COVID-19 News: Grey Bruce closer to a full Step 3; no longer a Delta hot spot

BARRIE, ONT. —
Grey Bruce is no longer considered one of Ontario’s hot spots as COVID-19 cases trend downward following weeks of surging case counts.

Health officials said if the current pattern of decreasing infection rates continues, the region will be “in a good position” to move into Step 3 fully.

“Until then, we are asking the public in Grey Bruce to stay the course with the modified Step 3,” the health unit said.

WHAT DOES THE MODIFIED STAGE 3 LOOK LIKE

The region tiptoed into a restrained Step 3 earlier this month because of a spike in positive tests brought on by the highly transmissible Delta variant.

The region’s top doctor strongly encouraged residents to refrain from large outdoor gatherings, asking they remain below 25 people while other areas have increased to a 100-person cap for outdoor gatherings.

Indoor groups need to stick to five people in Grey Bruce, versus the 25 person limit for neighbouring Simcoe Muskoka.

Arra also requested residents continue to dine outdoors even though the province reopened indoor dining on July 16.

And while churches, fitness centres, cinemas and workplaces can welcome people back, the medical officer of health advised they follow strict health measures.

RAMPING UP VACCINATIONS

Dr. Ian Arra, Grey Bruce medical officer of health, has attributed the surge to one case in a Hanover rooming house that quickly turned into an outbreak with multiple high-risk contacts.

“Our experience with the Delta variant is an unfortunate proof of how extremely efficient and effective it is at transmitting and at causing severe disease leading to hospitalizations and deaths,” public health stated in a release on Wednesday.

The health unit said most positive cases were among residents who were not fully vaccinated, with private gatherings and parties as the main drivers.

“Without question, vaccination is the only way to prevent a fourth wave and our way out of this pandemic,” it added.

The Grey Bruce health unit ramped up immunizations with both mass and targeted vaccine clinics.

According to the health unit, roughly 70,000 people, or 50 per cent of eligible residents, have been vaccinated in the past four weeks.

“We have reached the vaccine coverage target for the regular strains of COVID-19. However, with Delta now the dominant variant, we need to reach a higher vaccine target of 90 per cent coverage,” public health noted.

The health unit is increasing its targeted vaccination strategy by adding more pop-up and drive-thru clinics.

WHERE TO FIND A WALK-IN CLINIC JULY 29 AND JULY 30

THURSDAY
 P&H Centre in Hanover
12:00pm-8:00pm

OSDSS in Owen Sound
12:00pm – 8:00pm

Sauble Beach Community Centre
3:00pm – 7:00pm

FRIDAY
P&H Centre in Hanover
12:00-pm – 8:00pm

OSDSS in Owen Sound
12:00pm – 8:00pm

Alternatively, the Blue Mountains Community Health Centre in Thornbury is accepting appointment bookings between 10 am and 12 pm on Saturday and Sunday.

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