CKHA staff to be vaccinated by end of October

A public health nurse administers the COVID-19 vaccine. (File photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News)

The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) has given its employees until Hallowe’en to get vaccinated.

All CKHA staff, professional staff, volunteers including board members, students, and contractors will be required to be fully vaccinated by October 31, 2021.

That means the first dose must be received by September 18, with a second dose no later than October 17 in order to be deemed full vaccinated by the deadline.

Staff that are not fully vaccinated and have not provided a valid exemption by October 31, will have their employment terminated. For professional staff, their privileges will be suspended on an immediate mid-term basis.

“Vaccination is our best defense against this highly contagious virus and the best effort to lessen the impact of a fourth wave which is upon us. We are grateful to all those who have already been vaccinated,” said Lori Marshall, President and CEO, CKHA. “Our enhanced staff vaccination policy ensures the best possible protection for our patients and their families, staff, physicians and the broader community, while reducing the potential risk of COVID-19 amid the delivery of vital health care services.”

All five hospitals within the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integrated Network told staff, volunteers, and contractors last week to get double vaccinated.

COVID-19 cases have been on the rise in Chatham-Kent. The active case count on September 1st was 58 but has jumped to 122 as of September 10. This is the first time active cases have reached triple digits since March 2021.

The vast majority of hospitalized COVID-19 positive patients in Erie St. Clair hospitals are not fully vaccinated. The CKHA said this is consistent with the provincial trend.

Meanwhile, the Lambton-Kent District School Board has confirmed a case of COVID-19 at Victor Lauriston Public School in Chatham.

No word on if it’s a student or staff member, but the school remains open.

Chatham-Kent Public Health (CKPHU) is working closely with the school community and is contacting anyone who may have been in contact with the person. If you have not been notified, either by letter or phone, your child has not been in close contact with the confirmed case.

The school board is encouraging families to follow the health and safety protocols in place to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19, including completing and following the directions of the daily school screening assessment tool before sending children to school.