The Glengarry News

COVID-19

Second doses

publisher May 12, 2021 - 12:21pm

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) is working hard to ensure that its COVID-19 vaccination efforts, including booking, continue to operate efficiently and ethically.

The EOHU appreciates that individuals who received their first dose, but who don't have an appointment scheduled for their second dose, want to ensure their second dose is received on time and in accordance with their respective recommended dose interval.

"We recognize that for some, this time frame is nearing and, understandably, they are worried," the health unit says.

 The provincial booking system currently only allows individuals to book first and second dose appointments at the same time. Individuals who have received a first dose of the vaccine without using the provincial booking system are not currently able to book an appointment for their second dose only. The Province is in the process of upgrading its booking system to allow individuals to book a single dose appointment only. As soon as this feature becomes available, instructions will be shared on the EOHU website, on social media and by e-mail to those who pre-registered with the EOHU for their second dose prior to April 28. In the meantime, the EOHU is planning clinics for those requiring a second dose based on future vaccine allocation. Individuals who have received their first dose, but don't yet have an appointment for their second dose, will not be missed or forgotten. In recent weeks, the EOHU has unfortunately had to turn individuals away at our clinics who had booked a single second dose that did not respect their recommended dose interval. We ask that individuals needing a second dose appointment only please continue to follow the latest updates and rest assured that appointments will be made available to them. For the latest information about COVID-19 vaccines, including which population groups are eligible to receive it and how to access it, regularly visit the Eastern Ontario Health Unit's website at www.EOHU.ca/vaccines

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Standby list

publisher May 1, 2021 - 10:24am
 
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) has announced that individuals who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine but who have not yet been able to book an appointment, can register online to stand by.
Should doses remain at the end of a clinic due to missed or empty appointments, eligible individuals on the standby list could be called in to receive the extra doses to avoid vaccine wastage at local clinics.
Go to www.EOHU.ca/standby for upcoming COVID-19 vaccination clinics. Each week, registration for the standby list will open to individuals who are currently eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine; can arrive at the selected clinic location within 20 minutes of receiving a call; have not yet booked an appointment; and have not yet received their first dose.
The standby list is not a booking tool and should not be relied upon to schedule an appointment. Individuals on the standby list are not guaranteed to be called in to receive a vaccine. They will only be called if there are unused doses available at the end of a clinic. The EOHU encourages these individuals to continue to attempt to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment through the provincial booking system or another vaccination partner if accessible (e.g. pharmacy, participating primary care provider, or other).
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McDonell tests positive

publisher Apr 30, 2021 - 2:00pm

Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry MPP Jim McDonell is self-isolating after testing positive for COVID19.

"After receiving my first dose of vaccine, I can tell you that I was particularly diligent in following the masking and distancing guidelines for the short two-plus week period required to achieve its protection," he says in a statement.

"The only situation I can recollect was waiting for an apartment elevator when someone masked in line inadvertently sneezed. I remember feeling uncomfortable, but it happens. Whether this was the point of contact, I can't say for sure, but I mention this only so that you may appreciate how little contact it takes for these new variants to spread and for the increased risk our essential workers and people in large urban areas face daily. While the short period of vaccination could not stop me from picking up the virus, I can credit it for the minor symptoms that I am experiencing that could easily be explained as the common cold."

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Schools to remain closed after break

publisher Apr 12, 2021 - 8:43pm
 
The Ontario government has decided to move elementary and secondary schools to remote learning following the April break. This move has been made in response to the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, the increasing risks posed to the public by COVID-19 variants, and the massive spike in hospital admissions, the province says.
"We are seeing a rapidly deteriorating situation with a record number of COVID cases and hospital admissions threatening to overwhelm our health care system," said Premier Doug Ford. "As I have always said we will do whatever it takes to ensure everyone stays safe. By keeping kids home longer after spring break we will limit community transmission, take pressure off our hospitals and allow more time to rollout our COVID-19 vaccine plan."
With appropriate measures in place, schools have been safe places for learning throughout the pandemic, as confirmed by the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local medical officers of health and have demonstrated low rates of in-school transmission. However, increasing rates of community spread pose a threat to the health and safety of school communities. As a result, all publicly funded and private elementary and secondary schools in the province are to move to teacher-led remote learning when students return from the April break on April 19, 2021. Private schools operating in-person this week are to transition to remote learning by April 15, 2021. This action is being taken in support of the Government's broader efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. Data will be assessed on an ongoing basis and health officials will be consulted to determine when it will be safe to resume in-person learning.
Child care for non-school aged children will remain open, before and after school programs will be closed and free emergency child care for the school-aged children of eligible health care and frontline workers will be provided. To protect the most vulnerable, boards will make provisions for continued in-person support for students with special education needs who require additional support that cannot be accommodated through remote learning.
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60 and over vaccinations start April 7

publisher Apr 6, 2021 - 4:30pm

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) has announce that starting April 7, residents 60 years of age and older can book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment using Ontario’s online booking system at www.Ontario.ca/bookvaccine

Individuals who require assistance with booking can call the Provincial Vaccine Information Line at 1-888-999-6488.

