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Dr. Ian Gemmill

Lockdown: Small businesses scramble again to counter COVID and its variants

in Business/Community/Health by
Lindsay’s Ctrl V will be one of many businesses closed during the lockdown.

Another lockdown is upon Ontario due to an acceleration of COVID-19 variants – and two local businesses are facing different realities because of it.

At 1:30 this afternoon, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced the lockdown will begin just after midnight on April 3. This will not be a stay-at-home lockdown. Schools will remain open but for at least the next four weeks, various local businesses are to be subjected to the similar sort of measures already in place in hotspot regions.

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Mass immunization clinics: What it will look like in Kawartha Lakes

in Health by
Mass immunization clinics: What it will look like in Kawartha Lakes
Dr. Ian Gemmill, acting medical officer of health.

As more vaccines get shipped to Kawartha Lakes in the coming weeks and an increasing number of citizens become eligible to get one, what do plans look like here for mass immunization?

According to the plan as it’s written now, the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit is not planning an around-the-clock effort where vaccines are administered 24/7.

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Province to move local health unit to ‘yellow’ as local cases decline

in Health by
Province to move local health unit to 'yellow' as local cases decline

Declining new coronavirus cases in recent weeks means COVID-19 restrictions will be eased somewhat starting Monday in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and Kawartha Lakes.

As of 12:01 am on Monday (March 8), the Ontario government will move the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPRDHU) region to its Yellow COVID-19 colour category. This is the second lowest level in Ontario’s five-colour COVID-19 Response Framework, and one step below the current Orange category that the area has been in for the past three weeks since the provincial Stay-at-Home order was lifted in mid-February.

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No direction given to local health units on use of AstraZeneca, about to expire in April

in Health by

As the country scrambles to coordinate and prioritize vaccinations against COVID-19, thousands of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will expire by the end of April.

And while that would conceivably mean a rush for local health units to get them into arms as quickly as possible, the acting local medical officer of health, Dr. Ian Gemmill, says there is not yet any definitive direction on the use of AstraZeneca – not even any indication it is coming to public health units.

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Local vaccine delivery expected this week says health unit

in Health by
A dose of good news: First local vaccine arrives

With more COVID-19 vaccine shipments expected this week, the local public health agency will be initiating vaccination clinics for the next group to be completed under the provincial vaccine distribution plan. 

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPRDHU) is expecting to receive more than 4,500 doses of the Pfizer vaccine this week, as well another 1,700 doses of Moderna. The Moderna vaccine will be used to provide the second dose to those residents of long-term care and high-risk retirement homes who had received their first dose last month.  Keep Reading

Vaccine hesitancy: Top doc says questions are reasonable but the science is strong

in Community/Health by
Vaccine hesitancy: Medical officer of health talks

Dr. Ian Gemmill gets it. The acting medical officer of health for the HKPR Health Unit says he appreciates how some may be skeptical of the new COVID-19 vaccines’ efficacy – and safety. “Vaccine hesitancy is an interest of mine,” Gemmill tells Denis Grignon, host of The Advocate Podcast: Stories from Kawartha Lakes, in the most recent episode.

“We do have a society that is more questioning than it was 50 year ago. There are a lot of people out there who have questions. And I think the questions, actually, are quite reasonable.” Particularly, he concedes, when it comes to the speed with which the vaccines were developed – less than 10 months, compared to the years it typically takes.

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Local health unit favours delaying March break, not cancelling it

in Education by
Local health unit favours delaying March break, not cancelling it
Ensuring Ontarians avoid hot locales like this or even Canadian travel is on the mind of the education minister.

What began as idle speculation last week has now turned into a full blown discussion about what the 2021 school spring break will look like for almost 17,000 Trillium Lakelands District School Board students — and it could mean a deferral of March break, if the local health unit has its way.

However, the minister of education, Stephen Lecce, has decided to frame the March Break question as a public health question rather than an educational question and it looks like the public health community is rallying behind him.

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Health unit requests money from city after reduction in public health spending by Conservatives

in Health/Municipal by
Health unit requests money from municipality after reduction in public health spending by Conservatives

With the Ontario Conservative government reducing provincial grants by 30 per cent for mandatory provincial programs, the local health unit has requested a 19 per cent increase in funding for the 2021 operational year from the municipality.

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Waiting for first vaccines: Medical officer of health says it’s ‘all hands on deck’

in Health by
Additional options for COVID-19 vaccine

As Ontario’s COVID-19 infection numbers risk spiralling out of control, the acting medical officer of health, Dr. Ian Gemmill, says the vaccine rollout can’t happen soon enough.

In a wide-ranging discussion with the Advocate, Gemmill says the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit is still waiting for its first doses to get started on phase one of the planned vaccination program.

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