COVID-19 case surge stretches HKPR Health Unit capacity; death reported in City of Kawartha Lakes

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit says the recent spike in COVID-19 cases and high-risk contacts has stretched the capacity of the health unit “to its limits.”

According to medical officer of health Dr. Natalie Bocking, over the past 14 days, the health unit has reported 282 confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 500 high-risk contacts. She says the health unit has had to make some process changes to balance the work involved with the new cases while continuing to offer mass immunization clinics in Lindsay, Cobourg, Trent Hills, Fenelon Falls, Minden and Haliburton.

Read more: COVID-19 — HKPR Health Unit not cancelling vaccination appointments or clinics despite supply issue

“We are doing a bit of a dance right now as we continue to work through new cases while also rolling out our vaccination clinics as we know that, in the long run, the vaccinations will play a major role in changing the trajectory of the pandemic,” she stated.

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The health unit is also staffing five mass immunization clinics, currently investigating eight community outbreaks, responding to 200 to 300 phone calls and emails daily, and helping set up programs to immunize homebound residents while working with primary health-care providers to implement patient vaccination.

The health unit says going forward anyone identified as a high-risk contact of a confirmed cased will be emailed a letter outlining quarantine and testing requirements. As well, staff will also prioritize responses to phone calls and emails.

“Only urgent or emergency emails and contacts will be responded to quickly,” the health unit stated. “Individuals who call or email to check on when they might be eligible to be vaccinated will not receive a response from the health unit. Individuals who have submitted a request for an individual code will also not receive a request from the Health Unit. All individual codes will come from the Ministry of Health.”

Case data Friday

On Friday afternoon the health unit reported another 30 new cases of COVID-19 along with a death.

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The new cases included 22 in Northumberland County, six in the City of Kawartha Lakes and two more in Haliburton County.

The health unit reported its 69th death overall since the pandemic was declared after a City of Kawartha Lakes resident died. No case details were provided. It was the 56th reported death in the Kawarthas. There have also been 12 in Northumberland and one in Haliburton County since March 2020.

There are now 171 active cases of COVID-19, down from 177 active cases reported 24 hours earlier, the health unit reports.

However, the number of variant cases continues to climb, now at 215, up from 203 on Thursday and 194 reported on Wednesday. Northumberland County now has 133 variant cases (three more), followed by 75 in the Kawarthas (eight more) and six in Haliburton County (one more).

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Of the health unit’s 1,454 cases since the pandemic was declared in March 2020, there are now 1,227 deemed resolved (33 more since Thursday) — approximately 84 per cent.

The health unit also declared an outbreak at Grafton Public School late Thursday. Immediate details were not available but three cases were reported by the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board on Thursday. Cases were still at three in the board’s update Friday morning.

There are seven other active outbreaks within the health unit’s jurisdiction as of Friday:

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Other case data for Friday:

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Read more: Ford says province does not need Red Cross help after Trudeau offers help with mobile vaccine teams

Other schools with cases as of 10 a.m. Friday:

  • Dr. MS Hawkins Sr Public School in Port Hope: One case. “The individual was not at the school while infectious,” a school letter issued to parents/guardians on April 14 states.
  • Hastings Public School: One case.
  • St. Thomas Aquinas in Lindsay: One case, unchanged.
  • St. Mary Catholic Secondary in Cobourg: Up to 34 cases — with one resolved, according to the PVNCCDSB, unchanged.
  • CR Gummow Public School in Cobourg: One case, unchanged.
  • North Hope Public School in Campbellcroft: Four cases, down from five on Thursday.
  • Terry Fox Public School in Cobourg: One case, unchanged
  • Grafton Public School: Three cases, up from two on Thursday.
  • Burnham Public School in Cobourg: One case, unchanged.
  • Campbellford District Public School: One case, unchanged.

To book a vaccine appointment, visit the province’s booking website or phone 1-888-999-6488. Phone lines will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Vaccines are also available at a number of pharmacies within the health unit’s jurisdiction.

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