GREY-BRUCE – As Ontario enters step two of the Roadmap to Reopen, two days ahead of schedule, the Grey Bruce Health Unit has plans to vaccinate as many people as possible.
That includes students. A special youth-only COVID-19 vaccine clinic is scheduled for Friday, July 2 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Hanover Hockey Hub. It’s by appointment only, and is open to those 12-17 years of age. Appointments must be booked on the provincial booking site.
This is a first-dose clinic. Dr. Ian Arra, medical officer of health for Grey-Bruce, said at a recent board of health meeting that the plan is to have students fully vaccinated by the time school resumes in the fall. The first dose will be administered in early July, and the second in the latter part of August.
Youth were the last group to become eligible to receive the vaccine, and this puts them behind other age categories.
The health unit has requested additional supplies of vaccine in response to a recent spike in cases. The increased supply of vaccine has meant additional clinics. Two walk-in clinics were scheduled for earlier this week using the Moderna vaccine, which is interchangeable with both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines for the second dose. Additional clinics are scheduled all week in Owen Sound, Kincardine and Hanover.
Increased clinics means an increased need for volunteers to staff Hockey Hub clinics. Three shifts of about 20-25 (non-medical) volunteers are needed at each location throughout the day to assist in cleaning, client screening and supporting clients in navigating. Training and personal protective equipment are provided. Visit www.publichealthgreybruce.on.ca/COVID-19/Help-my-Community.
Number of cases spikes
The health unit reports a sustained daily increase in the number of cases, from an average of five to 25.
The majority of these cases are complex, and are related to disadvantaged groups within our society including people who are transient, homeless, and/or drug users, according to the health unit’s website.
Of concern is the fact the Delta variant appears to be driving the surge. This variant has a short incubation period and is highly transmissible. Public health is working with community partners, including police, on isolation compliance and adhering to public health measures.
Second doses of vaccine have been offered to all shelter residents. Mobile units, with EMS support, are offering the vaccine to people in unregistered shelters and rooming houses.
The health unit advises everyone to get fully vaccinated as soon as possible.
Situation this week
As of Tuesday morning, the number of active cases stood at 139, including 27 with variants of concern, and 260 high-risk contacts.
There were 21 cases reported in the previous 24 hours – six in Saugeen First Nations, five in Saugeen Shores, two in South Bruce Peninsula, two in Owen Sound, and one each in Meaford, Kincardine, Georgian Bluffs, Chatsworth, Arran-Elderslie and Town of The Blue Mountains.
Eight people with COVID are hospitalized in Gray-Bruce, while two Grey-Bruce residents with COVID have been transferred to hospitals outside the area.
Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times