All remaining individuals listed within the province’s Phase 1 priority populations who have not yet been vaccinated or not yet booked an appointment are asked to pre-register using the EOHU online pre-registration tool at www.EOHU.ca/register. Pre-registration facilitates booking appointments quickly and easily as vaccine supply increases and more appointments become available.

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Lockdown continues until Feb. 16

publisher Feb 8, 2021 - 2:04pm

The Ontario government has loosened restrictions on many businesses while maintaining a shutdown in most of the province until February 16  as it strives to contain COVID-19. While it maintained most existing restrictions Monday, the government is enabling many retailers to reopen while limiting capacity to 25 per cent in most retail businesses.

There will be a 50 per cent capacity limit for supermarkets, stores that primarily sell groceries, convenience stores and pharmacies.

The Stay-at-Home order will continue to apply to most of the province 28 until February 16, when most areas, including the region served by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit is expected to return to the provincial COVID-19 response framework “and no longer be subject to the shutdown and stay-at-home orders.”

The government added, “These dates may change depending on the trends in local public health indicators.”

As local trends of key public health indicators improve, regions will be gradually transitioned back into this framework, with some new and modified measures in place.

Details were provided by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, and Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health.

“Our number one priority will always be protecting the health and safety of all individuals, families and workers across the province,” said Premier Ford. “But we must also consider the severe impact COVID-19 is having on our businesses. That's why we have been listening to business owners, and we are strengthening and adjusting the Framework to allow more businesses to safely reopen and get people back to work.”

Face covering and gathering limits requirements also remain in effect, however, the declaration of “emergency” will expire.

“While we have seen some progress in our fight against COVID-19, the situation in our hospitals remains precarious and the new variants pose a considerable threat to all of us,” said Minister Elliott. “As we cautiously and gradually transition out of the provincewide shutdown, we have developed an emergency brake system giving us the flexibility to contain community spread quickly in a specific region, providing an extra layer of protection.”

Recognizing the risk posed by new variants to the province's pandemic response, Ontario is introducing an “emergency brake” to allow for immediate action if a public health unit region experiences rapid acceleration in COVID-19 transmission or if its health care system risks becoming overwhelmed.

If this occurs, the Chief Medical Officer of Health, in consultation with the local medical officer of health, may advise immediately moving a region into Grey-Lockdown to interrupt transmission. “While we are seeing our numbers trend in the right direction, our situation remains precarious as the variants of concern remain a serious risk,” said Dr. Williams. “This is not a re-opening or a 'return to normal' and we must continue to limit close contact to our immediate households and stay at home except for essential reasons. By continuing to follow all public health and workplace safety measures, we can continue to reduce the number of new cases and the strain on our health system.”

“While the declaration of emergency will be ending, the risks posed by COVID-19 and the new variants remain serious concerns,” said Solicitor General Jones. “That's why extending the stay-at-home orders for most of the province is necessary to protect our communities, our most vulnerable populations, and stop the spread of COVID-19. We continue to urge all Ontarians to follow public health guidelines and stay home, stay safe, and save lives.”

Municipalities and local medical officers of health may have additional restrictions or targeted requirements in their region. Provincewide shutdown measures went into effect December 26. The government declared its second provincial emergency on January 12, 2021 and issued a Stay-at-Home order to reduce mobility and address hospital capacity concerns.

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Encouraging trend, words of caution

publisher Jan 29, 2021 - 3:43pm

With students preparing to return to classes next week, the number of total active COVID-19 cases in the region served by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit stands at 410 as of January 29, a decrease of six from January 28.

The number of active cases in Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry has increased by four to 111, while the number in Cornwall has dropped by one to 160; in Prescott-Russell the total has dipped by two to 121 and in the northern part of Akwesasne, the number of active cases has dropped by seven to 18. There are 26 active cases in South Glengarry and 19 in North Glengarry.

Overall, in Eastern Ontario, 24 patients are hospitalized; six are in intensive care. The number of deaths stands at 52; there are 18 outbreaks in long-term care facilities.

Meanwhile, as “Ontarians are on their way to successfully flattening the curve by the continued adherence to the province's public health measures,” the Ontario Hospital Association cautions, “We are not in the clear yet.”

