Get vaccinated and stay local; these were the two main takeaways from a press call given by Dr. Hugh Guan, Associate Medical Officer of Health at KFL&A Public Health on Wednesday, Jun 30, 2021.
Dr. Guan said that “things are looking good” on the COVID-front as we head into the Canada Day weekend, but he shared some cautions as well. “One of the things to remember is people aren’t fully immunized until they’re 14 days after their second dose. And also… please still adhere to public health measures. “
“KFL&A has some of the lowest case counts and lowest rates of COVID across all of Ontario,” he noted. “So the safest place to be, at this time, would be local. Staying local is another great measure to lower that risk of exposure.”
In KFL&A, there are three active cases and one person in ICU.
“Recently, we have received confirmation that some of the cases from about three or four weeks back or even before then were confirmed to be Delta variant,” Dr. Guan explained that whole-genome sequencing takes a few weeks to complete.
In addition to the status of the KFL&A region, Dr. Guan discussed the current broader picture across Ontario. “Yesterday there were 184 new cases in Ontario, which is lower than the week before. The seven day average is dropping down into the low 200s or even maybe in the high 190s. So things are dropping down in terms of the seven day case counts across Ontario. There’s 0.68% test positivity, which is also down.”
Across Ontario 77.6% of adults have at least one dose and 39.2% have two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Dr. Guan described “a few hotspots within the province,” citing Grey-Bruce and Waterloo Public Health Units, who over the last week had an increased number of cases. “So what this suggests is that in certain areas of the province there is still circulating virus amongst the community. So it’s still some community spread amongst certain areas in the province.”
Dr. Guan noted that within those hotspot regions, “it does appear to be in unimmunized or impartially immunize individuals who get infected with COVID-19. And we have also seen that locally. So really, it really emphasizes to for folks to please get immunized with at least one dose but hopefully with two doses for those who are eligible. And it really emphasizes the need for the soonest second dose you can get.”
Once receiving their second dose, individuals can help make others’ access to vaccination appointments as efficient as possible by cancelling any other appointments or waitlist-spots they may have. “Please cancel any other kind of appointments you have, as we continue to have ‘no shows’ because people are probably booking through a variety of different appointments across different systems.”
“Locally,” said Dr. Guan, “I’m happy to report our dashboard is up.” On the morning of Friday, Jun 25, KFL&A Public Health had discovered it was the target of a cyber security incident affecting the agency’s servers, rendering them inaccessible and resulting in an information technology (IT) outage.
The move from Step One to Step Two was also reviewed in the press call. “As of 12:01 a.m. today, June 30th, we are currently in Step Two of our four reopening frameworks. So in general, the rules for Step Two are just larger gathering sizes, as well as one of the big things I think people are really looking forward to is being able to go to their barbers or hairdressers and get a haircut.” Dr. Guan joked, “I know I’ve been looking forward to that as you can tell — my hair is all over the place. So I am also looking forward to getting my hair cut by a professional.”
“And with Step Two, we do want to be cautious,” noted Dr. Guan. “After Step One, we did see a small bump in cases about a week to two weeks in. I do expect the same thing to possibly happen with Step Two. However, with our mass amounts of immunization now, I don’t think, ‘knock on wood,’ that there will be huge outbreaks because of the reopening steps.”
Overall, Dr. Guan’s message was hopeful. “Things are looking good. Please get vaccinated. Getting vaccinated is the best thing you can do for yourself, your friends, and your family to protect against COVID-19.”