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COVID-19: Peterborough area reports 2 new deaths, 1,083 active cases; outbreaks at retirement homes

Click to play video: 'Surge in Peterborough-area COVID-19 deaths in vaccinated & unvaccinated' Surge in Peterborough-area COVID-19 deaths in vaccinated & unvaccinated
The local death toll from COVID-19 has jumped significantly in recent weeks. It now sits at 37, with 12 deaths in the last month alone. That's nearly a third of our region's total since the pandemic started. Jessica Nyznik reports. (NOTE: This story was completed when only 10 deaths had been announced). – Jan 13, 2022

The Peterborough area’s COVID-19 death toll reached 37 following two more deaths, according to data from Peterborough Public Health late Thursday afternoon.

The health unit’s COVID tracker, issued at 4:38 p.m., reported 1,083 active cases of COVID-19, up from 1,072 reported on Wednesday. Since its update on Wednesday, the health unit reports 64 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in its jurisdiction of Peterborough, Peterborough County, Curve Lake First Nation and Hiawatha First Nation.

The health unit notes active cases being reported are an “underestimation” due to changes to PCR testing availability effective Dec. 31, 2021.

Read more: Ontario schools will report absenteeism data, but parents won’t always be notified of COVID cases

The latest two deaths follow two deaths reported on Wednesday. There have been 12 deaths in the region over the past month.

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Prior to the tracker’s update, during his noontime media briefing, medical officer of health Dr. Thomas Piggott shared details on the previous 10 deaths, noting six were from the Delta variant and four deaths were suspected or confirmed with the Omicron variant.

Other details he shared on the 10 deaths included:

  • Four of the 10 individuals who were unvaccinated.
  • Of the six vaccinated individuals, two had received three doses while four had two doses.
  • 76: Average age of the 10 deaths, ranging from an individual in their 40s to one in their 90s.
  • Seven of the 10 individuals died in hospital while three were in a long-term care setting

“It’s really quite tragic to see these numbers increasing and to see this toll climb,” he said. “I offer my sincere condolences to the families of all those affected by the losses in our region.”

Piggott noted the severity of Omicron continues to be tracked and that vaccines are working to keep hospitalizations and deaths down.

“It generally appears to be less severe. But what’s alarming and concerning is we’re seeing so much more COVID out there. Even with less frequency of hospitalization and severe COVID, we’re seeing a far higher burden overall,” he said.

The health unit also reported another 51 resolved cases on Thursday. The 3,104 cumulative resolved cases make up approximately 73.5 per cent of the 4,224 cumulative cases since the pandemic was declared.

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Hospitalized cases

Peterborough Regional Health Centre around noontime Thursday reported 32 in-patients with three in an intensive care unit — both up by one since Wednesday’s update.

It’s the highest number of local cases since start of the pandemic. Dr. Lynn Mikula, executive vice-president, chief of staff and chief medical executive, has stated a “vast majority” of hospitalized cases had COVID-19 symptoms when they were admitted.

The hospitalized cases make up approximately 3.1 per cent of all cases. Twenty-three of the cases required the intensive care unit. There have been 133 hospitalized cases in the region since the pandemic’s beginning.

Vaccination

Daily updates for its vaccination data can be found on the COVID tracker website. Of note, 312,277 doses have been administered and 80.5 per cent of eligible residents (ages five and up) are fully vaccinated with two doses. The health unit reports 64,005 residents have now received a third dose/booster of a vaccine — 45.2 per cent of the eligible population (ages five and up).

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From Dec. 15 to Jan. 12, more than 900 of the 2,051 new cases of COVID-19 in the region were in the under 20 to 29 age groups — 419 in the under 20 and 509 in the 20-29 age bracket, Piggott said Thursday.

“It’s so important we see people come forward in those groups and get vaccinated,” said Piggott.

However, Piggott noted just under 50 per cent (48.6) of eligible youth between ages five to 11 have received their first dose of a vaccine — a percentage he says needs to increase.

