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ICU occupancy rate declines in Haldimand-Norfolk

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The Haldimand Norfolk Health Unit reported Friday a drop in hospital Intensive care unit occupancy.

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There are currently two people in HNHU hospital ICUs with COVID-19 helping to put the occupancy percentage at 60 per cent, the lowest it’s been since Jan. 2 when it was 50 per cent.

In-patient occupancy at local hospitals saw the slightest drop going from a rate of 101.9 per cent to 101.3 per cent. There are currently six people known to be hospitalzed in the area with COVID-19

The health unit notes that occupancy data lags by approximately 48 hours.

The HNHU announced this week that it will now report local hospital and intensive care unit hospitalizations but active cases and the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic will not be updated. There will also be reporting of outbreaks in fewer settings based on available data.

The changes have been made due to decreased availability of testing for the general public.

The HNHU was reporting Friday 50 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours but health officials have said the number is more than likely higher due to limited testing.

As of Friday, there were 12 outbreaks in the area with four outbreaks in congregate settings, four in long-term care homes, three in retirement homes,and one on a farm.

There have been 61 deaths recorded in the area since the pandemic began in March of 2020 and there have been 12 other people who tested positive but died from complications attributed to other illnesses.

The HNHU has administered 186,424 doses of the vaccine and there are now 65,716 people who have completed their vaccine series. There have also been 23,783 booster doses administered.

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The total number of doses administered in Haldimand-Norfolk is 220628. Some residents of the area have received a dose outside of the HNHU.

The percentage of people aged five and older who are fully vaccinated sits at 76.5 per cent and at 80.9 per cent for those who have received at least one dose of the vaccine. There is 19.1 per cent of the population who is unvaccinated.

The health unit notes that data on vaccinations can be delayed up to 48 hours.

There are a large number of appointments available on the HNHU booking tool with mass clinics being held at Riverside Exhibition Centre in Caledonia and at the Simcoe Recreation Centre.

Walk-in clinics are now being offered for those aged 65 and older at the Norfolk General Hospital (for boosters) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Simcoe Recreation Centre from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and at the Riverside Exhibition Centre from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. These clinics are only offering Moderna as there is currently a shortage of Pfizer until the end of January.

Due to high demand, walk-ins are no longer being accepted at community clinics, except as noted above.

The GO-VAXX mobile clinic is offering first, second and third doses to eligible individuals at Fisherville Lions Community Centre on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments must be made as no walk-ins will be accepted.

GO-VAXX will also offer indoor clinics on Fridays in January at Dunnville Lifespan. Appointments are necessary.

Visit hnhu.org/popup to book an appointment at one of the above clinics.

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Those who can’t get to a vaccine clinic can call 519-427-5903 to request free transportation.

There is also a homebound service for individuals who have difficulty leaving their homes. That program involves two healthcare professionals visiting homes and administering first and second doses in Haldimand and Norfolk.

Visit www.hnhu.org/homeboundvax or call 519-427-5903 for more information on the program.

Visit www.hnhu.org/covid19vaccine/ for more information and for full details about vaccine rollout in Haldimand and Norfolk counties and covid-19.ontario.ca/ for more information on the rollout in Ontario.

The HNHU has updated its testing, isolation and case and contact management guidelines with the following changes:

  • PCR testing is no longer available for everyone. PCR testing will be available for high-risk individuals, and individuals who work in high-risk settings.
  • Positive rapid antigen tests will no longer require PCR confirmation.
  • Individuals who are fully vaccinated or under the age of 12, with COVID-19 or COVID-19 symptoms should isolate for five days.
  • Individuals who are over 12 years of age and not fully vaccinated OR are immunocompromised with COVID-19 or COVID-19 symptoms should isolate for 10 days.
  • All household contacts must also isolate for the same duration as the person with symptoms, regardless of their vaccination status.
  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19, inform close contacts beyond your household contacts and provide them with this link Ontario.ca/exposed.
  • The HNHU will only be contacting positive cases associated with highest-risk settings going forward.

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On Friday, Public Health Ontario reported 3,814 people in hospital with COVID-19, setting yet another record.

Of those in hospital, 527 are in ICUs and 288 are breathing with the help of a ventilator.

There were 42 COVID-19 deaths reported Friday, bringing the total to 10,522 since the pandemic began in March of 2020. Of the deaths, 41 occurred over the past month with one confirmed prior to Dec. 14.

Over the past week there have been 206 deaths reported.

There were 10,964 new COVID-19 cases confirmed on Friday, however, that number is likely underreported because of limited testing.

On Thursday, Ontario Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kieran Moore said that a peak in hospital admissions due to the Omicron variant could happen next week.

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