COVID Outbreak Declared for Guelph Police as Local Vaccine Distribution Delayed

We talk a lot about the dangers faced by frontine workers during the pandemic, and Monday we saw that first hand with Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health declaring an outbreak at the Guelph Police Service. And since it doesn’t rain but it pours, public health itself announced Monday that they will not be rolling out vaccines today as originally planned.

There are four members of Guelph Police who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last several days, and a number of other members of the service who are considered “high-risk contacts” and are presently self-isolating.

“We know COVID-19 is circulating in our community. With higher number of cases, we will continue to see cases at work, in schools and long-term care, and in individual households,” said associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Matthew Tenenbaum in a statement. “WDG Public Health is working with the Guelph Police Service to manage cases and limit any spread of the virus. Members of the public do not need to take any action unless contacted by Public Health.”

Last Thursday, Guelph Police announced that one member of the service that had been working out of headquarters had tested positive for the virus. At the time, nine other Police employees were self-isolating in accordance to the recommendations of public health.

For privacy’s sake, the police are withholding the name and unit of the officers infected with COVID.

“This positive test is an important reminder of the challenges faced every day by our members, as well as all first responders and other front-line workers, as they strive to deliver the highest level of service during these unprecedented times,” said Guelph Police Chief Gord Cobey.

“We are incredibly proud of our members, and their families, as we continue to navigate the unprecedented challenges of the current pandemic,” Cobey added. “All first responders, medical providers and front-line workers continue to work very hard to serve our community.”

Monday also brought more bad news to our region with the announcement from Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health that local distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine has been delayed by several days.

“This is obviously a disappointment,” said Medical Office of Health Dr. Nicola Mercer in a statement. “Public Health has been preparing to begin vaccinating our region against COVID-19 for months. While we can all recognize this is a complex logistical challenge, I share the frustration of everyone in the region at this delay”

Public Health announced last week that they were expecting to receive their first initial shipment of the Pfizer vaccine today for immediate distribution to 500 local long-term care and retirement home staff. No reason for the delay was released by public health. “I want to assure residents of Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph that Public Health remains ready to administer the vaccine as soon as it arrives,” Mercer added.

Guelph is one of the last areas in southern Ontario to receive one of the two COVID-19 vaccines approved by Health Canada. Our immediate neighbours in Waterloo and Halton Regions have both been giving out vaccines to phase one candidates since before the holidays.

The number of active cases of COVID-19 has been rapidly increasing in Wellington, Dufferin, and Guelph lately with 163 new cases on Monday to bring the total number of active cases up to nearly 400 with 395. By municipality, that’s 186 active cases in Guelph, 72 in Wellington County, 85 in Dufferin County, and 52 that are unassigned. There have been 48 people in our region that have died from the virus, and 687 total cases since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

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