LPH reports first dose uptick, no additional cases from protest

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

Lambton’s top doctor believes the province’s announcement on vaccine passports has led to an uptick in first dose COVID-19 vaccinations locally.

Beginning September 22, Ontarians aged 12 and up will have to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination in order to enter certain facilities.

Speaking with local media Thursday morning, Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Christopher Greensmith said a vaccination clinic at Great Lakes Secondary School Wednesday had 144 walk-ins and 100 of the individuals were getting a first dose.

“These are maybe people that were somewhat hesitant before, maybe didn’t feel that it had much to do with them, but now it does help people focus and gives them greater incentive to get vaccinated if the chances are they may not be able to go to cinema or the gym or perhaps workplace, even, if they’re not adequately vaccinated.”

Greensmith said to date, Lambton Public Health has administered 77 third doses to those who have eligible health conditions.

Greensmith also shared that there have been no additional COVID-19 cases connected to last week’s protest at Mike Weir Park.

“It’s quite likely we’ll see more. It was an outdoor event, but people were unmasked and unvaccinated and close together, so they’re at risk. Incubation period is up to 10 days, so we have a few more days to go.”

Over the weekend, Lambton Public Health issued a press release urging people who attended the Wednesday protest to monitor for COVID symptoms after an attendee tested positive for the virus.

While Sarnia-Lambton’s daily COVID cases have remained relatively low recently, Greensmith said cases could soon start to rise.

“We are concerned that the rates are higher in health units from Windsor to London, and that we may well start to see higher cases in the next few days to weeks.”

Sarnia-Lambton’s case rate per 100,000 people was 6.1 last week, down from 12.2 the week before. In Windsor-Essex, there have been 113.4 cases per 100,00 residents over the past seven days.

Greensmith was also asked about a local politician who recently spoke out against Ontario’s vaccine passport system.

“People may take some solace that a local politician is speaking that way, but I don’t agree with it. We do have to get people vaccinated, and the consequences for not being vaccinated are the same — there will be some limitations on where you can go if you don’t have a vaccine passport.”

On Monday, Warwick Township Mayor Jackie Rombouts released a statement stating she will refuse the Ontario vaccine passport and she will not be a patron of any business or organization that will not welcome all Ontarians equally.