Update on Covid-19 – 15 December 2021

The Medical Officer of Health for our region (HKPR  DHU) Dr. Natalie Bocking, today provided a comprehensive update on what’s happening locally with the pandemic – and there is a lot happening. It looks like we got our first case of the Omicron variant although that still needs to be confirmed – this variant is expected to be dominant before too long. The bad news is that cases are increasing with the cases per 100,000 population at around 36 compared to around 5 a few weeks ago. The good news is that we are not nearly as bad as other regions – for example Kingston is around 300 per 100,000 population. A lot of the cases are younger people with several outbreaks in schools and groups like hockey teams but so far not too much in Northumberland.

Here are more highlights of Dr. Bocking’s report:

  • Two doses of vaccine are not as effective against Omicron as they are against the Delta and earlier variants – therefore, booster shots are recommended.
  • The main group currently eligible for a booster shot is anyone over 40 although they must wait at least 168 days after their second dose of vaccine to receive their booster. Starting next Monday, this will be extended to anyone over 18 (with the same 168 days interval). [Stop Press: Now 84 days]. The Provincial booking system now has appointments loaded for December through January at the CCC. Go here.
  • Walk-ins are no longer accepted at clinics for second or booster shots.
  • Availability of vaccines is not a limiting factor in getting people vaccinated – but availability of enough staff could be. To help with this, the District Health Unit (DHU) is redeploying staff to help at clinics so that these booster shots can be given to all who are eligible.
  • If / when you go for a shot at a clinic (e.g. the CCC), you will now be required to wear a “medical” mask, not just the normal cloth one – if you don’t have a medical mask, one will be provided.
  • Some Rapid Antigen Test kits have been provided directly by the Province to schools and Long Term Care homes. These are not being supplied by the DHU although they can be bought at some pharmacies or online (or even Home Hardware – if they still have stock). Note that anyone who gets a positive result must self-isolate and book a lab-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test at a testing site to confirm the result. Northumberland Hills Hospital operates a testing site – to make an appointment call 905 377 7783 between 8:00 and 4:00 – 7 days.
  • Dr. Bocking asked that people not have large holiday gatherings and encouraged people to work from home wherever possible.
  • Some regions have made changes such as capacity limits and limits on gathering sizes but Dr. Bocking prefers that this kind of thing should apply across the Province so should be an edict by the Province. She expects some tightening of rules in the next few days.
  • When asked, she said that it’s too early to know if annual booster doses will become “normal” although she thought it would be quite possible.

For the latest updates, go to the Cobourg News Blog Covid-19 page.  Dr. Bocking did provide all the numbers but they are also at that page so not repeated here.

Update
16 December
Things are changing fast.
Starting Dec. 18, Ontario will reintroduce capacity limits of 50 per cent for indoor entertainment venues, meeting and event spaces, and sports venues with an indoor capacity of greater than 1,000 people. This will not affect local cinemas like the Loft or Rainbow.

COVID-19 rapid tests will also be available to residents free of charge at pop-up testing sites located at high-traffic public areas, as well as at LCBO retail locations, effective immediately.

Update

17 December

Another announcement from the Province added restrictions on capacity in stores and restaurants – for full details go to Cobourg News Blog Covid-19 page.  Any future news on restrictions etc will be on that page and not here.

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JimT
20 December 2021 8:56 am

“…the District Health Unit (DHU) is redeploying staff to help at clinics
so that these booster shots can be given to all who are eligible.”

Hah! Try February 1st next year. That’s the earliest appointment I can get as of today.

How many shots do they plan to give per hour at CCC?

When I got my first shot back in March (not at the CCC), it was about 7 minutes between shots. The time between seemed to be taken up by standing around, fiddling and dawdling with no sense of urgency at all to get bodies in and out as quickly as possible.

I despair!

