COVID vaccination of primary school children encouraged

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A recent increase in local cases of COVID-19 is the result of increased transmission in elementary schools, the acting Brant County medical officer of health said.

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“Last week we saw a sharp increase in the number of cases and local indicators,” Dr Rebecca Comley said during her weekly press briefing on Tuesday.

The Brant County Health Unit recorded 95 cases of COVID-19 for the week ended November 28, up from 55 a week earlier. The number of cases last week is the highest since 102 cases were recorded for the week ended May 23.

“… The increase is largely due to transmission to our local elementary schools and associated transportation,” Comley said. “This is why it is important that parents take the opportunity to have their eligible children immunized as soon as possible. “

Of the 95 new cases reported last week, 29 were in children aged 5 to 11.

At the local and provincial levels, public health officials have not seen the same level of transmission in high schools and that, Comley said, is not an anomaly.

“A lot of these (high school) students have received their COVID-19 vaccine,” she said. “I think that’s the reason we’re not seeing a significant spread in high schools.”

She said immunizing eligible children would protect them from serious illnesses and help prevent transmission to the most vulnerable children and prevent epidemics in schools.

The health unit started immunizing children between the ages of 5 and 11 last week. As of Sunday, 818 children in this age group had received their first dose and 1,659 additional appointments were made.

Health unit officials have expressed satisfaction with the vaccine response for the age group and hope appointments continue to be made.

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There are about 12,270 children, ages five to 11, in Brantford and Brant County, according to the health unit.

Vaccinations for children from 5 to 11 years old can only be done by appointment. They can be reserved at www.bchu.org/ServicesWeProvide/InfectiousDiseases/Pages/COVID-19-Vaccines.aspx or at participating local pharmacies.

Comley also urged parents and guardians to step up public health measures, including the correct wearing of face coverings and maintaining physical distance when face covers cannot be worn.

“We also need parents to make sure they check their children every morning before they send them to school,” she said. “We absolutely need the help of our local parents to ensure that symptomatic children do not show up for classroom learning. “

Earlier this week, the Grand Erie District School Board announced that it was temporarily closing the Agnes G. Hodge School for in-person learning due to an outbreak of COVID-19 that was declared on November 22. . Students will learn remotely until December 13.

As of Tuesday, there were outbreaks at eight elementary schools and daycares within the jurisdiction of the health unit.

So far, there have been no local reports of the new Omicron variant, but Comley said she wouldn’t be surprised if the variant made it to Brantford-Brant.

“The province is sequencing every positive test result, so if Omicron is present locally, it will be identified,” she said. “In the absence of key data and vital information, we have to stay calm.

“We can be worried and not panic. “

Comley said the community has dealt with new variants of COVID-19 and that public health measures that help reduce their spread, including vaccines, are already in place.

“We just have to stay the course. “

At the same time, Comley said it is increasingly important to isolate and request assessment and testing if symptoms of COVID appear. Identifying and isolating potential cases is the best way to prevent the spread beyond vaccination, she said.

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