Chatham-Kent Public Health is working the municipality’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout from every conceivable angle.
According to the Medical Officer of Health, officials examining a variety of options to get the vaccine into the arms of local residents.
Dr. David Colby says a drive-through clinic is being piloted in Wheatley, pop up clinics are coming and the mass vaccination centre in Chatham continues to hum along.
“We’re working out the bugs,” Colby says. “We’re riding off in all directions.”
On April 17, the municipality’s second pop up clinic will be held in Highgate at the Mary Webb Centre. Hours are from 11 a.m to 6:30 p.m. Appointments must be pre-booked.
CKPH plans to vaccinate temporary foreign workers have yet to be finalized. Colby says officials aren’t sure if they will bring the vaccine to farms or if they transport workers to a clinic.
Compared to other regions in Ontario, Chatham-Kent is ahead in the COVID-19 game. As of April 8 with 26,000 doses administered, 27 per cent of local residents over the age of 16 have received the vaccine.
Colby says mass vaccination is the way out for a pandemic-weary province. The goal is to achieve herd immunity by immunizing 75 per cent of local residents.
“Vaccines work and they’re safe and effective,” the doctor says. “The more vaccine rolled out, the better everyone will be.”
Colby cites the example of the vaccine’s success in long-term care.
Outbreaks have plummeted and are at the lowest level since the pandemic’s outset. As of Friday there were 50 outbreaks and 46 of those involved staff, not residents.
While Colby says strict lockdowns are hard to cope with, they’re “very effective” in curtailing the spread of COVID-19.
“We can only hope to be successful as we race to get people vaccinated.”
Declaring a state of emergency and stay-at-home order reinforces the seriousness of the situation, he adds.
Chatham-Kent Health Alliance President Lori Marshall says that at 523 as of April 8, the number of COVID-19 cases in Ontario’s ICU’s is at its highest since the start of the pandemic.
“We are very concerned the number will continue to climb,” Marshall says, adding it will probably take at least two weeks before numbers start to plateau.
In COVID-19 hotspots, such as Toronto, ICUs are full and patients have now being moved from hospital to hospital, sometimes long distances from home.
Compared to other areas of the province, Chatham-Kent’s numbers remain low with more cases being resolved than new cases.
As of Thursday there were 56 active cases of COVID-19. In the past week, the number of resolved cases has outpaced new cases in the municipality.
The mass vaccination clinic closed last Wednesday night when the supply was depleted.
For those looking to book a shot, Chatham-Kent Public Health has launched an online COVID-19 vaccination registration system.
Residents will are now able to schedule online vaccination appointments online at GetYourShotCK.ca or by calling 519-351-1010.
One account holder has the ability to register multiple family members.
Pam Wright, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Herald