Latest wave of pandemic on a downward trend

Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Latest wave of pandemic on a downward trend
Logo for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit

CORNWALL – Key indicators in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit show the latest wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has peaked and is on a downward trend.

“We’re in a downward stable trend,” said EOHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis.

According to the most recent update (August 12) from the EOHU, the positivity rate for the region is 14.5 per cent. That number represents the entire health unit region. A breakdown of percentage positivity for the different areas of the region has not been updated since August 3.

As of August 12, 13 people were in hospital with COVID-19 infection as the primary reason for that hospitalization. One person is in intensive care. Regional trends for hospitalizations have decreased in the past two weeks as the peak of the Omicron BA.5 sub-variant has begun to wain. ICU admissions have not exceeded four patients at one time since July 8.

Deaths from this seventh wave of COVID-19 have been the fewest of the pandemic, but still have occurred. The regional death toll has increased to 240 people, an addition of three people in the past two weeks.

The EOHU listed 13 facilities that have COVID-19 outbreaks, including Glen Stor Dun Lodge in Cornwall. Six facilities in Cornwall, two in SDG Counties, and five in Prescott-Russell are in outbreak. Recent outbreaks at Dundas Manor and Community Living, both in Winchester, were declared over on August 5 and August 10 respectively.

Roumeliotis said that many of the detected cases have been in older age groups which led to the outbreaks in institutional settings.

“Despite the fact we have so many outbreaks in long-term care homes with elderly individuals, the fact that they’ve had four doses, most of them have had few symptoms – if any,” Roumeliotis said. “The vaccines are protecting these individuals, although they are not preventing full spread of the virus.”

He added that he is hopeful that the new Omicron-variant vaccines slated to arrive in the fall will help minimize the spread of new variants.

The EOHU region is reaching a significant milestone, a half million vaccine doses delivered since the first approved vaccine was released in January 2021.

As of August 12, 499,697 vaccine doses have reached arms in the region. More than half of those (273,000) were at community sites, while over 169,000 were in pharmacies, or at doctors offices.

Almost 60 per cent of adults 50-59 have received three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. That number increases to over 80 per cent for people age 60 and older. Over 55 per cent of adults aged 70 and older have had a fourth dose booster. Third and fourth dose vaccinations in people under age 50 are significantly lower in the younger demographics.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” Roumeliotis explained regarding third and fourth doses in younger populations in the EOHU region.

COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters are available through the six EOHU offices, along with most pharmacies and through most family doctor clinics.

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