More than 70 per cent of people over 12 years old in the region covered by the Grey Bruce Health Unit have been vaccinated with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccines, the public health organization announced Tuesday.
The region covered by the GBHU includes Bruce County, Grey County, Saugeen First Nation and Neyaashiinigmiing.
As of Tuesday, 133,575 doses have been administered in the region including 13,533 in the past week. Over 34,000 people have been fully immunized with both doses, representing 22 per cent of the population aged 12 and older.
Meanwhile, the Grey Bruce Health Unit is advising residents to take the first available mRNA vaccine available to them, whether it’s Moderna or Pfizer, and regardless of what vaccine was administered for their first dose.
“Data collated over past six months establishes the safety of interchangeable use of mRNA vaccines. If you had Moderna or Pfizer for your first dose you can safely take either Moderna or Pfizer for your second dose. Both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are authorized for use in Canada and use a similar mRNA technology, so the vaccines are safe to mix,” the health unit said in a news release.
The local health unit’s recommendation is consistent with advice from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) and provincial health officials.
“Mixing vaccines is safe, effective, and ensures everyone can receive their second dose sooner. Full vaccination is the greatest protection against COVID-19 and its variants, including the Delta variant,” the health unit said.
Those who received AstraZeneca for their first dose can safely take either Moderna, Pfizer or AstraZeneca for a second dose, the health unit said.
“If your second COVID-19 vaccine is different than your first dose, you do not need to start your series over again. You will be considered fully immunized two weeks after receiving two doses of Health Canada approved COVID-19 vaccines,” the media release stated.
The Grey Bruce Health Unit reported three new COVID-19 infections Tuesday.
The newest cases were reported in Owen Sound, Meaford and Saugeen Shores.
There are now 41 active and confirmed COVID-19 cases in the region, and 122 high-risk close contacts being monitored by the health unit’s case and contact management team.
Two of the confirmed active cases are hospitalized in Grey-Bruce and an additional local case is hospitalized outside of the region. Three COVID-19 patients from outside of Grey-Bruce are receiving care in local hospitals, according to the health unit’s report.
To date, 1,435 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Grey-Bruce including 99 in health care workers. Of those, 1,387 cases are now considered resolved.
There are no active COVID-19 outbreaks in any hospitals, long-term care or retirement homes, schools or childcare centres in the region.
Public health units throughout Ontario reported a combined 296 more COVID-19 infections Tuesday as well as six additional virus-related deaths.
However, the Ministry of Health advised 80 of the cases reported Tuesday were actually from 2020 and the result of a data review by Toronto Public Health.
Tuesday’s official update included 60 newly reported deaths, but 54 were from earlier in the pandemic and also reported as part of a data review.
The pandemic death toll in Ontario is now 9,082.
There were 314 people with COVID-related illnesses being treated in intensive care units in Ontario Monday according to provincial data.
Labs completed nearly 17,000 COVID-19 tests resulting in a test-positivity rate of 1.6 per cent.
The Delta variant, first discovered in India, and found in the case that sparked an outbreak at the Forum rooming house in Hanover, is now thought to account for over 50 per cent of all new cases in Ontario.
The province’s Science Advisory Table estimates the highly transmissible Delta variant is now quickly becoming the dominant strain.
By next week, the table said they expect to have a clearer picture of how most of the province entering Step 1 of a reopening plan has affected the rate of infection and hospitalizations.
The analysis and estimates from the science table were released on a Twitter thread.
There are 10 recognized “hot-spots” in the province now where the Delta variant has led to Ontario moving up appointments for second doses of the COVID-19 vaccines. The hot spots are Hamilton, Simcoe-Muskoka, Durham Region, Toronto, Halton, Peel, Porcupine, Waterloo, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph and York.