“This is where I think we have the most progress yet to do,” he said. “This is a safe vaccine — this is a vaccine that we now know a lot about. It has been around for over a year.

“Even though the newer child dose formulation — which is a lower dose — hasn’t been around as long but the vaccines for COVID have been around for over a year and they’ve been studied nearly more than any other medical intervention.”

He says while he understands hesitation from parents to get their children vaccinated, he says the vaccines are safe.

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“There are still people out there wondering and with questions — we want to be here, we want to answer them because I do think it’s critical for people to get this vaccination for their kids for their protection, especially in the context of Omicron and how much transmission we are seeing.”

More than 83 per cent of adults have received a third dose (booster).

“We really need to up our coverage with the third dose because it’s very critical for protection,” he said.

The health unit updates its list of clinics on its website offering first, second and third doses for adults and first doses for children aged five to 11. All appointments have to be booked on Ontario’s online portal or by calling the provincial vaccine booking call centre at 1-833-943-3900.

A number of Peterborough and area pharmacies offer vaccinations to eligible recipients. Appointments are required and can be made by calling the respective pharmacies or visiting the Ontario government’s website.

Testing continues at Peterborough Regional Health Centre’s assessment centre at 1 Hospital Dr. More information about booking a test through the COVID-19 Assessment Centre can be found on the health unit’s website.

Outbreaks

The health unit reported two new outbreaks on Thursday: Peterborough Retirement Residence and Kawartha Heights Retirement Living. Outbreaks were declared resolved at three congregate living facilities (no, 5, no. 10 and no. 11), leaving 16 other active outbreaks: (unless noted, case details have not been made available):

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  • Congregate living facility (no. 14) in Peterborough: Declared Jan. 10
  • Congregate living facility (no. 13) in Peterborough: Declared Jan. 10
  • Congregate living facility (no. 12) in Peterborough: Declared Jan. 9,
  • Peterborough Regional Health Centre: Declared Jan. 10 on the B4 inpatient unit. There were seven active cases as of Tuesday afternoon.
  • Sherbrooke Heights Retirement Residence in Peterborough: Declared Jan. 8.
  • Peterborough Regional Health Centre: Declared Jan. 7 on the neonatal ICU unit. There were two active cases as of Tuesday afternoon.
  • Royal Gardens Retirement Residence in Peterborough: Declared Jan. 7. The home reported two cases among staff.
  • Congregate living facility (No. 9) in Peterborough: Declared Jan. 6.
  • Congregate living facility (No. 8) in Peterborough: Declared Jan. 5
  • Peterborough Regional Health Centre: Declared Jan. 2 on the A5 inpatient unit. There were five active cases as of Tuesday afternoon.
  • Rubidge Street Retirement Residence: Declared Jan. 2.
  • Congregate living facility (No. 6): Declared Dec. 29.
  • St. Joseph’s at Fleming long-term care in Peterborough: Declared Dec. 29.
  • Fairhaven long-term care in Peterborough: Declared Dec. 28, the home initially reported five staff cases. As of Tuesday morning the facility reported 17 active cases — seven residents and 10 staff.
  • Riverview Manor long-term care in Peterborough: Declared Dec. 28.
  • Extendicare Lakefield: Declared Dec. 22.

There have been 580 cases associated with 90 outbreaks since the pandemic was declared — 213 cases in the past 30 days and 77 cases over the past seven days.

Back to school

On Thursday evening, Piggott will host a webinar on back-to-school safety and will be answering questions from parents. The webinar will begin at 6:30 p.m. and can be found at on the health unit’s YouTube channel.

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During his briefing, and on Twitter, he outlined what he called was a “grey” area on student returning to the classroom amid the Omicron wave. He says it’s a matter of risk and exposure.

“I think in-person learning is key, but I also think parents must make their own risk assessments for their own kids,” he said.

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