Variants ‘entrenched’ in Eastern Ontario, says medical officer of health

Natascha Wood
Nation Valley News

EASTERN ONTARIO — In his twice-weekly media briefing, Medical Officer Dr Paul Roumeliotis provided updates on the latest COVID-19 developments in the region, reporting that there have been ten new cases of the virus since March 10. Three were in Prescott-Russell, two were in SD&G, and five were in Cornwall. Roumeliotis also confirmed that there are now 25 known cases of a COVID-19 variant in Eastern Ontario, most of which are likely the UK variant. He mentioned that many of these cases had connections to Ottawa.

There are eight outbreaks across the region. They are in Woodland Villa, The Palace Long Term Care Home, Rideau Place, Chartwell McConnell, Baldwin House, Heartwood LTC, an unnamed school, and an unnamed daycare centre. The outbreak at Glen Stor Dun Lodge was declared over this afternoon. Roumeliotis explained that many of the new outbreaks occurred either because staff were not yet vaccinated when they contracted COVID-19, or because recently vaccinated residents were infected before the vaccine became fully effective.

The doctor went on to discuss the progress of the continuing vaccination rollout during the March 11 Zoom session. Going forward, providing everyone with the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine is the top priority in Ontario, following NACI’s decision to approve dose intervals of up to four months. Trials in the UK and Israel show first doses are already approximately 90% effective once they kick in fourteen days after vaccination. Taking that into account, Roumeliotis intends to focus on distributing first doses, then focus on second doses when there are more vaccines to go around. The EOHU is now in the process of completing Phase 1 of the rollout.

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