COVID cases drop, vaccine arrives in Ridgetown

The long-awaited arrival of the novel COVID-19 vaccine has arrived in Ridgetown.

The shipment of vaccines arrived on Feb. 5 and have been administered to long-term care residents within the community (due to press time, more info on this next week).

There were seven new COVID-19 cases reported on Friday, Feb. 5, a drop off from the 20 cases reported on Feb. 4. With the 13 recoveries reported Friday, the number of active cases in the region fell to 136 from the record high of 142. As of Feb. 6, the cumulative total of cases sits at 1,264.

Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Colby, said he is hopeful the drop in cases will continue.

“Let’s hope it doesn’t jump up,” said Colby. “I would like to see that trending down.”

Colby said he expects the shipment of vaccines to be enough to finish giving the first dose to all long-term care home residents. He added prior to the vaccine’s arrival, there were still 600 long-term care residents in the area to be vaccinated.

However, the provincial government announced on Feb. 4 the new target for getting the first dose into those residents is Wednesday, Feb. 10 – five days later than the original goal – because of delays in vaccine shipments.

“That should be enough to complete our long-term care home residents in Chatham-Kent,” said Colby. “My team is standing by and pumped, ready to go.”

According to the region’s top doctor, 404 total doses have been administered in Chatham-Kent with the first shipment of vaccines.

Chatham-Kent is currently in Phase 1 of Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program, which focuses on residents, essential caregivers, and staff of congregate care settings for seniors, health care workers, adults in Indigenous populations, and adults getting health care at home for chronic conditions.

CK Public Health said vaccines are safe, effective and the best way to protect individuals and those around them from serious illnesses like COVID-19.

“Vaccines work with your immune system so your body will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. This can reduce your risk of developing COVID-19 and make your symptoms milder if you do get it,” said health officials.

Currently, two COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for use by Health Canada — Pfizer and Moderna.

Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News