Huron-Perth COVID cases remain low, Klassen warns public against Delta variant

HURON-PERTH – COVID-19 vaccinations continue to rollout across the region and active cases remain relatively low locally, but Huron-Perth Public Health’s (HPPH) Medical Officer of Health continues to stress caution when engaging in any conduct outside of one’s household. Particularly when it comes to the Delta variant of concern.

“There’s increased circulation of the Delta variant in Waterloo, which has been designated as a ‘Delta hotspot’,” commented Dr. Miriam Klassen on June 16. “We all need to remain vigilant now that the Delta variant is coming into the picture as we know it’s more transmissible than other variants, and it may make people sicker.”

Klassen confirmed one known instance of the Delta variant in Huron-Perth, which can typically only be detected after transmission through genome sequencing two weeks later. She added that while one dose of the COVID vaccine has proven effective against the other circulating variants of concern, against the Delta variant only one vaccine dose is considered around 30 per cent effective.

Two doses have proven highly effective against contracting COVID with the Delta strain.

“I’m feeling really pleased with our controlled rate of cases, and with a high rate of vaccine uptake,” said Klassen. “We do have to have some caution with the Delta variant. That can be managed by continuing to follow Public Health measures and getting the second dose. We know the vaccine is very effective against the Delta variant.”

As of June 21, HPPH was reporting 14 active cases of COVID-19 (two containing variants of concern) in the region. North Perth currently contains only one active case, while Perth East has two. North Huron currently has no active cases of COVID-19; Huron East is reporting three.

The outbreak at Knollcrest Lodge in Milverton initially declared on June 6 continues, following the positive COVID tests of three staff members.

On the vaccination front, Klassen said that a forthcoming increase of Moderna shipments to the region will significantly help increase second dose rollouts. To date, approximately 75 per cent of eligible Huron-Perth residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

“Moderna and Pfizer are considered interchangeable; if you received one you can receive the other as your second dose,” she said. “We’re adding in more clinics, and we’re excited that we can get through second doses faster than originally anticipated. We really encourage everyone to get their jab.”

Residents who have had any type of COVID-19 vaccine as their first dose (AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna) are eligible to book at an HPPH clinic for any type of mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) for their second dose. Pfizer and Moderna are interchangeable mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, as endorsed by the Public Health Agency of Canada, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), and the Ontario Ministry of Health.