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Local residents asked to follow the rules as Kawartha health unit begins vaccination phase

DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard

KAWARTHA LAKES: The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPR) is urging people to stay safe and follow the health related rules, while they begin vaccinating vulnerable members of the community. During an online press conference, on Wednesday, January 27th, Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Ian Gemmill talked about what people, who go to their cottage or second home, should do during this lockdown. “Please, if you’re going to do this, do it the right way. That means getting your supplies before you go, [driving] in your car, stay[ing] in your car, and go[ing] straight to your property. Then, when you get there, remember there is a stay at home order [in effect],” he stressed. “It applies just as much at a recreational property in HKPR as it does to a residence in Toronto or some other part of the GTA. It’s just as if you were home, so if you are staying at a secondary property you own, the stay at home order is still in effect. Please do not put other people at risk when you travel. And when you travel home, do the same thing [by going] straight home.” The local medical officer attempted to clarify the rules about gatherings. “In terms of gatherings, a gathering doesn’t mean it has to be a large gathering or an organized gathering, or one where you need to buy a ticket. It can be as easy as an evening social, or a pickup game of some sport where there is a lot of breathing that might spread virus from person to person,” Dr. Gemmill said. “I’m asking; the province is ordering people to stay in their own homes, so please don’t get together for coffee or beer, unless it is by Zoom.

That is the right way to do it, until we get things under control, and we can get enough people immunized.” 

Dr. Gemmill is urging people not to travel during this lockdown. 

“The other action that spreads this virus is travelling. So we’re asking people not to go out, and not to travel unless it is for essential reasons like food, medications, medical appointments and so on,” he said. 

On Monday, January 25th, HKPR announced they have “received 700 doses of the Moderna vaccine” with more possibly coming this week. 

“Following the roll out plan put forward by the province, the Health Unit will be delivering the vaccine to area long-term care homes so residents can be vaccinated as soon as practical. The province announced today it has revised its goal, and is aiming to have all residents of long-term care and retirement homes vaccinated by February 5th, 2021,” an HKPR press release read. 

At the press conference, Dr. Gemmill said the health unit and local medical professionals have a big job ahead. 

“We’re going to have to get [vaccines] into a lot of arms, a lot of people have to be protected for community wide protection,” he stated. 

HKPR’s medical officer doesn’t want people to worry about their safety when receiving the vaccine. 

“This vaccine is safe, the vaccine is effective. Clinical trials have been conducted on tens of thousands of people. Millions, since licensing, have received it [and we are] not hearing there are safety problems with this vaccine. I want to assure people if that’s your worry, you needn’t worry,” Dr. Gemmill assured. 

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