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HKPR medical officer talks about new Ontario directives

HKPR medical officer talks about new Ontario directives

DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard

KAWARTHA LAKES: Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit’s (HKPR) medical officer of health, Dr. Natalie Bocking, provided some feedback and reaction to the Ontario government’s recently announced new measures at a virtual press conference on Wednesday, August 18th.

One of the topics was about the province recently mandating vaccination policies for hospitals and whether vaccination should be required for healthcare workers.

“From my perspective, I think healthcare providers and healthcare workers have a duty and a responsibility to keep their patients and the clients they serve safe. So I support the requirements for vaccination for these individuals,” Dr. Bocking explained. “We know the delta variant spreads very easily, and vaccination is a very key role in preventing both further spread as well as severe hospitalizations.”

Dr. Bocking also responded to a question from The Standard regarding if there’s enough vaccine supply to provide third doses to those deemed the highest risk.

“There’s enough supply locally, as well as provincially to support it,” she said.

The Ontario government also recently decided to pause the province’s exit from the reopening framework.

“This, I think, is a prudent measure, given the current increase in cases we are seeing, and knowing further loosening of public health measures at this time will continue to encourage people to socialize and gather. That will continue to foster the spread of the delta variant and of COVID-19 as we move into the fall. Certainly, my hope is we will have high enough vaccination coverage rates that we won’t be seeing the same level of hospitalizations and severe illness associated with COVID-19 [in past waves]. But we do know the delta variant, because it is so infectious, and because it does cause more severe illness, that we could be seeing quite high numbers [of cases], and should be prepared for that in the fall,” Dr. Bocking stated.

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