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COVID-19 vaccine eligibility expands in Ontario; London moved to Red-Control

Monday, March 29, 2021 @ 4:10 PM | By John Schofield

Ontario has expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to other parts of the province and is tightening COVID-19 public health restrictions in London, moving the province’s fifth largest population centre to the Red-Control level effective March 30 at 12:01 a.m.

In a March 28 news release, the government announced that people age 70 and over in an additional 10 public health regions may now book their vaccination through the provincial online system and call centre or their local alternative. Those areas are City of Hamilton Public Health Services, Grey Bruce Health Unit, Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health, Lambton Public Health, Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit, Niagara Region Public Health, Ottawa Public Health, Peel Public Health, Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit, Timiskaming Health Unit and York Region Public Health.

The Middlesex-London Health Unit was previously at Orange-Restrict under the province’s colour-coded pandemic response framework, but the region’s COVID-19 case rate increased by 86 per cent from March 22 to 28 to 64.4 cases per 100,000 people, according to a March 29 government news release. The public health region is also reporting an increase in the incidence of variants of concern.

The tighter restrictions in Middlesex-London are being imposed at the request of local medical officer of health Dr. Chris Mackie, according to the news release.

“Based on the current situation in the Middlesex-London area, it was decided that stronger public health measures were urgently needed to help ensure the continued health and safety of people in the region,” Ontario’s chief medical officer of health Dr. David Williams said in the release. “As we continue to see some alarming trends in health indicators across the province all Ontarians are urged to remain vigilant and follow all public health and workplace safety measures to minimize further transmission.”

Ontario on March 29 reported 2,094 new cases of COVID-19 and an additional 10 deaths. The case count decreased from the previous two days but was up from 1,699 the previous Monday. In a concerning trend, the province’s COVID-19 positivity rate surpassed six per cent for the first time since January.

Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) on March 29 recommended a pause in administering the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine to those under the age of 55 following reports of rare blood clots in some immunized patients.

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