Vaccine is in Uxbridge, but so are more COVID cases

·2 min read

After being notified about two weeks ago that COVID-19 vaccines were available to healthcare workers in Durham Region, Katie Millage, a personal support worker (PSW) on the memory care floor at Douglas Crossing, jumped at her chance to sign up for the vaccine.

“I’m just feeling so grateful and hopeful to be one of the first individuals in Uxbridge to receive the vaccine,” says Millage, who got the shot on Monday at the Oshawa Hospital Vaccination Clinic. “For the first time I feel like the end of COVID-19 is in sight.”

At press time on Tuesday evening, however, Uxbridge had 11 active COVID-19 cases. Five of those cases are currently being treated in hospital, and many of these cases are linked to an outbreak at the Uxbridge Cottage Hospital.

A statement from the Markham Stouffville Hospital said that Uxbridge residents could be assured that the safety of patients, healthcare workers and the community is the top priority.

“In consultation with Durham Region Public Health, an outbreak was declared on the inpatient unit at the Uxbridge site on December 24, 2020. Six staff members and six patients have tested positive for COVID-19. Staff are at home recovering and the COVID-19 patients in the hospital are in isolation and being monitored closely.”

With the holiday season now over, health experts are reminding everyone that it is now more important than ever to follow appropriate public health guidelines to stop the spread of COVID-19. With over a week of record high daily case counts in Ontario, the number of long-term care home outbreaks is also at a record high.

Slow vaccine rollout is a concern to many of those same experts. More than 70 per cent of the provincial supply is reportedly sitting in freezers right now. As of Monday night, approximately 50,000 doses of the vaccine had been administered in Ontario. Retired general Rick Hillier, chief of the Ontario Vaccine Task Force, said on Tuesday that less than 35,000 doses remain in freezers. Hillier said those doses were held back to ensure that second doses would be available 21 days after the initial doses were administered. Hillier also noted that by the end of this weekend, the initial shipment of vaccines will be exhausted, and the new shipment, expected to arrive later this week, will be fully administered by the end of next week.

A post-holiday season surge in case numbers is expected over the next few weeks.

Justyne Edgell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Uxbridge Cosmos