In news nobody wanted the day before the first phase of the provincial re-opening began, the Government of Ontario announced Thursday that Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph is one of seven Public Health sectors in Ontario that are now considered hotspots for the Delta variant of COVID-19. As a consequence, the rollout of the second dose of COVID vaccines is being accelerated in our area starting Monday.
“Ontario’s vaccine rollout continues to pick up speed with over one million doses being administered each week, ensuring Ontario can safely and gradually lift public health measures,” said Health Minister Christine Elliott in a statement. “With an increased supply of vaccines, we continue to make it easier than ever to receive a vaccine to help protect those most at risk against COVID-19 variants, stop the spread and protect our hospital capacity.”
On Friday, WDG Public Health confirmed that they will be receiving about 8,000 extra doses of the Moderna mRNA vaccine over and above expected vaccine deliveries next week. The extra vaccine is earmarked for both first and second doses.
“This additional support from the Province will help us continue to protect our community from COVID-19 – especially as we seek to reopen across the region,” said Medical Officer of Health Dr. Nicola Mercer in a statement. “I am urging every resident of the region: do not wait. Book your first or second dose as soon as you can. Have the vaccine conversation with friends, family and co-workers and help ensure all of us are protected.”
Public Health will begin booking second doses for all individuals who received a first dose prior to May 9 on Monday. Between June 14 and 16, Public Health is expected to send out 60,000 invitations by text and email for people to start booking their second dose and instructions on how to go about it. If you end up have trouble booking your appointment, you can phone for tech support at 1-844-780-0202 .
Anyone in the region age 12 and above are now eligible to receive a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. You can click here to book your appointment if you haven’t already.
Halton, Peel, Porcupine, Toronto, Waterloo and York are the other Public Health regions declared Delta variant hotspots.
The B.1.617 variant, which was first identified in India, is a highly infectious and virulent strain of COVID-19. At Wednesday’s Board of Health meeting, staff members explained that while one dose of a mRNA vaccine offers 33 per cent protection against the Delta variant, two doses offers 88 per cent protection.
“What we’re hearing is that our elderly population will not do well if they get the Delta variant, but essential workers also have the ability to spread the virus easily, and if you look back through wave two and wave three that is where we’ve had the biggest issues with our outbreaks,” said Rita Isley director of community health and chief nursing officer for Public Health.
Despite the threat of the Delta variant, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph now has less than 100 active cases of COVID-19 in this region. There are 82 cases in total with just one new case on Friday. The 7-day moving rate of confirmed cases is now just 17.3 per 100,000 and the test positivity rate is 2.7 per cent.
The region is rapidly closing in on their target of 75 per cent of people with one dose is now over 190,000. In other words, 70.5 per cent of people have received one shot of a COVID vaccine while 8.9 per cent of people now received two doses of a vaccine.