COVID-19 cases falling in Haldimand-Norfolk

·2 min read

For the first time in weeks, the number of active COVID-19 cases in Haldimand-Norfolk is below triple digits.

The health unit reported 83 active cases on Wednesday.

The last time there were fewer than 100 active cases between the two counties was Dec. 30, when there were also 83.

The active case count fell by 59 over the past three days.

Wednesday saw two new cases and 19 recoveries, continuing a six-day trend of new cases in the single digits.

The recent slowdown comes after a difficult first few weeks of January, which saw active cases reach a high of 195 on Jan. 9.

Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, Haldimand-Norfolk’s medical officer of health, said “clusters of cases” can be traced to residents from different households gathering together and sharing meals indoors.

Three residents died this month, bringing the death toll to 38.

Nesathurai said the region is not out of the pandemic woods yet, adding it would be “premature” to draw conclusions based on a few encouraging days.

“I think depending on vaccine supply and distribution that it could be some time before the public health measures are removed,” he said. “I remain optimistic that over the long term we’ll get control of COVID-19.”

Health unit spokesperson Matt Terry confirmed that all residents of Haldimand-Norfolk’s 18 long-term-care and retirement homes who want to be vaccinated against COVID-19 have received their first doses, along with some front-line staff at those facilities.

Terry said 1,543 doses have been administered of the 1,950 received so far. The health unit’s initial expectation was to receive 3,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and the plan was to ensure all those who received a first dose would get their second shot on time.

“We hope we will get additional guidance shortly (from the province) so we can decide what to do with the vaccines we currently have in inventory,” Nesathurai said. “We want to be sure there’s sufficient vaccine so that at least the highest-priority groups can get their second dose.”

J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator