Increase in number of infections locally

Focus shifting to mobile clinics and those at more risk

Article by Valerie MacDonald

There will be fewer local mass vaccinations clinics upcoming in the tri-county area due to the shortage of vaccine and the need to put resources towards mobile clinics and providing shots to those in congregate settings like retirement homes and those seriously ill at home, says the local Medical Officer of Health (MOH).

The priority will be on this fragile age group of which there is a high percentage within the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPR), Dr. Natalie Bocking said during the first virtual media conference update since taking on her new position.

Those vaccinations already booked by people in the health unit’s area (that includes Northumberland) will go forward as those were made with confirmed doses, she said.

As new vaccination dates become available they will be posted on the provincial internet and telephone booking sites.

“If a clinic is full it won’t show up,” Dr. Bocking said, adding that over the next few weeks there will be “fewer appointment” slots for mass clinic with the HKPR area. If there is no supply, appointment opportunities will not be put up on the site, she said.

Dr. Bocking did, however, refer to recent reports that more vaccines were being acquired by the Federal Government and with more supply, the mass vaccination clinics would operate at full capacity within the local health unit.

Pharmacies are also providing vaccination like the one at Shoppers Market in Cobourg where people lined up around the block this past Saturday in order to get their first shot.

Asked if after using one pharmacy location for their first vaccination, that person can go to another for a second one, the MOH said she could not see why not since they are all recorded through the provincial system.

She noted that 80% of the COVID-19 cases are within 20% of the postal codes in Ontario and that this local health unit is not among those.

In addition to pharmacies, mass vaccination clinics and mobile teams, vaccinations are being undertaken at primary health care settings, she added.

Addressing the epidemiology of COVID-19 activity in Northumberland, Halliburton and the City of Kawartha Lakes, Dr. Brocking said there has been a significant increase in the past two weeks bringing the number of cases to 1,534, and that 81 of the 124 active cases of the past three weeks are in Northumberland.

At the same time, she said she thought that the case numbers had plateaued at about 20 cases per day in the tri-county area. While the test positivity rate in the province is higher than 10 % it is just over 3% here.

There are fewer outbreaks in long-term care facilities and with eight ongoing at this time. While at first seniors were the ones testing positive or becoming sick with the virus, within the past two weeks about 30% of variants are under the age of 20.

At this time about 27% of the population in Northumberland, Halliburton and the City of Kawartha Lakes has received a first dose.

People who are eligible can book a vaccination appointment through the provincial booking system. To make an appointment, visit: www.ontario.ca/bookvaccine or call 1-888-999-6488. The local health unit is not handling bookings.

#vaccinations, #hkprhealthunit, #covidnews

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