Grey Bruce Health Unit says recent case surge connected to disadvantaged groups

·3 min read

Grey Bruce Health Unit (GBHU) is reporting the recent surge in COVID-19 cases is slowing down.

Beginning late last week, the GBHU began seeing an increase in the daily number of cases, going from approximately five cases per day to 25 cases per day. However, on Monday evening Dr. Ian Arra, medical officer of health for GBHU reported that the cases have begun to slow down.

"Grey Bruce is witnessing a slowing down in the rate of new cases connected with the recent surge of COVID-19 cases locally," stated Arra in a press release.

According to Arra, the majority of the cases associated with the surge can be traced to specific sectors of the community.

“Public health recognizes the majority of cases are situationally complex related to disadvantaged groups within our society, including housing challenged and people with substance use issues. As such, ensuring cases observing isolation and other protocols related to limiting transmission remain a difficulty with this population,” Arra continued.

As the surge mounted, public health once again increased the staff operating the case and contact management, as well as calling on the province to provide more vaccines.

Arra has confirmed that the surge is related to and caused by the Delta variant.

“Similar additional surges may be possible based on the experience of Delta in other locations where it is already widespread. COVID-19 remains a serious threat to unvaccinated adults, especially those middle-aged or older,” said Arra.

“There is a strong relationship between caseloads and vaccination rates. It is evident cases rose more rapidly in communities with lower vaccination rates. The Delta variant is significantly more contagious than earlier variants,” he continued.

In an effort to get more vaccines into arms, the GBHU has established two walk-in clinics, with no appointment required.

One will run today at the Julie McArthur Recreation Centre in Owen Sound from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m; and again Wednesday, June 30, at the P&H Centre in Hanover from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. These clinics are for those 18 years and older and will offer Moderna vaccine, both first and second dose.

“The goal is to have everyone in Grey Bruce with either their first or second vaccination by the end of July,” said Arra, adding that the vaccines are effective against Delta, nearly eliminating any chances of serious illness.

“It is clear vaccination is how the pandemic ends,” he said. “We continue to advise the public to get the first and second doses of vaccine, when eligible, as soon as possible.”

All Ontarians aged 18 years or older are now eligible to rebook their second-dose appointments for an earlier time.

Appointments can be made through the provincial on-line booking system for COVID-19 vaccinations at ontario.ca/bookvaccine.

In addition, GBHU has an app to assist Grey-Bruce residents in booking their COVID-19 vaccine appointments. The app is available free to download from Google Play and Apple Stores for all mobile devices and tablets.

Those without access to the internet can call the toll-free number 1-888-999-6488. For additional information on the health unit’s vaccine roll out program, visit the GBHU website.

Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca

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