Public health experts in eastern Ontario say better-than-expected vaccination rates are helping much of the region avoid the worst-case scenarios presented by provincial COVID-19 modeling earlier this month – at a notable exception.
According to Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, medical officer of health with the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU), Cornwall, Ont. Is seeing an increase in the number of cases, overtaking other parts of the region and most of it. of the province.
In his weekly update on Monday, Roumeliotis said other socio-economic factors could also be contributing to the increase in cases.
“The Cornwall situation, we think, is complicated. We are looking for most of our cases among the unvaccinated. It is a challenge for us,” said Roumeliotis.
“The main factor that we can deal with immediately is the rate of under-vaccination.”
Identifying who is eligible for the vaccine and transmitting them is part of the BSEO plan.
Overall, BSEO’s vaccination rate is comparable to that of the rest of the province – 87.7 percent of eligible residents have received at least one dose and 81.5 are fully vaccinated.
But in the Cornwall areas, Roumeliotis is most concerned that 74.9% of eligible residents have at least one dose and 67.3% have two.
The average seven-day test positivity rate in these areas is between 7 and 7.6 percent, where Ottawa Public Health reports 2.3 percent in the capital, which is closer to the provincial average.
Doug Manuel, a senior scientist at The Ottawa Hospital who models local COVID-19 numbers, said that overall Ontario has had “better news than expected”, falling in the lower range of what the models represented for the past month.
“We are seeing a slower increase in September than most models [had] shown, ”said Manuel, who is also a member of the Provincial Science Table.
“We have a little better – more than expected – the vaccination rate and, in terms of transmission, we have seen that the mobility of people in Ontario has not increased dramatically. “
Manuel said a cautious approach to maintaining public health measures will be important until the fall.
He said this would help maintain the “fragile plateau” as vaccine boosters are rolled out to the vulnerable elderly population and vaccination campaigns prepare for when children aged 5 to 11 become eligible for their treatment. injections.
Dr Rob Cushman, acting medical officer of health for the Renfrew County District Public Health Unit, said people need to remain vigilant, especially when faced with the risk of the more easily transmitted Delta variant.
“It can turn into a dime and we’re heading into winter and more indoor activity,” Cushman said.
“It’s about really fighting this war on two fronts. One is getting more vaccinations and the other is very careful with public health measures. It will be another difficult winter.”