Premier Doug Ford announced last week that students are expected to return to in-person learning this fall. A cohesive plan is expected to be released this week.
Dr. Kieran Moore, newly appointed chief medical officer of health for Ontario, noted that there will be a multi-layered approach to safety in schools, including students and staff wearing face masks, screening themselves for COVID-19 symptoms, being tested when necessary, and ensuring good hand hygiene and physical distancing is in place.
“I think we have to normalize COVID-19 for schools and have an approach that’s prudent and cautious but that realizes that we’re going to have a rise in cases, but we’re going to adhere to the best practices to minimize the spread and to keep our community safe,” Moore said during a media briefing. “We must maintain them open going forward.”
Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, Waterloo Region officer of health, also said during a media briefing that she hopes to see up to 90 per cent of students with their first dose receive their second dose. As of yesterday, over 71 per cent of people aged 12 and up in the region have received both vaccine doses.
This week, the Waterloo Region Vaccine Distribution Task Force will bring the COVID-19 vaccine to residents. Two mobile buses will be bringing vaccines to high priority neighbourhoods, as well as several public locations. These public locations include Conestoga Mall, Elmira BIA and Fairview Mall.
The region is also making sure their Moderna vaccines will not go to waste. Earlier this week, the Ontario Pharmacists Association raised concerns that possibly thousands of vaccine doses may expire within the next few weeks. However, more vaccines are being moved to mass vaccination sites to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Approximately 2,000 shots which were going to expire were transferred from community pharmacies to mass vaccination sites. About 80 per cent of those doses were used.
As of Aug. 4, Waterloo health officials have confirmed 18,427 total cases of COVID-19, including approximately 282 deaths. Approximately 145 cases are considered active in the Region.