Southwestern Public Health has walk-in appointments available in Tillsonburg for youth ages 12-17 and adults to get their first COVID-19 vaccine.
There will be 100-plus daily ‘walk-in’ doses available at the Tillsonburg clinic (Tillsonburg Community Centre, 45 Hardy Avenue) between July 19-23 from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
“No appointments are required (for the walk-in clinics),” said Dr. Joyce Lock, medical officer of health for Southwestern Public Health during a July 14 conference call.
“This service is for anyone who is 12 or older and looking for their first dose. So if you’ve put it off because you don’t have time to make an appointment, now is your chance. Just go on down to Tillsonburg any time between 9-6:30 and walk in to get your first dose.”
Four pop-up community clinics will soon be announced on the SWPH website and social media.
On Monday, Southwestern Public Health reported 13 new COVID-19 cases in the Oxford-Elgin region and a total of 20 ongoing cases (one in the hospital). Seven cases were ongoing in Woodstock. Tillsonburg, which tested 99 people last week, had no active cases as of Monday.
“Covid-19 and our response to it continues to evolve quickly. For the first time since June 8 we are reporting a COVID-19 related death with our daily data,” said Lock, noting the deceased was a male in his 80s from Oxford County.
There have been 84 COVID-related deaths in the Oxford-Elgin region since March 2020.
“Due to high rates of vaccination and the vigilance of our staff – and the vigilance of all of you – to follow public health protocols, we have no outbreaks in our long term care homes, hospitals or retirement homes.”
Some recent cases were due to exposures in workplaces, she noted.
“The reopening of Ontario has encouraged some people to relax their standards prematurely. So although we are opening up, a lot of the public health measures remain in place. We want to remind people that there are still essential protocols for workplaces.”
Lock emphasized four points for workplaces – face coverings, physical distancing, COVID-19 safety plans, and screening workers daily before they enter the workplace.
“Provincially and locally the good news is that cases are coming down, and businesses and services are reopening, but please, as we enter Step 3 (July 16), keep practicing those public health measures we know reduce infection rates. There are still many people in our area that are not yet vaccinated, including everybody under 12.”
As of July 14, 136,763 residents in Oxford-Elgin had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
“We still have over 30 per cent who need their first dose,” said Lock.
“To get beyond Step 3 (of the province’s reopening plan), we need to achieve a first-dose vaccination rate of at least 80 per cent of everyone who is eligible (over the age of 12). Currently or region is sitting at 75 per cent, so to move beyond Step 3 we still need to get 5 per cent more people with their first doses.”
Dr. Lock said the health unit’s goal is to exceed the provincial target.
“Our goal is to vaccinate 90 per cent of all eligible residents, and this is in order to protect the community, particularly those who cannot be vaccinated due to age or health conditions.
“We have lots of vaccine and we have lots of appointments in the Southwestern Public Health region, and we’d love to see those of you who are not yet vaccinated in our clinics (Tillsonburg, Woodstock, St. Thomas). So get yourself an appointment as soon as you can.
“If you’re having any difficulty getting an appointment, if you need any help re-scheduling an appointment, or if you have any questions do call our COVID-19 response centre (1-800-922-0096 extension 9) 8:30-4:30 Monday-Friday, because we really want you to call and get your appointment if you are having trouble booking on your own.”