Dunkirk
18 December 2021 10:16 am

At the beginning of the week, I booked my booster shot online & rode the train to Union Station…I was the only person on my car….
I flew to DC and was one of only 3 people on the plane….the same three of us returned later that day…
While awaiting my train back from Toronto, I walked into the city’s largest bar and enjoyed a cocktail and was the only patron….
While the health protocols existed at every turn, that I and others totally expected and respected, I must say it could have been one of the best short-haul business travel experiences I have ever enjoyed.
A few short days later, we are told that our world has changed….I think most of the public knew it had changed a week ago. How long can any hospitality businesses remain open under the strain of any new restrictions–warranted or not?

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Dunkirk
18 December 2021 10:58 am

I haven’t eaten out since this started. How are local places like Kelly’s and Boston Pizza coping?

Dunkirk
Reply to  Ken Strauss
18 December 2021 11:32 am

Those are fair questions. From where I sit, the half-measure ‘restrictions’ are the result of the Province’s need to ‘do something’. They want to protect their precious limited supply of ICU capacity, and to avoid an all-out shut-down which some level of gov’t feels compelled to pay for and seem to result in a negative voter sentiment.
The people that are paying this holiday season will once again be in the service industry.
This time around, the positive effort seems to be in the rapid testing and booster availability….if those really exist..?

Gerinator
17 December 2021 5:07 pm

If it matters to anyone my experience with Moderna (booster) was that it put me out of action for approx 3 days. Very flu like experience including the arm that received the shot. Since then no issues. And yes I did not travel/convene with any persons during my down time. I don’t get what people are whining about – can you imagine a war time situation, these folks would be waving the white flag! Sacrifice, stop being so selfish get your shot (s).

Sandpiper
Reply to  Gerinator
19 December 2021 11:06 am

I am Happy at the fact you at least Acknowledged that there were side effects .
Most won’t — 3 wks is still along time
How ever there are many that have had very serious and long term side
effects , Visual, Raspatory, Inflammation, Heart issues and many out west have GBS yet our hard working medical people will never acknowledge it might be a reaction to the Vaccine
Thus No assistance for Post Vaccine long haulers

Gerinator
Reply to  Sandpiper
19 December 2021 11:51 am

Sandpiper

Not 3 weeks, only 3 days.

Sandpiper
16 December 2021 10:28 am

I have run into several acquaintances over the last few months
that have all seemingly had lengthily adverse reactions to the Vaccines
I had a Raspatory issue my self with the 1st one that took months to get over.
My local Dr. had to send me out of town to a Respirologist to get a diagnosis and treatment .

It appears there is no specific medical area or help available where people
that have had adverse reactions can seek help . Yes the health Dept. Notes and documents the parties reporting reactions when you call in as requested
on the info sheet provided when you get the vaccine But that’s where it ends

Would anyone know of facility Dr dealing with Post Vaccine Reactions

Malcom Thomas
16 December 2021 9:37 am

They give you a fresh medical procedure mask before entering the main foyer of NHH.
I showed them the fold and tuck routine (from UNC Health) that I watched on YouTube.

https://youtu.be/UANi8Cc71A0

I have been properly fitted for an N95 through work and can tell you these slight modifications provide a better seal. Better function and no more foggy glasses.

Last edited 9 months ago by Malcom Thomas
Tom Holden
Reply to  Malcom Thomas
16 December 2021 10:54 am

I can endorse the technique, same as the one I saw on a CDC YouTube video (I think it’s going ‘viral’!). Really critical to get the knot tight up against the mask material so that the tuck doesn’t pop out and break the seal. I found that I could place the bottom edge in the cleft of my chin, rather than under the chin, for a bit more range of jaw motion, equally good seal and a deeper ‘pout’ (snout?, duckbill?). On the downside, the results do vary depending on the mask material. On one type, the inner layer was quite loose and, with each in-breath, it flapped against my lips. The technique might make for an effective singer’s (performer’s) mask but I have one already.

Vkl
16 December 2021 9:34 am

Note that the interval between second dose and booster is now 84 days instead of the recent 168 days.

Merle Gingrich
16 December 2021 8:39 am

Thanks John for your update.