Algoma update on COVID-19 and immunizations

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Algoma Public Health

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.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Mr. Singer…come on….do you really think the hospital CEO makes over a half-million dollars a year? I think that is a bit of a stretch and just “stirs the pot”.
    Does APH have enough vaccines to cover those that have made appointments for the upcoming clinics?…or…will there be cancellations of already scheduled appointments?

  2. Thank you for this APH. It is at least a start to be more open. Hopefully you will now start to improve the booking system. As stated above it should have come as no surprise that these booking problems would happen. I hate being as negative as I have been lately. Let’s hope things improve and we can get back to being positive. Meanwhile thank you to everyone fighting this I whatever way you are.

    Reply moderated
  3. Thank you APH for sharing some info. Unfortunately, this seems to be telling us that 40% of people over 70 have not yet had a vaccine. If that is correct, it is hard to understand how the decision was made to open eligibility to other age groups given that you have noted limited vaccine availability. The resulting pressure on your booking system should have been no surprise.
    Get these seniors vaccinated. Open your lines to register all of these people so that you can contact them with a confirmed appointment as soon as you have vaccine.

    Reply moderated
    • Slow your roll there Rose.. the vaccine is available to those ‘WHO WANT ONE’. How about you worry about getting the ‘experimental’ shot into your arm, before you go running off about stabbing others against their will, just sayin’.

    • APH is playing politics with the unions. They would like to see the population against politicians, mostly the ones in Ontario.
      But you don’t need much to realize what’s going on.
      Here there are parallel systems for registrations and the family physicians are not doing their job, they are the ones knowing how compromised is the health condition of a patient.
      Toronto and GTA give you an appointment within the 24 hours that you request one.
      If you have your residencie in Sault Ste. Marie, but you are visiting family or friends in Toronto, you can have an appointment within the next 24 hours and get your vaccine.
      And if you have a history of immunodeficiency due to whatever condition you may WALK STRAIGHT INTO THE HOSPITAL AND YOU HAVE YOUR VACCINE IMMEDIATELY.
      Sault Ste. Marie is third world land with first world salaries for politicians and all big wigs, while 70% of the population is living below the poverty line.

  4. Few people working within the Health System is doing a sacrifice, working harder than ever and trying to fulfil the needs of the population and to those goes my appreciation.

    Algoma Health Unit is NOT DOING THE JOB AT FULL CAPACITY. PERIOD!

    When you have a Hospital Administrator earning well above half a million dollars a year and at the beginning of the Pandemic the public discover that the Administrator is “complying with the requirements of the job” from Vancouver, via iPhone… And you have whom to reprimand and correct such disorderly behaviour? NO ONE!

    The public can not book a vaccine appointment, and there is a myriad of excuses, but not appointments, not a minimal effort to vaccinate as many people as possible… they just vaccinated what the Union schedule allow them to do.

    There are not enough vaccines.

    There are not enough people to administer vaccines.

    There are statistics that will look nice to explain you laziness, but the reality is that people will start to die again, like in the beginning with the Nursing Homes.

    Sault Ste. Marie is a City with, probably, the highest percentage of senior population and Algoma Health Unit shows no plan to VACCINATE THE POPULATION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

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