Ottawa Public Health plans new COVID-19 reminder site for teachers – Ottawa

Ottawa’s medical officer of health said there are plans underway for a new COVID-19 vaccination site that could prioritize booster shots for teachers and other education workers in schools. coming weeks.

Dr. Vera Etches told reporters on Tuesday that a new “access point” for reminders is “hopefully” set up this week in partnership with Kids Come First, a group of pediatric care providers in Ontario, including the CHEO Ottawa Hospital.

Details were limited on Tuesday, but Etches said the new site would support Ottawa Public Health’s goal of providing education workers with booster shots.

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Etches said OPH is meanwhile “on track” to provide a booster dose to anyone who wants one before the end of January.

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Ontario health officials announced the shift to online learning on Monday and promised resources such as N95 masks and advanced HEPA air filters would be provided to schools when in-person classes resume, currently scheduled for January 17 at the earliest.

Etches said Tuesday that the province’s restrictions on gatherings and the closure of indoor dining and recreation activities were “appropriate” given Ontario’s projections of how the continued Omicron push could affect hospital capacity, but expressed some difference of opinion on school closures.

“I have given my professional opinion that I don’t think opening schools significantly worsens transmission based on our previous experience in the pandemic, but I know it was a very difficult decision to make. take,” she said.

Etches has long been an advocate for keeping schools open during the pandemic, defending the school’s social and safety benefits for the well-being of children and noting on Tuesday that it is a “controlled” environment in terms of relates to the transmission of COVID-19.

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“We believe they can open as soon as possible,” she said.

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Ottawa’s top doctor added Tuesday that now is the time for parents of children ages 5 to 11 to reserve early doses for their children during the temporary halt to in-person learning.

Citing South Africa’s experience with Omicron, where a rapid increase and decrease in cases was seen over a period of about two months, Etches said it’s possible the current wave will recede in February, but it is too early to say for sure without real-world experience of populations closer to those in Canada.

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Around this time, however, children aged 5 to 11 in Ottawa would also begin to be protected from their second doses of the vaccine.

Although vaccinations have not been shown to effectively stop infections or transmission of the Omicron variant, Etches said the vaccine continues to reduce severe cases and hospitalizations related to COVID-19.

“I think we should end up, after this wave – we expect the peak to be around the end of January – we should end up in a place with more immunity at all levels, being able to go back to the things we have need,” she said.

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