Verging on Red in Eastern Ontario, says Roumeliotis

Natascha Wood
Nation Valley News

EASTERN ONTARIO — New cases of COVID-19 are again increasing across the region, said Medical Officer Dr Paul Roumeliotis in his twice-weekly media briefing on March 8th. Over the weekend, 27 new cases turned up, 11 of which were in SD&G and 16 were in Cornwall. Additionally, there are now 15 variant cases in Eastern Ontario, though Roumeliotis believes they have been isolated and contained.

There has also been an increase in outbreaks from five last week (March 4th) to eight as of today. Congregate living outbreaks are in Woodland Villa, The Palace Long Term Care, Glen Stor Dun Lodge, Rideau Place, Chartwell McConnell, and Baldwin House. There are also two outbreaks elsewhere, one of which is in a school and the other is in a day-care.

Dr Roumeliotis says these trends are not going in the right direction as has been the case in the past few weeks. The numbers may now be pointing towards a shift to the Red-Control zone under Ontario’s response framework. Despite this, the EOHU continues to forge ahead on the vaccine rollout, armed with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. According to the doctor, Eastern Ontario will not receive the AstraZeneca vaccine yet, and there has been no news about shipments of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which was approved by Health Canada last week.

This week, the EOHU will be vaccinating individuals age 80 and over who have homecare. Others in this age group will be able to register next week for vaccination clinics. Phase 2 of the vaccine rollout is expected to begin in April, including adults age 60 to 79, individuals with chronic medical conditions, people who live in hotspots, and workers who cannot work from home (transit workers, education workers, food processing workers etc.). By that time, Roumeliotis anticipates having a larger, more diverse supply of vaccines.

The doctor also clarified that robocalls were used last weekend to get in touch with 80-year-olds in the community after some vaccine was “left over” and needed to be distributed quickly. This is not the EOHU’s usual way of contacting target groups, he assured NVN.


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