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Region hopeful it can meet with province’s accelerated timeline for vaccinations

The announcement last week that the province is accelerating second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine came as welcome news to the officials in Waterloo Region, which is seeing some improvement in what have been stagnant levels of infection.

The Ford government announced last Friday it was aiming for a “two-dose” summer in a race to get Ontarians inoculated as soon as possible.

For public health officials, that means working out the logistics, notes Shirley Hilton, who heads the region’s vaccine distribution task force.

“The timing of second dose appointments will vary based on local considerations, vaccine supply and the date of the first dose appointment. The province did announce an anticipated schedule for eligibility for the shortened second doses, and, again, it’s all very dependent on confirmed supply, starting with the 80-plus [year-olds] to be eligible to book a shortened second dose appointment beginning May 31. Then followed by the 70-plus eligible to book a short dose appointment for the week of June 14. As this announcement was just made this morning, further details will be provided in the coming days as to how we will plan to book those appointments,” she said during May 28’s weekly pandemic update.

“After some stagnation in our case rates, we have started to see improvements again,” added medical officer of health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang of the overall trend in the fight against the virus.

“As of May 27, our weekly incidence rate is approximately 55 cases per 100,000 per week. improvement provincial rate is approximately 62 cases per 100,000 per week. We have 387 active cases and eight outbreaks. Taking into account interim data, our seven-day average is four per cent. Positivity is now at 5.3 per cent – Ontario’s is at 5.5 per cent,” said Wang, adding that public health measures need to be upheld.

“Things are moving in the right direction, but COVID continues to circulate in our community. We must keep practicing public health measures consistently and diligently as we continue to immunize more and more of our community in order to keep moving in the right direction.”

At midweek, there were 322 active cases of COVID-19 in the region, down from 430 a week earlier, with outbreaks being monitored in just seven locations. There were 23 people hospitalized by the virus, with the death toll at 256, unchanged since last week.

In Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, there were 156 active case, down from 250 a week earlier.

That catchment area’s cumulative total was 7,924 of which 7,652 (96.6 per cent) have been resolved. There have been a total of 116 fatalities since the pandemic began, three more than last week’s report.

The province continues to see growth in the total number of cases, though at a slower pace, with the tally now at 532,150, up some 8,000 in the past week.

There have been 8,766 deaths attributed to the virus – up 111 in the past week – representing a mortality rate of 1.6 per cent. The ministry reports 511,703 cases (96.2 per cent) have been resolved.

The latest numbers from Health Canada show 33,750 active cases nationwide, down about 14,000 from a week earlier. The cumulative total of confirmed cases now stands at 1,381,582 with 25,547 related deaths , a mortality rate of 1.8 per cent.

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