Dr. T. Hugh Guan, Associate Medical Officer of Health for Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) Public Health provided a positive COVID-19 update for the week of Thursday, Jul. 22, 2021.
“I have some good news for this week,” he said. “There have been no new cases today, and for our active cases, we only have one active case who unfortunately is in hospital. But the good news is that we have no new cases and we haven’t had new cases for a couple of days now.”
It has been a week since Stage Three of Ontario’s Road Map to Reopen took effect, with expanded access to indoor settings, including where there are larger numbers of people and where face coverings can’t always be worn.
“We shall see over the upcoming few days, upcoming week if there was any blip upwards in cases, but we are starting off on a very good standpoint in terms of very low active case counts,” said Guan. “Therefore, if there is any blip in cases, we will be more than prepared and have the capacity to respond.”
“Provincially,” he stated, “cases had a little bit of a rise today, but I believe the seven-day average is still, all in all, going downwards. There are still a few places in the province with more cases, but at least locally we’re doing well in terms of active COVID cases.”
On the vaccination front, Guan said, “We’re slowly climbing in terms of the number of vaccinations, at least for the first doses. So first doses, it is slow, but I would say, it is a steady climb in terms of vaccination rates. We’re at 80.8 per cent of first doses for those 12 and over, compared to about 79 per cent on average across the whole province, and for second doses, we are at 65.3 per cent of those 12 and over vaccinated with a second dose, compared to about 62 per cent on average across the province.”
Dr. Guan noted that, though people seeking first doses has slowed, it is still steady with about 100 people 12 and over receiving their first doses every day, “and if we continue to have that kind of slow but steady increase, we’ll definitely reach a much higher vaccination rate.”
“And our second doses are continuing to go up about 0.5 to 1 per cent a day, depending on supply and depending on the day, but things are looking good there, too,” he said, noting that, locally, we have met the first criteria for exiting step three having hit that 80 per cent benchmark on first doses.
“And another piece of good news is that a little over 90 per cent of those 65 and over have been fully vaccinated. So what that means is that some of our most vulnerable community members have had their two doses, and 14 days from their second dose, people are considered fully vaccinated. So, that is very good news and those numbers for those who are 65 and over continued to rise,” Guan explained, before moving into a vaccination topic he’s being asked about often of late.
“People are wondering about the ratios between unvaccinated versus vaccinated COVID cases,” he said. “So in the province, they came out with numbers recently for June: it was 4.7 times higher in unvaccinated individuals compared to fully vaccinated individuals in terms of risk of COVID infection, and 3.4 times even for those partially vaccinated… So really, the benefits of COVID vaccination are pretty clear in the sense that the vast majority of cases across Ontario are in unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals and seem to even then be mostly unvaccinated individuals.”
With less than six weeks until September, Guan urged the public to continue getting vaccinated before heading back to school in the fall. They should, he said, “at least get their first dose because, if they can get their first dose in the next few days, it means that, and in about a month, they can also get their second dose before school starts, and we really want to get people two doses before… people start congregating a bit more together once school starts… vaccinating is the best thing folks can do to protect themselves, and others.”
On the vaccine supply front, he said, “Across a variety of sites we have more than enough supply for Pfizer as well as Moderna, and we also continue to have some AstraZeneca for folks who may only be able to get AstraZeneca as their second dose or first dose if they’ve talked to their healthcare provider about that vaccine.”
Mass vaccination centers continue to take appointments and walk-in appointments at the Invista Center, Strathcona Paper Center, Kingston Community Health Center, as well as the gym at the Kingston Health Sciences Center, he said, “So really, what we want is to make it as convenient for folks as possible with walk-ins for both first and second doses across a variety of sites. As well, we have our evening hours at the Invista Center, since we have heard from members of our community that it’s been difficult to get time off work (for a shot) if they work during the day.”
“And also, our pharmacies have Moderna and Pfizer and they are also looking forward to seeing folks, either for appointments or some of them are also doing walk-ins across our community, which may be easier for folks,” Dr. Guan continued.
“And we continue to have both mobile as well as pop-up clinic options. In the past few days, there was a clinic in Harrowsmith and another one in Plevna. I believe some of our local family physicians are also doing what they called a ‘travelling roadshow,’ going to different communities and trying to get folks vaccinated, which is great,” he concluded.
Guan said that those who are still in need of vaccination but are housebound should call Public Health to arrange an at-home vaccination visit appointment. He also wanted to remind people that, even if they have contracted the virus in the past, it is still important to get the vaccine for increased lasting immunity.
“It’s really that collective effort we’re doing. And again thank you to everyone who has gotten their first and second doses. It’s the best thing we can do to protect ourselves, our family and our community against COVID-19,” he expressed.
KFL&A Public Health can be reached by telephone at 613-549-1232 and provide answers to COVID-related questions on their website.
Walk-in appointments available
Walk-in appointments are available to anyone 12 years of age or older at the following locations:
First and second doses are available all day.
July 22: 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
July 23 and 24: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
July 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 and August 1: 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Strathcona Paper Centre
First and second doses are available all day.
July 21, 25, 26, 27, 28 and 29, August 1 and 2: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
First and second dose walk-in appointments are open on the following dates:
July 20: 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
July 21, 22, 23 and 24: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
July 28 and 29: 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
July 30 and 31: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m