Listowel Banner Local News News Wingham Advance Times

Huron-Perth positive COVID case count continues downward trend

Phase one of regional vaccination plan expects to wrap up Feb. 18, mass vaccination plan continues to take shape

HURON-PERTH – With the COVID-19 vaccine continuing to roll out to Huron-Perth’s most vulnerable populations, the number of positive cases in the region continue their downward trend.

During its twice-weekly media update on Feb. 11, Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) reports only 13 new cases since its last update on Monday, bringing the cumulative total of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the region to 1,280. Forty-two cases remain active, while one resident remains hospitalized due to the virus.

Outbreaks continue at the Caressant Care Retirement Home in Listowel, as well as Seaforth Manor, Fordwich Village Nursing Home and Hillside Manor in Stratford. The Listowel Caressant Care Nursing Home outbreak was declared over on Feb. 9, with no new cases in the facility recorded in the last two weeks. Another Caressant Care resident passed away due to the virus last weekend, while another regional long-term care resident (not associated with an outbreak) passed away in hospital earlier this week, bringing the total of COVID-related deaths up to 47 in Huron-Perth.

Dr. Miriam Klassen, Huron-Perth medical officer of health, added during the Thursday afternoon briefing that the region has its first declared outbreak at a licensed child care centre, located in Exeter.

North Perth’s 340 total positive cases currently account for the over one-quarter of the positive COVID-19 cases in Huron-Perth, and the highest number for any municipality in the region; Stratford has recorded the second-highest number of positive cases with 293. Six of those North Perth cases are active, while Huron East currently has the highest number of active regional cases with 20.

Dr. Miriam Klassen, Huron-Perth medical officer of health, said during the Thursday afternoon briefing that the region has its first declared outbreak at a licensed child care centre, located in Exeter. She added that the second doses of vaccines continue to be administered to high-risk long-term care residents and staff, and other high-risk health care professionals as part of the province’s three-phase rollout plan. Huron-Perth expects to complete its first phase by Feb. 18.

“Staff, residents and essential caregivers of these facilities remain the priority population, and the province will continue to provide direction on who receives the next doses of the vaccine that arrive,” said Klassen. “We are a large geographic area with a small population distributed throughout, and we’re committed to providing vaccinations equitably across Huron-Perth for everyone who wants to be vaccinated, and want to remove as many barriers as possible. Given these factors, the model that has made the most sense is to bring the vaccine to people, and people to vaccines.”

Klassen went on to say that in accordance with HPPH’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan Overview, as vaccine supply increases and becomes more stable during phases two and three of the three-phase provincial plan, mass vaccination clinics and smaller-scale community clinics will take place across Huron and Perth. Planning is underway to determine community clinic sites across both counties.

Tentative hub locations are Wingham, Clinton, Goderich, Exeter, Listowel, Stratford, St. Marys, Milverton, Mitchell and Seaforth; these locations also align with primary care partners who are prepared to provide support.

“We’re also ready to continue with mobile clinics at retirement homes or settings like that where people can’t move to the vaccine,” said Klassen.

At present, regional vaccine availability remains solely centred around the Pfizer inoculation, which presents logistical difficulties in terms of extreme cold storage and subsequent transport.

“We will take whatever vaccine we can get,” said Klassen. “Right now, Pfizer is all that we have access to.”