The province has named Pharmacie Jean Coutu as one of the local stores that will distribute the AstraZeneca vaccine to residents.
The province has named Pharmacie Jean Coutu as one of the local stores that will distribute the AstraZeneca vaccine to residents.

Pharmacies to receive vaccine as province shuts down

Gregg Chamberlain
EAP
Stephen Jeffery
EAP
Two Prescott-Russell pharmacies have been chosen to administer COVID-19 vaccines to people aged 55 and over.

The two pharmacies – Pharmacie Jean Coutu in Hawkesbury and Embrun Remedy Rx’s, were named on Thursday morning on the province’s website as administrators of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Vaccines had not yet arrived at either of the locations, but residents could check the covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations website for days when appointments would be available.

UNE VERSION EN FRANÇAIS DE CET ARTICLE EST DISPONIBLE
Les pharmacies recevront des vaccins pendant la fermeture de la province

Staff at the Jean Coutu pharmacy, located at 80 rue Principale in Hawkesbury, have received phone inquiries since Monday from people wanting to get vaccinated. But Claude Corriveau, the store manager, said during an interview April 1 that the outlet was still waiting for official confirmation from the provincial government that it is one of the two pharmacies in the Prescott-Russell region designated for vaccine distribution. 

“It’s pending,” Corriveau said. “We’re still waiting for the (official) go-ahead. We don’t even have the vaccine yet.” 

Everyone calling the pharmacy about getting the vaccine is referred to the Ministry of Health website and its toll-free number for information on vaccination. 

Corriveau promised that the pharmacy will let its clients know when it is able to start doing vaccinations. 

“We will announce it,” he said. 

Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said he had only seen the spreadsheet with the list of pharmacies shortly before a media briefing on Thursday afternoon. He said the local health unit did not have any say in the pharmacies the government chose. 

“It’s kind of a disconnect in the system and I’ve raised my concerns about that,” he said. “I think pharmacies are important and we should have more connectivity and a way to understand it. I’m hoping that will improve in terms of communication.” 

More restrictions 

The pharmacy announcement was made shortly before the Ontario government declared a four-week “shutdown” for the province. The restrictions, due to take effect from 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, would not be as strict as those between Christmas and early February, but would include bans on all indoor and outdoor dining, as well as the use of facilities at gyms and other indoor and outdoor sporting venues. Schools would remain open. 

Indoor organized public events and social gatherings are banned, and capacity for outdoor organized public events or social gatherings were limited to a five-person maximum, except for gatherings with members of the same household (the people you live with) or gatherings of members of one household and one other person who lives alone. 

Weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies were limited to 15 percent of capacity for indoor rooms. The restrictions did not include social gatherings associated with those services such as receptions, which are not permitted indoors and are limited to five people outdoors. 

Dr. Roumeliotis said he had called for a stay at home order to accompany the lockdown. “I think that lockdowns alone aren’t as effective as adding either a curfew or a stay at home order,” he said. “We’re seeing a lot of these cases from social gatherings. Toronto was locked down for this period of time and not much changed. We’ve raised our concerns and we’ll see what happens.”

Fears for business

Mayor Guy Desjardins of Clarence-Rockland expressed exasperation during a phone interview that his community is now part of the province-wide shutdown. The EOHU had Orange Zone status until this week when it was shifted to Red Zone status. 

“We could have stayed in Red Zone,” said Mayor Desjardins. “I hope they don’t keep this (Grey Zone) too long. I would like to know why we’re in it too.” 

The mayor will ask Dr. Roumeliotis for an explanation about the status for the region. Meanwhile, he worries about the economic health of his community. 

“I hate to see how this is going to work out,” Desjardins said. “Some of our restaurants are borderline, this could tip them over. It is a real blow, no doubt about it.” 

Karl Parent, president of the Clarence-Rockland Chamber of Commerce, is disappointed with the premier’s decision on Grey Zone status for the entire province and worries about whether or not some of the local business owners in his community will be able to survive even a modified lockdown situation. 

“It possibly may be the last strike for some businesses in the Clarence-Rockland community,” Parent said during an April 1 phone interview, soon after the announcement. “I’m disappointed in the closures of the restaurants, both inside and outside.” 

Parent noted that the city’s bylaw officers have done “a good job” of weekly inspections for health safety measures at Clarence-Rockland’s businesses and that local restaurants could have remained open with at least limited seating capacity. He expressed hope that residents will “rally and support local businesses” through take-out and delivery orders and curbside pickup service. 

“Any business that needs support or resources can reach out to me or other chamber board members,” he said. “We will gladly help, and do what we can to help save their businesses.” 

Outbreaks 

Two outbreaks continued at the Hawkesbury and District General Hospital, with 28 patients and 6 staff testing positive. Staff outbreaks were also reported at Heritage Lodge in Vankleek Hill and Le Genesis Retirement Home in Limoges.  

There were no outbreaks reported in Prescott-Russell schools, but cases reported in schools included: three students and one staff member at Mother Teresa Elementary School in Russell, four students at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic High School in Russell, two staff members at École élémentaire publique Nouvel Horizon in Hawkesbury, two students each at at École élémentaire publique L'Académie de la Seigneurie in Casselman, École élémentaire catholique Sacré-Coeur in Clarence-Rockland, Russell High School, and École secondaire catholique de Casselman, and one student each at École élémentaire publique Le Sommet in Hawkesbury, École élémentaire catholique de Casselman - Pav. St-Paul/Ste-Euphémie, École élémentaire catholique Saint-Joseph in Russell, École intermédiaire catholique - Pavillon Hawkesbury, École secondaire catholique régionale de Hawkesbury,  and Vankleek Hill Collegiate Institute,  

Outbreaks 

Two outbreaks continued at the Hawkesbury and District General Hospital, with 28 patients and 6 staff testing positive. Staff outbreaks were also reported at Heritage Lodge in Vankleek Hill and Le Genesis Retirement Home in Limoges.  

There were no outbreaks reported in Prescott-Russell schools, but cases reported in schools included: three students and one staff member at Mother Teresa Elementary School in Russell, four students at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic High School in Russell, two staff members at École élémentaire publique Nouvel Horizon in Hawkesbury, two students each at at École élémentaire publique L'Académie de la Seigneurie in Casselman, École élémentaire catholique Sacré-Coeur in Clarence-Rockland, Russell High School, and École secondaire catholique de Casselman, and one student each at École élémentaire publique Le Sommet in Hawkesbury, École élémentaire catholique de Casselman - Pav. St-Paul/Ste-Euphémie, École élémentaire catholique Saint-Joseph in Russell, École intermédiaire catholique - Pavillon Hawkesbury, École secondaire catholique régionale de Hawkesbury,  and Vankleek Hill Collegiate Institute,  

The region 

Of the 355 active cases in the EOHU on Thursday, 136 were in Prescott-Russell communities, including: 

  • 39 in Russell; 

  • 24 in Hawkesbury; 

  • 21 in Clarence-Rockland; 

  • 16 in East Hawkesbury; 

  • 10 in Champlain; 

  • 9 in Alfred-Planategenet; 

  • 9 in Casselman, and; 

  • 8 in The Nation 

Of the 355 active cases in the EOHU on Thursday, [xxx] were variants of concern. There were 136 cases active in Prescott-Russell communities, including: 

  • 39 in Russell; 

  • 24 in Hawkesbury; 

  • 21 in Clarence-Rockland; 

  • 16 in East Hawkesbury; 

  • 10 in Champlain; 

  • 9 in Alfred-Planategenet; 

  • 9 in Casselman, and; 

  • 8 in The Nation