By Sue Tiffin
The following are brief reports from a Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge district health unit press conference held Oct. 27 with medical officer of health Dr. Natalie Bocking.
Mass vaccination clinics are reopening this week.
Bocking spoke again to planning for the return of five different mass vaccination clinics across the region. The clinics will allow for convenient and efficient vaccination of more people, including youth aged five to 11 should vaccine approval occur, and those eligible for third shot boosters.
“We do know as we look at restarting some of these larger clinics that venues that were previously available, a number of them hockey arenas, are now being used for other things, primarily playing hockey or other kinds of ice sports, and so we are having to look at other opportunities that will still be large enough to accommodate a larger number of people coming through but they won’t be quite as large as our previous clinics that were held in arenas.”
Bocking said some clinics would start as early as next week to start getting organized, though approval for a vaccine for youth was still “a waiting game.”
Clinic options will also be available in Fenelon Falls, Lindsay, Cobourg, and East Northumberland during the week with high school clinics continued to be offered on weekends.
Parades during the pandemic
Bocking spoke on parades prior to updated provincial guidelines on parades during the pandemic.
“I think that event organizers for parades have a number of ways to be innovative and creative in supporting how they’re choosing routes, the types of activities the floats are doing as they’re going along the street. I think throughout the pandemic we’ve seen a lot of creativity and I know parades are really important parts of traditions, so I think both organizers and municipalities right now are figuring out what they’re able to do with any changing regulations to be able to promote these activities in a way that best meets the needs of their communities.”
“I think there are options available and in general I think it’s also up to attendees when they participate in events to also do their best to follow all of the basic public health measures.”
Low case numbers due to public health measures
Since the start of the pandemic, 2,488 cases of COVID-19 have been recorded across the HKPR region, and as of last Oct. 27, just four cases were active – two in City of Kawartha Lakes and two in Northumberland County, with 13 close contact cases being followed. No outbreaks or school-related cases were reported.
“What this means is it translates to an incidence rate of 3.7 cases per 100,000, which is lower than what we’ve seen for quite some time,” said Bocking. “When we look provincially at the numbers, we see the numbers have continued to trend downwards, which I think really speaks to how the province has been able to somewhat temper this fourth wave of COVID-19 that was expected this fall.”
Bocking said vaccination and continued public health measures such as mask mandates and proof of vaccine are controlling the wave, and helping to keep numbers low.
“We know these measures work and it has been demonstrated so across Ontario,” said Bocking.
Adults aged 18 to 29 have lowest vaccination rate
As of last week, the coverage rate of individuals aged 12 and over across the health unit who have received one dose of COVID-19 vaccine is 86.2 per cent, while 82.5 per cent have received two doses of vaccine. The age group with the lowest vaccination rate coverage is young adults 18 to 29, currently sitting at 70 per cent having received two doses of vaccine.
The health unit continues to offer mobile, pop-up and school-based clinics. For more information visit https://www.hkpr.on.ca/2021/09/01/vaccination-clinics/.