Unfortunately, a new and highly contagious variant of COVID-19, B. 1. 1. 7, is now circulating in Ontario, putting the province's critical care capacity at risk once again. “The rate at which this variant rapidly spread throughout Roberta Place in Barrie shows the devastating and unforgiving toll that this variant can take,” warns the OHA. “At this stage of the pandemic, with health care workers exhausted and minimal surge capacity left in the system, we must not lose our focus. Almost 25 per cent of intensive care unit (ICU) beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients, and more than half of ICUs across the province are full or have only one or two beds left,” says OHA President and CEO Anthony Dale. “The steps taken in recent weeks have not been easy, but they have been essential to protecting the province's finite health system capacity.”

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Vaccinations begin

publisher Jan 13, 2021 - 1:23pm

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has announced that the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines has arrived in the EOHU region.

In accordance with the Ontario government’s mandate for the immunization of priority populations, the vaccines will be administered to residents, staff and essential caregivers in long-term care (LTC) homes starting January 13.

Local EMS paramedics and public health nurses from the EOHU will administer the vaccines within the LTC homes. “This is excellent news for our region,” says Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health.

“Vaccinating residents, staff and essential caregivers in long-term care homes will help protect our most vulnerable residents, who have been the most harshly affected by the spread of COVID-19.”

The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines are Pfizer vaccines, however, it is expected that Moderna vaccines will also arrive in the EOHU region within the coming weeks.

Due to a limited supply of vaccines, the Ontario government’s Phase 1 roll-out of the vaccine prioritizes individuals who are at higher risk of being exposed to COVID-19 or of developing a severe illness or dying from COVID. Vaccinations will begin with residents, staff and essential caregivers at long-term care homes and retirement homes, before moving on to other groups as more vaccine stock arrives in the region. Vaccine delivery is expected to accelerate over the coming months.

As vaccine stock increases, vaccination will expand to more population groups. It is anticipated that by this fall (or sooner), anyone who wants a vaccine will have access to one.

The EOHU will notify the public as the vaccine becomes available to different population groups. The EOHU urges residents to continue following public health measures throughout the coming months.

“While the arrival of the vaccine in our region is a great first step towards protecting our community, the reality is that it will be a number of months before the vaccine is available to everyone who wants it. In the meantime, we are seeing COVID-19 infections rapidly increasing in our area and across the country,” says Dr. Roumeliotis. “We must continue to maintain public health measures like masking, physical distancing and proper hand washing to protect our community until enough of our population has been immunized and the pandemic is brought under control.” 

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Vaccinations start Monday

publisher Jan 7, 2021 - 12:23pm

The first COVID-19 vaccinations in Eastern Ontario are scheduled to begin next week, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis says. The first delivery of 1,200 doses will be administered in long-term care facilities, with the vaccination of the most vulnerable people expected to be completed by the end of the month. Meanwhile, the number of positive cases in Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry, Prescott-Russell and the northern part of Akwesasne has increased to 511. Six patients are in hospital; none is in intensive care.

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Now orange-restrict zone

publisher Nov 13, 2020 - 9:09pm

The Eastern Ontario Heath Unit region is now "Orange restrict" under the Ontario government's COVID-19 response framework, after being labelled "Yellow-protect" last week.

The designation, meaning that stricter measures will be implemented in our region, was changed despite a decrease in active cases in the EOHU jurisdiction.

"These adjustments are necessary to respond to the latest evidence we're seeing and we are prepared to make further adjustments as the health experts continue to review the current public health restrictions. We must do whatever it takes to stop our hospitals from being overwhelmed and protect our most vulnerable," said Premier Doug Ford.

The latest modelling shows that if the number of new cases continues to grow at its current rate, the province could register up to 6,500 new cases per day by mid-December. Within the next two weeks the province will likely exceed its intensive care threshold of 150 beds, under any potential scenario.

The framework changes are in response to the current data and trends, and will lower the threshold for each of the five levels for: weekly incidence rates, positivity rate, effective reproductive number (Rt), outbreak trends and the level of community transmission.

Here is a summary of guidelines for the Orange zone.

General public health measures (gatherings, workplace requirements and face coverings)

  • Events and social gatherings
    • 10 people indoors
    • 25 people outdoors
  • Organized public events and gatherings:
    • 50 people indoors
    • 100 people outdoors
  • Religious services, weddings and funerals:
    • 30% capacity indoors
    • 100 people outdoors
  • Requirement for workplace screening
  • Face coverings required in:
  • Where patrons without face coverings are within two metres of workers, workers must use additional protections such as eye protection
  • Workplaces must develop and implement a communication/public education plan (highlighting risk)
  • Physical distancing must be maintained
  • Non-essential travel from areas of high-transmission to areas of low transmission should be avoided

 

 

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