Dr. Carol Zimbalatti, Public Health Physician, was joined Thursday July 8th by a panel of local experts from the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, including Andrea McLellan, Director COVID-19 Immunization Strategy and Louise Gagné, Director of Community Services, to provide an update on the Health Unit district’s COVID-19 vaccination plan and pandemic response. (Screengrab)
The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit is looking at different ways to boost vaccination levels.
Dr. Carol Zimbalatti, Public Health Physician, says the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 and community spread are both decreasing.
She also says the situation in June was at a ‘critical level’ but thanks to the hard work of community partners the case numbers are on the decline.
“While this is good news, the Health Unit is concerned that we are seeing a significant drop off in the number of individuals receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and our local rate of vaccination is significantly lower than the provincial or national averages,” she says.
She says the proportion of people currently immunized leaves significant gaps in coverage for a virus as transmissible as the Delta Variant of Concern (VOC).
Andrea McLellan, Director COVID-19 Immunization Strategy, says as of 3 pm Wednesday 75 percent of adults in the district have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 49 percent of adults are fully vaccinated.
She also says 55 percent of youth ages 12-17 have received one dose and 48 percent have received both doses.
McLellan says they’re working with community partners to identify pockets in the community that may have challenges in accessing clinics and are working to put strategies in place to support them.
“We would be looking at possible mobile clinics, pop-up clinics and alternative ways of reaching some of those individuals who have not been able to access their first vaccine,” she says.
The Health Unit also reports the outbreak at the Faith Chapel Christian Centre, which involved five cases, has been declared over.
“More than 14 days have passed with no new cases associated with this outbreak,” says Louise Gagné, Director of Community Services.
She also says the outbreak at the North Bay Jail continues.
Thirty-four cases involved with that outbreak have been resolved, while eight are still active.
Neither of the two recent deaths were associated with the outbreaks.
“I can confirm that the individuals were not connected with the outbreaks,” says Gagné. “We will not be providing any further details relating to these individuals and their circumstances.”