By Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative
On Tuesday the maintenance supervisor at Riverview Gardens woke up excited as Chatham-Kent’s medical officer of health woke up “pumped” and ready to go.
Dr. David Colby inoculated Rick Walker with the COVID-19 vaccine at the John D. Bradley Convention Centre at 9:30 a.m.
It was the first vaccine given to a local person that is not a long-term care resident and it is also the first Pfizer vaccine to be issued locally.
“It’s like a train coming down the tracks. It (COVID) is going to come to you sooner or later,” Walker said. “I am excited to be a part of the solution honestly.”
Chatham-Kent hopefully saw the beginning of the end of the COVID-19 pandemic when long-term care residents got their first doses of the Moderna vaccine in late January. Second doses for those residents started Monday.
Now all staff in long-term care homes and the primary caregivers of its residents are able to receive their immunization. Riverview Gardens staff and caregivers were the first up, with more than 300 doses expected to be doled out.
“This is an absolute milestone. This is ground zero,” Colby said.
Walker said he would encourage all other Chatham-Kent residents to get the vaccine.
“You always have (COVID) in the back of your mind. But this is the solution where we can get to the end of this and I firmly believe that.”
“Who would have ever guessed that when we were celebrating New Year’s in 2020 what was to lie ahead of us? And here we are. It’s time to rid Chatham-Kent of this pestilence, it’s the way to do it,” Colby said of getting vaccinated.
Chatham-Kent reported 18 active cases Tuesday after five recoveries and one new case were reported on Tuesday morning.
Fairfield Park long-term care home in Wallaceburg has one active case of COVID-19 among its residents and one active case among staff left active. The cumulative total of cases for Fairfield sits at 100 and now new ones were reported this week.
The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance outbreak in the Medicine Unit remains active with 24 cumulative cases. Two patients are still in the hospital with the virus. Four staff are off work after testing positive for COVID-19, but not all are related to the outbreak.