Algoma update on COVID-19 and immunizations

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The Algoma district continues in Phase One and is expanding into Phase Two of the provincial roll out of COVID-19 with immunization clinic sites in place in municipalities and First Nation communities across the district, operated by numerous health partners.

APH’s immunization tracker provides up-to-date information on Algoma’s immunization coverage. As of April 16, 2021:

  • 29.9% of eligible adults 16+, or 25.3% of the entire Algoma population has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine
  • About 82% of Algoma adults 80+ have received at least one dose of vaccine
  • About 78% of Algoma adults 75 to 79 have received at least one dose of vaccine
  • An estimated 95% of Algoma long term care residents are fully immunized with two doses
  • An estimated 84% of Algoma long term care staff have received at least one dose of vaccine

Vaccine demand in Algoma continues to exceed the supply of vaccine allocated to our region. Although people 60+ and all Phase One priority groups are currently eligible to receive immunization, limited vaccine supply means that not everyone who is eligible will be able to book an appointment right away.

The clinics scheduled for the COVID-19 Community Vaccine Hub at GFL Memorial Gardens have booked nearly 5,000 appointments for upcoming clinics. There are also three pharmacies in Algoma which are now offering immunization to eligible groups.

APH continues to work with our partners and vendor to improve booking options including actively expanding phone capacity to support both district-wide immunization booking, and case and contact follow up, both of which has seen exceptional surges in volume in recent days and weeks.

In the coming weeks:

  • APH is working with health care providers across Algoma to identify and offer immunization to those with the following highest risk health conditions:
    • Organ transplant recipients
    • Hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients
    • People with neurologic diseases in which respiratory function may be compromised (e.g. motor neuron disease, myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis),
    • Hematologic malignancy (cancer of the blood) diagnosed <1year)
    • Kidney disease with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) under 30
  • APH is collaborating with paramedic partners and family health teams to immunize eligible individuals who are homebound and those living in congregate settings
  • The following three Algoma pharmacies continue to offer COVID-19 immunization:
Variants of Concern (VOC) Update and Prohibitions under the Provincial Stay-At-Home Order

Variants of concern (VOCs) continue to spread, and have been identified in the Algoma region.

In the past 7-day period, nearly 60% of Algoma’s COVID-19 cases have screened positive for VOCs or are likely to be VOCs based on linkages to known chains of transmission.  Based on VOC screening results, these cases are presumed to be the B.1.1.7 variant.  This variant was originally detected in the United Kingdom, and there is evidence that, compared to non-VOCs, it is more transmissible, and is linked to a higher risk of hospitalization and death.

The majority of community members have yet to complete the two-dose series of COVID-19 immunization.  Even if you have received COVID-19 immunization, everyone must continue to follow public health recommendations.

As of April 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, declared a third provincial emergency under s 7.0.1 (1) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMPCA). These measures are being taken in response to the rapid increase in COVID-19 transmission, the threat on the province’s hospital system capacity, and the increasing risks posed to the public by COVID-19 variants.

The provincial Stay-at-Home order requires everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise, or for work that cannot be done remotely.

There is an ongoing risk of contracting COVID-19 in our local communities. In order to prevent uncontrolled person-to-person spread in our communities, every Algoma resident must take the following actions:

  • Indoor organized public events and social gatherings of any size are prohibited during the shutdown.  This means having visitors in your home, or visiting friends or relatives you do not live with for shared meals or socializing, are all prohibited at this time.
  • Outdoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 5 people, except for gatherings with members of the same household (the people you live with)
  • Work from home if possible, and allow employees to work from home if they can
  • If you live alone, you may consider having close contact with another person or household for essential support and wellbeing. The fewer close contacts, the lower the risk.

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