Dr. Ian Arra says that recent new cases in Grey-Bruce are averaging less than five cases per day, with outbreaks in high-risk settings virtually non-existent, he said.
“All in all, this is as good as it gets for fourth wave for epidemiology,” said the local medical officer of health in an interview last week.
For the next two to three weeks, which is as far as can be predicted, no major change is expected, as overall Ontario has been declining in case numbers and hospitalizations.
Grey-Bruce continues to be in a favourable position relative to the rest of the province.
While he knows that lay people are saying that’s because we’re a rural area, research in preventative health does not support that, Dr. Arra said.
Rather, he credits five pillars: the public’s response, the team at the health unit, the local media coverage, the political commitment to work with the health unit and co-operation from other parts of the health care system and private entities. He pointed in particular to Bruce Power’s contribution in many forms.
BLAME THE DISEASE
Dr. Arra said he wants to convey the message that “we really need to remember that the pandemic is causing (this)” – not visitors, not identifiable groups, not the unvaccinated.
He warned against targeting people for blame and anger. He believes that the required level of vaccination is going to be reached. At the personal level, “if people refuse to get vaccinated so be it,” he said, and encouraged support rather than division.
Dr. Arra said that to see Delta, a more serious variant, appear locally in July was like “a bad movie.”
In the history of pandemics, he explained, it is unlikely that a more serious variant would appear. He added that he does not think that will happen again.
The emergence of Delta made it “indispensable” to reach a 90 percent rate, he said.
“We know that there is immunity due to the wild virus,” he said. In areas where there have been hot spots for a year, that rate could be as high as five to six percent, he said.
He said, however, that the immunity reached through the vaccine lasts longer.
When the 90 percent of the population is reached, he said, that can practically ensure that although the disease may remain “endemic” it will not overwhelm the system.
While public health locally strongly encourages workplace vaccine policies, its guidance does not require the approach taken in some settings of “vaccinate or terminate.”
While no one can override a provincial order or lift its restrictions, they can “do more,” he said.
He said the effect of those policies has been to increase vaccinations, but said that he knows that it has resulted in “hardship for certain individuals.”
These policies have an ethical side – but also a legal one, he said, adding he was sure that legal advice was being given.
The mandate of Public Health ends at “the front door” of a workplace, he said, as that is where occupational medicine takes over.
Right now as far as risk in Grey-Bruce he said, “we have quite the control over the epidemic with the measures that we have.”
Dr. Arra described two major views as to how COVID will affect us in the future.
Both of them hold that the disease will become endemic – it will not just “go away.”
The first view is that people will need ongoing booster shots for protection.
“I am in the second group,” he said. The coronavirus is part of the same large family of viruses as the common cold, he said. When it was new and there was no immunity that was one situation.
“Fast-forward” a year from now, he said and when the target level of vaccination is reached along with immunity from wild infections, the effect of coronavirus across the population could be like a common cold.
VACCINES FOR CHILDREN
Dr. Arra said that he recommends parents examine all the best available informationas they make their decision about having children from five to 11 immunized when that is approved in Canada.
The field of developing vaccines is well-established, he added.
“Invest 15 minutes per day to look at Public Health Canada and Public Health Ontario websites,” he said.
“It’s prudent to invest time and make the decision that’s best for my child,” he said, speaking of how he thinks as a father.
Yukon reports 32 new cases of COVID-19, no new deaths – Toronto Star
VANCOUVER – Yukon is reporting 32 new cases of COVID-19 over a three-day period, bringing the active case count to 69.
Since the pandemic began, the territory has recorded 1,507 cases.
Of those, the health authority says 1,429 have recovered.
No new deaths have been reported in the three-day period since Friday, when the territory announced its 13th fatality from the virus.
Last week, Yukon announced COVID-19 vaccinations for children between the ages of five and 11 will start on Dec. 6.
The territory has also launched its free vaccination verification smartphone app, which will help businesses confirm a person’s vaccination status.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2021.
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Children in British Columbia between five and 11 years old can start getting shots of a pediatric COVID-19 vaccine on Monday.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said last week that about 350,000 children are eligible to receive the modified dose of the Health Canada-approved Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Health Canada approved the pediatric shot for use in Canada after an independent scientific review confirmed the first vaccine formulated for younger children is safe and effective.
Henry says the same vaccine has been administered to more than three million children in the United States and there have been no “safety signals” as a result.
She says the vaccine will help children and families safely return to activities that benefit physical and mental health.
Dr. Penny Ballem, the executive lead for B.C.’s vaccination drive, has said she expects the full children’s immunization effort, including second doses, to conclude by the end of January.
Officials said last week that invitations to book appointments will start going out Monday to families with children who have been registered, with a number of same-day appointments available.
Parents who have yet to register their children are encouraged to do so through the province’s Get Vaccinated portal.
Registration, booking system problems
But on Monday morning some B.C. parents vented their frustrations on social media about trying to get an appointment for their child.
Hey <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/bcpoli?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#bcpoli</a> what a mess around kids’ vaxx bookings this morning! Many people able to book by phone without their invite, while those of us who registered within the first HOUR of being able to still haven’t received an invite! What the heck?
Some said they were still waiting for the province to send them the invitation they were expecting after registering.
Others said people who didn’t have an invitation seemed able to book by calling 1-833-838-2323 rather than going online.
B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said Monday morning he understands people are anxious to get their children vaccinated as soon as possible, but to be patient and wait for their invitation to book.
“It’s going to come,” said Dix.
He said the province is pushing out invitations at a rate of about 8,000 an hour and, while there is bound to be frustration on day one, he said B.C.’s vaccination system has a proven track record of working well.
BC Parents <br><br>Have YOU or Anyone you know received a Vaccine invitation for your 5-11 year olds child??<br><br>I don’t know a single person that has <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/bcpoli?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#bcpoli</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/covid19bc?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#covid19bc</a>
PCR tests for travellers from southern Africa
As vaccination for children gets underway, concern continues to grow over the new omicron variant.
Dix says there are currently just over 200 people in the province who have returned from or passed through Africa in the recent weeks.
“All of those people will be receiving PCR tests so we can determine where we sit in British Columbia,” Dix said on the CBC’s The Early Edition.
“All of the actions that we would take if omicron had already arrived … we’re already taking.”
Omicron was first identified in South Africa on Wednesday, but it has also been found in Europe, Australia and China.
On Sunday two cases of the omicron variant were confirmed in Ottawa, both of which were reported in individuals who recent travelled from Nigeria.
Henry says the Public Health Agency of Canada has been working closely with the Canada Border Services Agency to identify people who have returned from the affected countries.
“The ArriveCan app has a list of where people have been. There’s a little over 200 people in British Columbia and over the weekend. We’ve been in contact with all of them,” Henry said on the CBC’s Daybreak South.
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