From Tuesday, those born in 1981 or earlier were eligible to book appointments at pharmacies for their first dose of the vaccine. Previously, the vaccine was available only to those aged 55 and over. So far, pharmacies administering the dose in the area include Pharmacie Jean Coutu in Hawkesbury, Embrun Remedy’s Rx, and Walmart Pharmacy in Rockland.
The pharmacy bookings were available in addition to the mass vaccination clinics for those aged 60 and over being held in Hawkesbury, Rockland and Casselman. The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) administered almost 10,000 doses last week, with another eight clinics with 1000 doses each to be held this week.
Mobile clinics have been set up through Prescott-Russell for home and congregate care visits. A pop-up clinic was also set up in Embrun last week, with another clinic expected this week.
The ramp up of the vaccine effort continued as the COVID-19 case count continued to rise in the region. Another 109 cases were recorded over the weekend, pushing the EOHU area active case number above 500 for the first time since January.
EOHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said variants of concern had been responsible for the increase in cases, but said the count appeared to be stabilizing. “Hopefully this is the two-week period post-Easter where we’re starting to see the numbers go down,” he said. “People’s mobility was high and that correlates directly with numbers of cases. The less people are mobile, the less cases there are.”
Two outbreaks at the Hawkesbury and District General Hospital were declared over on Saturday. A predominantly staff-affected outbreak was reported at Caressant Care Nursing Home in Bourget and Residence St-Mathieu in Hammond.
Of the 510 cases active across the region on Monday, 233 were in Prescott-Russell communities, including 68 in Clarence-Rockland, 31 in Hawkesbury, 31 in Russell, 28 in Casselman, 26 in Champlain, 25 in The Nation, 17 in Alfred-Plantagenet, and 7 in East Hawkesbury.