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Phase One of vaccination rollout expected to be completed by March

February 25, 2021   ·   0 Comments

 By ALYSSA PARKHILL

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

COVID-19 case numbers continue to remain steady as the province continues to lift the lockdown and move regions back in to the COVID-19 Response Framework. 

Ontario has reported 975 cases, with the hotspots reporting 343 in Toronto, 89 in York Region and 186 in Peel Region.

Peel has seen a total of 59,821 cases with 2,179 still active, 57,042 resolved and 600 deaths. Caledon has a cumulative total of 2,251 cases with 12 deaths. 

27 regions were released last week from the lockdown and stay-at-home order that began on January 14 and put back into an amended COVID-19 Response Framework.

York Region was lifted into an updated Red (Control) Zone on February 22, following advice from the Region’s Medical Officer of Health.

Since the announcement on February 12, the Provincial government has announced Toronto, Peel and North Bay-Parry Sound will remain in the shutdown and stay-at-home order for another two weeks until March 8 at the earliest.

The Province states that although both Peel and Toronto have seen lower numbers of COVID-19 cases, rates are still too high for them to move back into the framework. 

“Our government’s number one priority is the safety of all individuals and families, and that’s why we are taking a gradual, cautious approach to returning regions to the Framework,” said Minister of Health Christine Elliott. “These are difficult but necessary decisions, in order to protect against COVID-19 variants and maintain the progress we have all made together. Until vaccines are widely available, we continue to urge all Ontarians to follow public health advice and measures, and stay home, stay safe, and save lives.”

Every two weeks, each public health region will be assessed to determine if they will remain in their current level, including Red, Orange, Yellow, Green and Grey, or if they are to move in a more strict or lenient level. 

“While the health indicators have improved enough to allow us to return an additional region to the Framework, we are not yet at the point where we can safely transition back the remainder of the province,” said Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “Everyone is strongly advised to continue staying at home, avoid social gatherings, only travel between regions for essential purposes, and limit close contacts to your household or those you live with regardless of which level of the Framework you are in.”

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues ahead as the Province has announced over 500,000 doses have been administered across the province through the Phase one. The vulnerable population were put at highest priority, including residents and staff at long-term care and retirement residences. 

Public health agencies are planning to complete the Phase One vaccinations to be completed by early March. 

The second phase is to being in April where an increase of vaccine supply is said to be provided and available for older adults, those in high-risk settings as well as other at greater risk, along with frontline essential workers. 

The vaccine will be available for the rest of the Ontario population in Phase Three which is aimed to begin in August.

Until then, the Province is encouraging Ontarians to continue following the necessary safety guidelines provided by public health agencies as well as staying home, wearing a mask and practicing physical distancing.

“We know Ontarians are eager to receive this layer of protection, and we are ready to ramp up our efforts as we receive more doses from the federal government,” said Elliott. “This upcoming increase in vaccine supply will allow us to expand our vaccination efforts for Phase One priority groups further as we prepare for Phase Two.”

Ontario states they have a capacity of providing 40,000 vaccinations daily which is expected to dramatically increase depending on the supply provided from the Federal government. 

For more information, please visit covid-19.ontario.ca. 



         

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