CORNWALL – The first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine have arrived in the region. Eastern Ontario Health Unit staff along with medical staff and paramedics have begun to deliver the first of two doses of the vaccine at Long-Term Care homes in the region. The first shipment of the vaccine arrived on Wednesday and more shipments of both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are expected this month.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 infection numbers continue to increase in the region but the trend is slowing. During his January 14th media availability, Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said the rolling seven-day average of new cases per 100,000 was decreasing.
"I'm actually encouraged and hoping to see this trend continue," he told reporters.
According to the January 14th EOHU numbers, the average for cases was 120.6, which would still be considered at the Grey-Lockdown level under the province's colour-coded COVID-19 restrictions system. Forty or more cases per 100,000 is the level for Red, 25 cases for Orange.
Currently there are 623 active cases of the Novel Coronavirus in the EOHU region, and the overall case count has increased to 2,046 people infected since the pandemic began.
Locally, there have been 21 cases in South Dundas, but only four cases are active. North Dundas has had 40 cases overall, five of which are active.
Cases still continue to increase in Cornwall and in South Glengarry. Cornwall has 227 active cases, or one in case in every 207 people in the city. South Glengarry has 54 active cases, most of which are due to a large-scale outbreak at a LTC home in Lancaster.
Lancaster is one of 13 LTC homes or residences that have COVID-19 outbreaks listed on the EOHU's Facility Outbreak page.
One facility that is not in a COVID-19 outbreak is the Community Living Dundas County facility in Winchester. The Leader reported this week that the facility was listed as having a respiratory outbreak that the source was unknown and that the outbreak was COVID-19 related. In fact, all residents and staff have had COVID-19 tests and the results for all tests were negative.
Community Living Dundas County executive director Debbie Boardman said that the people were tested for COVID-19 as a precautionary measure.
"They have been treated medically for the respiratory condition and are recovering well," Boardman said. "We have also received verbal confirmation that the(unknown) respiratory outbreak is over."
She explained that CLDC staff and family members of people who live in CLDC supported homes have been following protocols, requirements and direction received from the EOHU and the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.
"Everyone has been doing a fantastic job of following the guidelines," Boardman said. "They have been diligent and to date, no one has had a positive COVID-19 test.
She added that they were looking forward to a vaccine being available to people living and working in Dundas County.
The EOHU's COVID-19 numbers are updated weekdays (Monday to Friday, except statutory holidays) and are available on the organization's website.
Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader