The Eastern Ontario Health Unit expects eligible people will be able to use an online appointment tool by mid-March.
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit expects eligible people will be able to use an online appointment tool by mid-March.

EOHU prepares for wider vaccine rollout

Stephen Jeffery
EAP
Local health authorities are preparing to offer COVID-19 vaccines to residents aged 80 and over who live outside retirement or aged care homes.

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) has set up clinics for eligible recipients in Casselman, Rockland, and Hawkesbury. In a statement released on Thursday afternoon, the health unit said individuals aged 80 or over, adult recipients of chronic health care, and Indigenous adults living off-reserve would soon be eligible to receive the vaccine.

An online appointment system was expected to be set up for eligible recipients by the middle of March, the statement said, as would a phone line. Walk-in appointments would not be available.  

EOHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said the clinics had been used to vaccinate staff and essential caregivers of long-term care and retirement homes, as well as health care workers of the highest and very high priority level. First responders, such as police, firefighters, and paramedics, who responded to medical calls had also started to receive the first dose of the vaccine. 

Dr. Roumeliotis said the health unit had started its search for major vaccination sites once a wider rollout begins later this year. He said most of the sites, including in Rockland, Casselman, in Hawkesbury, would probably be at arenas. The City of Clarence-Rockland has already approved the use of Jean-Marc Lalonde Arena as a mass vaccination site. 

“The arenas fit the bill, but we’ll have others around,” Dr. Roumeliotis said. “Next month is going to be an increased accelerate of vaccine output.” 

To date, 9239 vaccines have been administered in the EOHU. 

Outbreaks 

One outbreak – at Rideau Place in Hawkesbury – was reported in Prescott-Russell as of Thursday. No outbreaks were reported at local schools, but one student case was recorded at École élémentaire catholique Sainte-Trinité in Clarence-Rockland, École élémentaire catholique Saint-Joseph in Wendover, and École secondaire catholique régionale de Hawkesbury. 

The region 

Of the 147 active cases in the EOHU on Thursday afternoon, 45 were in Prescott-Russell, including: 

  • 15 in Alfred-Plantagenet; 

  • 12 in Clarence-Rockland; 

  • 5 in The Nation; 

  • 4 in East Hawkesbury; 

  • 4 in Russell; 

  • 3 in Hawkesbury; 

  • 2 in Casselman, and; 

  • 0 in Champlain. 

The next EOHU media briefing is expected on Monday.