NWHU MOH encouraged by low case numbers
Tim Brody - Editor
Ontario moved into Step 1 of its Roadmap to Reopening last Friday and, with low case numbers in the region, Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kit Young Hoon said she believes the region is in a good place to begin reopening. “I do encourage however, that everyone continues to follow public health measures at this time,” she said.
Highlights of Step 1 include:
- Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events for up to 10 people
- Outdoor dining for up to 4 people per table
- Essential retail capacity at 25% and can sell all goods
- Non-essential retail capacity at 15%
- Religious services, rites and ceremonies indoors at 15% capacity and outdoors with capacity limited to permit physical distancing of 2 metres
- Outdoor sports training (no games or practices), fitness classes and personal training up to 10 people
- Day camps
- Overnight camping at campgrounds and campsites, including Ontario Parks and short-term rentals
The province will remain in Step 1 for at least 21 days to evaluate any impacts on key public health and health system indicators.
People can find out more about Step 1, and what will open in Steps 2 and 3 of the province’s Roadmap to Reopen, at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/reopening-ontario.
As of June 14, there were five active cases in the Northwestern Health Unit’s catchment area.
“Low case numbers are good to see. It means what we are doing is working and a large part of low case numbers is due to vaccination. To keep numbers low, we must continue to practise all prevention measures, including getting second doses and encouraging others to get vaccinated,” Dr. Young Hoon told regional media on June 8, adding, “Although approaching zero cases is great, the goal of control measures is to keep spread at a manageable level to minimize the number of people hospitalized, severely ill, and to minimize deaths. I urge the public to see these low case numbers as a call to action, that we must do our part to keep them low and not use this opportunity to get complacent.”
Also as of June 14, NWHU had administered 69,337 vaccine doses, bringing the percentage of residents in its health hub areas 18 and over who have received a first COVID-19 vaccine dose to 71.1 percent.
Dr. Young Hoon also commented on National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) guidance th t the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines can be interchanged for first and second doses.
“Using a different brand of vaccine to complete a vaccine series is a common practice in routine vaccination for other diseases,” she said, adding, “The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are nearly identical in all aspects and NACI has said that there is no reason to believe that providing a different mRNA vaccine for a second dose would result in any additional safety issues or less protection.”
People can find out more about getting vaccinated at: https://www.nwhu.on.ca/covid19/Pages/booking-COVID19-vaccine-appointment.aspx.