The community responded to Grey Bruce's top doctor's critical threshold alarm and maintained complete control over the pandemic locally. That community-wide response to support the Grey Bruce Health Unit (GBHU) at the cusp of a critical threshold in COVID-19 cases was vital in containing any further surge in Grey Bruce.
Acknowledging the severe nature of the situation, the community responding by embracing public health's direction to stay-at-home. Many organizations and businesses went further by voluntarily shutting their doors for the critical 48-hour period.
According to Grey Bruce Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Ian Arra, over the past five days, the GBHU's efforts to redeploy staff and revise case management strategies effectively increased the capacity to manage the current case and contact volumes. This success would not have been possible without:
The redeployment of health unit staff to case management assisted in limiting any additional potential transmission. Contact tracing and case management identified and directed at-risk individuals to isolate and get tested, as required. Once in isolation, the risk of transmission is significantly reduced. A Class Order from the Medical Officer of Health helped ensure cases and at-risk contacts would comply with any direction provided by public health case managers.
A lingering number of cases from the earlier outbreak may still emerge due to the incubation period of the virus. All these cases are identified and under health unit case and contact management. As such, the risk to the community is mitigated.
The redistribution of staff also triggered the need to activate the GBHU vaccination contingency plan. A planned single large clinic of over 1,000 doses, but no appointments booked, for Saturday, April 17, was deferred. These doses of vaccines were redistributed to congregate settings (shelters and community living) across Grey and Bruce. Dedicated mobile teams provided the vaccine to 42 sites by April 20.
The GBHU Helpline will re-open shortly. The GBHU reminds everyone to visit their website first, as the answers to most inquiries can be found on the COVID-19 information page. We ask the public to be respectful so we could serve you best.
Core programs of public health remained open and functioning, on a limited basis, the entire time.
"Public health did what we had to do. The community did what they had to do. And together, we were able to contain this potentially dangerous surge in COVID-19 cases." says Grey Bruce's Top Doctor, Dr. Ian Arra. "It is crucial for all of us to stay the course with the 3Ws, wash your hands, watch your distance and wear a mask over the coming weeks until the vaccine rollout is complete this summer."
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