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Ontario top doc says young Ontarians have highest unvaccinated COVID infection rate – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press


Published Tuesday, July 13, 2021 6:37PM EDT

Young people in Ontario have the highest rates of COVID-19 infection among unvaccinated individuals, the province’s top doctor said Tuesday as he called again for all those eligible to get their shots.

Over the last three months, 96 per cent of people between the ages of 19 and 29 who were infected with COVID-19 weren’t vaccinated against the virus, Dr. Kieran Moore said.

Ninety-nine per cent of infected people between the ages of 12 and 17 were unvaccinated.

“That age group is coming down with a higher rate of disease than other age groups across Ontario,” Moore said.

“They’re a key metric, because they’re the ones that are going to be going to high schools, to colleges, to universities, to workplaces, and potentially, unbeknownst to them, if they’re carrying the virus without symptoms, spreading it in those environments.”

He added that young Ontarians will be a “key target” in the vaccination campaign going forward.

“We’ve been on calls with the local public health agencies and immunization partners around the province who are seeing this lack of uptake in the younger age groups and are looking at ways to encourage them to step forward,” he said.

The data on infections among unvaccinated people was presented one week after Moore commented on the relative lag in immunizations among younger Ontarians.

Overall, the province’s vaccine coverage is relatively high, with 79 per cent of adults vaccinated with at least one dose and 57 per cent fully immunized against COVID-19.

Adults aged 18 to 39 have a 68 per cent first-dose coverage rate and youth 12 to 17 have a first-dose rate of 60 per cent.

The progress of the vaccination campaign has set the province up to move ahead this week with rolling back more public health restrictions on businesses, gatherings and other activities even further.

The number of vaccinated teens is particularly important as the province prepares for the return to school in September. The province has said it will offer two vaccine doses to all eligible students and staff before classes resume, and vaccines aren’t fully effective until 14 days after the second dose.

Moore said he anticipates a rise in infections in the fall as people move activities indoors. With the highly transmissible Delta variant now dominant in the province, he said high vaccination coverage will be crucial to keeping infections low.

“The Delta strain will seek out unvaccinated individuals and so becoming immunized as soon as possible will ensure that you are not on that path of least resistance for the virus,” he said.

Ontario reported 146 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday and seven deaths from the virus.

The two Ontario public health units that reported the highest new case counts on Tuesday “continue to struggle” with the Delta variant, said the province’s associated medical officer of health.

But Dr. Barbara Yaffe noted that Grey Bruce and Waterloo Region have shown “what can be achieved” in the fight against that variant by getting vaccinated and following public health orders.

“The people in both regions have made a remarkable effort to protect and care for each other by getting vaccinated and as a result, both regions are seeing their case rates drop,” Yaffe said.

Waterloo Region, which had delayed its reopening due to a surge in Delta variant cases, said Tuesday it would lift restrictions along with the rest of the province this week.

The changes taking effect at 12:01 a.m. on Friday will allow indoor dining and gyms to reopen, as well as expand crowd limits on social gatherings and other events.

Waterloo delayed entering the second step of the reopening plan, but the top doctor for the region said Tuesday that public health indicators have stabilized and vaccination rates have increased rapidly.

Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang also encouraged residents to get their second vaccine doses and continue following public health orders as the Delta variant remains a threat.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 13, 2021.

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Peel Region reports its first confirmed case of monkeypox – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Peel Region has its first confirmed case of monkeypox.

According to Peel Public Health, the person infected is an adult male in his 30s who lives in Mississauga.

The heath unit said the risk to the public remains low.

Monkeypox, which comes from the same virus family as smallpox, spreads though close contact with an infected individual. Most transmission happens through close contact with the skin lesions of monkeypox, but the virus can also be spread by large droplets or by sharing contaminated items.

To reduce risk of infection, people are advised to be cautious when engaging in intimate activities with others. Vaccination is available for high-risk contacts of cases and for those deemed at high risk of exposure to monkeypox.

Symptoms can include fever, headache, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash/lesions, which could appear on the face or genitals and then spread to other areas.

Anyone who develops these symptoms should contact their healthcare provider and avoid close contact with others until they have improved and rash/lesions have healed.

While most people recover on their own without treatment, those who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for monkeypox should self-monitor for symptoms, and contact PPH to see if they are eligible for vaccination.

The Mississauga case is at least the 34th confirmed case of the disease in Ontario, with dozens more under investigation.

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Monkeypox case count rises to more than 3400 globally, WHO says – The Globe and Mail

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More than 3,400 confirmed monkeypox cases and one death were reported to the World Health Organization as of last Wednesday, with a majority of them from Europe, the agency said in an update on Monday.

WHO said that since June 17, 1,310 new cases were reported to the agency, with eight new countries reporting monkeypox cases.

Monkeypox is not yet a global health emergency, WHO ruled last week, although WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was deeply concerned about the outbreak.

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Sudbury news: Northern agencies highlight national HIV testing day | CTV News – CTV News Northern Ontario

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Monday was national HIV testing day. Officials say this year’s theme surrounds how getting tested is an act of self-care.

From clinics to self-testing kits, groups in the north say there are many options to get tested and everyone should use whichever way works best for them.

Just more than a year ago, Reseau Access Network in Sudbury teamed with Ready to Know and Get a Kit, groups that provide HIV self-testing kits at a pickup location.

Officials said it has been a huge success.

“We get a consistent number throughout each month and I can’t really divulge those figures, unfortunately, but as part of the overall study I can tell you the pickup of self-tests is a fraction of the amount of tests being ordered,” said Angel Riess, of Reseau Access Network.

“There’s actually a lot of tests being shipped to homes directly but I can confirm that they have been active and there’s a significant number of people who have chosen to engage in both programs.”

Elsewhere, the Aids Committee of North Bay and Area held a point-of-care testing clinic to mark the day.

“It’s an opportunity for us to remind everyone that getting tested is essential. If you don’t know you have HIV, you can’t take the steps to try to mitigate the possibility of spread,” said executive director Stacey Mayhall.

In addition to stopping the spread, knowing whether you are positive sooner rather than later can allow for a better quality of life.

“HIV is not a death sentence that it used to be,” said Riess.

“There have been advances in testing and medication and people can live long, healthy lives living with HIV.”

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