By Gordon Lambie
Jean Delisle, the local vaccination campaign director for the Estrie region, said Wednesday that people who have yet to schedule a first dose of vaccine are better off doing so sooner than later. With the number of age groups able to move their second-dose appointments up increasing day by day, the campaign director said that the local clinics are shifting the proportion of doses each day to be primarily reserved for second doses, with only one in four available for those who still need a first dose.
According to Delisle 67.8 per cent of people in the Eastern Townships have now received a first dose and 12.4 per cent can be considered adequately vaccinated. Although both the campaign director and Regional Public Health Director Dr. Alain Poirier hailed this as good progress, Delisle pointed out that vaccination among those aged 18-39 remains stagnant compared to other groups.
Despite the challenges regarding vaccination, Poirier said that he was “very happy” with the progress of the region and fully expects a transition to the green alert level within two weeks.
Because of the reduced need for testing, the CIUSSS de l’Estrie – CHUS has decided to reduce the hours of operations for some of its testing centres. Although testing centres will remain open seven days a week in Sherbrooke and Bromont, the centres in Granby, Lac-Mégantic, Val-des-Sources and Magog will only be open Monday to Friday until further notice.
To the question of delays and difficulties in rescheduling second dose appointments, particularly for those who received the AstraZeneca vaccine, Delisle said that new systems are being put in place to try to handle the rapid changes to the online platform that have been causing errors. He pointed out that the adjustments to the campaign on the provincial level have required multiple redesigns of the website in real-time, and begged patience from the public while the bugs get sorted out.
Meanwhile the mobile vaccination clinic will continue to make the rounds in the region, with visits planned in the coming days to Sutton, Cowansville, and Richmond.
There were three new cases of COVID-19 recorded in the Eastern Townships on Wednesday, with 53 cases active across the region. There were no new deaths as a part of Wednesday’s report, and the number of people in hospital decreased to 10, none of whom was in intensive care.
The Province of Quebec recorded 153 new cases, bringing the total number of people infected to 373 370, with 1,606 active cases. There was one new death reported, but the total number of deaths remained unchanged due to the withdrawal of 1 death not attributable to COVID-19.
Across Quebec there were 192 hospitalizations: a decrease of 17. Of that total, 45 were in intensive care: a decrease of 5.
A total of 6,971,193 doses of vaccine had been received by Quebecers as of Wednesday morning.