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SWPH plans to put mass immunization clinics into high gear

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Southwestern Public Health reported 110 new COVID-19 cases Friday, Dec. 24 and, in total, 478 cases in Oxford and Elgin Counties.

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That included 29 cases in Tillsonburg, 12 in Norwich Township, 10 in South-West Oxford, and five in the Municipality of Bayham.

The two largest urban centres in Oxford-Elgin, St. Thomas (129) and Woodstock (114) accounted for the majority cases in the region.

All eight municipalities in Oxford were in double digits including Ingersoll (38) and Zorra (29).

As of Dec. 24, 13 cases in the region were hospitalized with five in ICU.

Middlesex-London reported the highest count per 100,000 with 259. Southwestern Public Health had 226/100,000 and Haldimand-Norfolk 216.

As of Monday, Dec. 20, everyone who is 18-and-older and at least 84 days since their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine became eligible for a booster dose. However, clinics are very busy and appointments are limited at this time – you must have an appointment, walk-ins will not be accepted.

“Our staff are actively planning at the moment to put our mass immunization vaccine clinics into high gear so that the throughput is the maximum we can achieve,” said Dr. Joyce Lock, Medical Health Officer for SWPH. “As well, they are looking at our capacity to offer additional sites beyond our two mass immunization centres (in Woodstock and St. Thomas). So we will be ramping up to the fullest of our capacity.”

Tillsonburg’s Wednesday-only clinic at the Lions Den (open Dec. 29) is currently scheduled to continue until Jan. 5.

“We will be evaluating the attendance at the clinic and the demand and we will consider those factors in determining whether it will continue or not.”

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Southwestern Public Health recommends booking appointments online at  www.covidvaccinelm.ca . New appointments typically open four weeks in advance of the current date.

The health unit is currently not accepting calls for vaccination appointments.

You may also want to join our Same Day List at  www.swpublichealth.ca/samedaylist  for a last minute appointment due to a cancellation or no-show.

“We’ve been rolling out the third dose now for quite a while,” said Dr. Lock. “I get a report on every single person who has had a side effect, of a severity that it needs to be noted, and I haven’t had any yet from the third doses. So far I think most people are doing quite well with their third doses.”

As of Dec. 23, 86.8% of Ontario’s eligible population (5 years and older) have had at least one dose of vaccine, and 81.2% two doses.

In the Southwestern Public Health region, 81% 5-and-older have had one dose, and 76.1% two doses.

Two COVID-19 related deaths were reported on Dec. 21, a female in her 100s from St. Thomas, and a female in her 80s in Oxford County. There have been 111 COVID-related deaths in the region.

The outbreak at Caressant Care Bonnie Place in St. Thomas declared on Nov. 28 had not yet been resolved as of Dec. 24, with (cumulative) 11 residents and nine staff testing for COVID, and two deaths.

Thames Valley District School Board reported 84 new cases (confirmed or probable) between Dec. 20-23, including one at Annandale Public School on Dec. 22.

As of Friday, there were 13 active outbreaks were reported at schools within Oxford-Elgin, including Westfield Public School.

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