niagara Health says it is performing an average of 500 tests daily as they are working to expand their capacity.

Hirji said anyone who has a concern relating to the pandemic is free to call but says that the best time to not get stuck in a jammed phone-queue is after the morning hours.

The line is open from 9:15 a.m to 8:30 p.m daily.

Hirji said 5 of the 7 cases reported on Tuesday were individuals who had been in contact with previously known cases.

The remaining are listed as community transmission with no known cause.