Grey Bruce top doctor calls current COVID-19 situation good

Grey Bruce Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Ian Arra

The Chief Medical Officer of Health in Grey Bruce said  more data is needed to confirm whether  the 4th wave of the pandemic has peaked.

However, Dr. Ian Arra stated “this is as good as it gets for a 4th wave. We have seen over the past few weeks optimal control over the pandemic locally with new cases at an average of less than five, which is quite manageable. No outbreak in any of the sectors. ”

But he pointed out pathogens that cause pandemics have seasonality to them, with similar peaks year over year.

“Similarly if we look at COVID-19 in 2020 the epi-curve started increasing, the number of cases increasing, in October, and steeply increasing mid to late October. And it peaked late November for Grey Bruce, and came down soon after. Then there was a little blip after the holidays, expected,” he added.

Dr. Arra said if we reach the end of October without an increase in cases, he would be able to breath more comfortably.

“When you look at the epidemiology curve, where are we in that curve? Are we in the descending end of the wave? That’s the question that needs to be answered, and we need more data on it,” he continued.

However, he said we are not out of the woods, with the possibility of waning vaccine protection. But he added vaccine rates, and safety measures are at a good level. And that means a possible further loosening of restrictions.

Dr. Arra thanked  the community for the positive situation in Grey Bruce, including healthcare workers and journalists.

“There’s a lot of hardship with a pandemic, and many people are frustrated for many reasons, whether it is kids attending school, or sports, or a vaccine mandate. We all nee d to remember it is the pandemic that’s causing that hardship, it’s not the decisionmaker, its not the health care system,” he continued.

Meantime, Dr. Arra said the Grey Bruce Health Unit will be ready in the event Health Canada approves COVID-19 vaccines for children aged five to eleven.

Health Canada is currently reviewing an approval application for COVID-19 shots for younger children from Pfizer Biontec.

Dr. Arra explained, “So we have been working with municipalities to make sure there is a community centre in every one of the 17 municipalities in Grey Bruce ready to roll out the vaccine”

He said they considered doing the clinics in schools, “but that was not the most practical solution because some schools have policies that would allow for vaccination of kids, but not for parents to be present. and as you know younger kids might require their parents to be there:”

Dr. Arra added there are also booster shots as eligibility expands, flu vaccines, and childhood vaccines that have been delayed during the pandemic.

He said, “depending on how many of those are approved, or we receive direction for, we might go to complete mass immunization again. So those 17 centre’s would deliver that mass immunization in Grey Bruce.”

However, he said the situation might require a different response if they are just providing vaccine to the younger age group, which is a relatively small number.

He expects approval from Health Canada could happen sometime in November, but depending on other issues like delivery from the manufacturer, those vaccines may not roll out until January.