Province expands COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Brenda Watkins
March 19, 2021

In addition, COVID-19 wastewater signal data in Ottawa is worsening, the province said.

The Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table says more transmissible virus variants of concern account for nearly half of new cases and are driving growth.

"We have successfully expanded Ontario's vaccine rollout plan to include pharmacies, mass vaccination centres and primary health care providers in key parts of the province", said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones.

The province's top doctor said Monday that Ontario could be going into a third wave but the extent of it remains to be seen.

There are thirty-nine new cases of the B.1.17 variant bringing the total to 1,175, one new B.1.351 variant case with that total now at 48 and P.1 variant cases remained unchanged with a total of 35.

Ten more people died and 759 COVID-19 patients were in hospital, including 309 in intensive care and 176 on ventilators.

Officials say more than 50 per cent of Ontario residents aged 80 and older have now received at least one vaccine dose.

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"The recent modelling has shown us that we must be nimble in applying public health measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in our communities, and our government will continue to take all necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of Ontarians".

The latest provincial numbers confirm 39 additional cases of the B.1.1.7 variant first detected in the United Kingdom and an additional case of the B.1351 variant first detected in South Africa.

The new cases are in the Halifax area, with one a close contact of a previously reported case and the other under investigation.

There are now 1,175 cumulative cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, 48 cases of the B 1.351 variant and 35 cases of the P.1 variant first detected in Brazil.

If a staff member or student tests positive for COVID-19 during that time, public health may determine the virus was contracted at the school and, therefore, it would be classified as a school-related case.

The decision reverses a recommendation made by the body on March 1, when the panel of vaccine experts said AstraZeneca hadn't included enough people over the age of 65 in its clinical trials.

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