This week saw the province lift most of the restrictions related to the pandemic, including proof of vaccination requirements. The region is winding down its mass vaccination clinics as case counts continue to drop.
“We are in a better situation now that we are past the Omicron wave. Vaccination and public health measures have reduced the most severe impacts of the Omicron variant,” medical officer of health Dr. Hsiu- Li Wang said last Friday during the region’s weekly pandemic briefing.
“With the loosening of public health measures – more people may become infected, which is why I continue to recommend a cautious approach to resuming activities including getting a booster dose and continuing to wear a mask.
“Local indicators are showing that the Omicron wave continues to decline in the Waterloo Region. The pandemic isn’t over yet, and we do need to be prepared for the future.”
The Ontario government has made no plans to remove mask mandates at this point even as it lifts most other restrictions.
“Capacity limits will be lifted for all indoor settings, provincial proof of vaccination requirements will be lifted, with businesses being allowed to implement them voluntarily. Mask requirements remain in place for the time being,” said Wang.
Director of regional vaccine services Vickie Murray noted that the mass vaccination efforts are winding down two years after the pandemic first began. In Wellesley, for instance, the clinic will provide its final shots this week.
“Altogether, clinic staff at the Wellesley clinic have administered 35,000 doses. The whole Wellesley team provided exceptional dedication to the health and safety of their community, making easy vaccine access to their township residents. It was common for me to hear updates about how they spent their day driving around the community doing home vaccination. We thank them for their commitment to their community,” said Murray.
The region reports 88 per cent of eligible residents have had at least one dose of vaccine, with 85 per cent having had two. Some 54 per cent have had a booster shot.
Anyone 12 years of age or older is now eligible to get a third dose of the COVID vaccine. The regional vaccine task force is working with local school boards to setup vaccination clinics in some 30 schools starting soon. They plan to offer March Break vaccinations at local high schools.
At midweek the region was reporting 484 active cases of COVID, down from previous weeks. There have been 397 fatalities associated with the virus so far.
Neighbouring community Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph reported 279 active cases as of midweek, with 159 fatalities associated with the virus since the pandemic began. Some 90.1 per cent of eligible residents in WDG have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, 86.9 per cent with two doses and 61.5 per cent with a booster.