By Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative
CK Public Health officials are urging residents to be patient as staff are fielding numerous calls from the general population requesting vaccine appointments.
On Wednesday, (Ret.) Gen. Rick Hillier, the head of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine task force, announced the province’s online vaccine booking system and call centre will go live in mid-March.
Residents over the age of 80 will be allowed to make their first appointments on March 15, and those over the age of 75 will follow suit on April 15.
Jeff Moco, spokesperson for CK Public Health, said since the announcement the phones have been ringing with residents ready to make their appointments, but he is asking for a little more patience as Public Health continues to formulate its roll out plans.
“Ontario provided details today so we are still trying to figure it out to see how it will be operated at a local level. Maybe we will go faster or slower,” he said.
“We are very excited that there is a demand for vaccines and we just need them to be patient so we can get through the highest risk in the short-term. We are moving as quickly as we can.”
On Tuesday, CK Public Health and its local health partners completed their first day inoculating residents at the new vaccination site in the John D. Bradley Convention Centre in Chatham. Approximately 400 doses were given out to health-care workers and caregivers in long-term care homes.
Moco said the whole process went off without a hitch.
“Overall it was a good first day. I think it was a pretty smooth process,” he said. “It was really inspiring and a lot of excitement in the air.”
Moco said the main priority of CK Public Health this week is to continue its outreach efforts with local health-care organizations and work with employers to book their staff for appointments based on highest priority.
The general public will be informed when vaccine appointments can be booked by the general population through CK Public Health’s website and social media page. Members of the vaccine team also said they will be reaching out to residents via telephone to book appointments, and pop-up clinics might be in the works.
“Let’s not call our family care providers and be patient and wait for the next steps,” Moco said. “We’re all looking forward to high uptake in our community and returning to the things that are important.”
Meanwhile, health-care staff are also making the rounds to give long-term care residents their second doses of the Moderna vaccine.
Moco said CK Public Health will be updating its online reporting system soon to better inform the public on how many individuals received their full vaccination.
One long-term care home in Wallaceburg might soon be saying goodbye to its outbreak. On Wednesday Tracey Maxim, administrator of Fairfield Park, announced that it continues to have only one active case of COVID-19 among its residents and one active case among staff. All other cases have been resolved and the vaccination team inoculated all residents that had tested negative for the virus while it was in outbreak.
CK Public Health reported two recoveries from COVID-19 and one new case bringing the active total down to 17.
Based on the current data, Moco said Chatham-Kent is trending from the Red Zone down to the Yellow Zone come Friday when the provincial government is expected to release its latest regional restrictions.