Significant progress is being made on the vaccination front, with over 70 percent of adults receiving their first dose, surpassing our neighbours in the United States. Eleven local pharmacies now offer the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines as new data and supplies allow the program to expand. The Pfizer vaccine has also been approved for our youth 12 years old and older. You can book your appointment at www.ontario.ca/bookvaccine or by calling 1-888-999-6488 if you have a red and white OHIP card, need assistance, or wish to book multiple appointments. Limited supplies of the AstraZeneca vaccines have arrived, making second-dose appointments available for those who received their first dose between March 10 and 19. People will be contacted by the pharmacy where they received their first dose. AstraZeneca differs from the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, as the drug maker recommends its second dose to be taken at the 12-week interval to maximize its effectiveness. Expansion of the second dose program for all vaccines will be forthcoming over the upcoming weeks.
Implementing the province’s Roadmap to Reopen Ontario depends on achieving higher vaccination rates and meeting public health and hospital capacity benchmarks. Since the start of the Stay-at-Home Order in early April, we have made considerable progress, with new provincial daily cases dropping close to the one thousand mark. Hospital and ICU occupancies have been slower to come under control, but we are starting to see progress on that front as well. Locally, cases in our EOHU territory have come down significantly over the past week, hovering around the 120 level. I want to thank everyone for following the health guidelines, as it is a collective effort. If our current drop in infections and hospitalizations continues, we anticipate entering Step 1 of the reopening on or before June 14. Step 1 will allow for outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people, outdoor dining of four per table, and a 15 percent capacity for non-essential businesses. After three weeks and further success, Step Two would further expand outdoor gatherings and reintroduce more indoor activities, including outdoor sports and leagues, personal care services, and religious services at 15 percent capacity. Another three-week assessment will follow with the hopes of progressing to Step Three. Please find complete details at www.Ontario.ca/reopen.
This week, I was pleased to announce that St. Lawrence College is receiving $48,400 in funding as part of 33 virtual learning projects. St. Lawrence is partnering with Mohawk College to create a virtual reality assessment report for students that tracks progress and demonstrates key competencies. It is part of the government’s Virtual Learning Strategy released last December. The strategy is helping to give post-secondary students more choice and access to high-quality education and retraining opportunities.
Remember to maintain personal spacing, wear a mask, and stay home, except to pick up essential items.
MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry