The Gleaner
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Haut-Saint-Laurent vaccination rate lowest in Montérégie; UK variant behind OES outbreak

Fewer people are being vaccinated in the Haut-Saint-Laurent than in all other MRCs in the Montérégie.
According to the Direction de santé publique de la Montérégie, the vaccination rate for a first dose of one of three available vaccines in the Haut-Saint-Laurent local health network (LHN) as of May 5 was 35.5 per cent, while the regional average over 38 per cent. The Suroît LHN has vaccinated over 45 per cent of its population, while both the Jardins-Roussillon and Vaudreuil-Soulanges LHNs have seen rates above 36.5 per cent.

Over 535 000 individuals in the Montérégie have now received their first dose of a vaccine. Appointments can be booked for those aged 35 and over as of now, and it is anticipated that all Quebecers over the age of 18 who would like to be vaccinated will be able to reserve a date for their first shot as of May 14.

Appointments are available nearby at the Ormstown Vaccination Centre at the Recreation Centre, in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Vaudreuil-Dorion, Mercier, and Chateauguay. The AstraZeneca vaccine is also available to those over the age of 45 at participating pharmacies in Hemmingford and Vaudreuil-Dorion. Appointments can be booked online at clicsante.ca.

Outbreak at Ormstown Elementary

An outbreak first identified at Ormstown Elementary School (OES) early last week has been identified as stemming from the B.1.1.7 variant, which first emerged in the United Kingdom. In an email sent to OES families on May 7, principal Joanne Henrico confirmed the presence of the variant, noting this is the reason transmission occurred so quickly. At least five students and two staff members tested positive for COVID-19. The kindergarten class and two daycare bubbles were closed in an attempt to contain the virus quickly.

Henrico also informed parents the school had been informed that some fabric masks are less able to protect against the spread of this variant. As a result, OES will be providing all pre-school students (K4 and K5) with child-size procedural masks as of May 10.

It should not come as a surprise that the outbreak at OES was the result of a variant. Presently in the Montérégie, there is a 79 per cent positivity rate for variants, and of those positive results, around 86 per cent are identified as the UK variant. The province is also tracking the presence of variants having originated in South Africa, Brazil, and Nigeria.

There are currently 131 outbreaks in the Montérégie, including 48 in schools, 46 in work environments, 27 in early childcare centres and home daycares, and 9 in health institutions or long-term care residences. In the past two weeks, cases have been identified in 9 area schools, including Arthur-Pigeon High School in Huntingdon, the École Jeunes Riverains in Saint-Anicet, École Notre-Dame-de-Rosaire in Ormstown, the NOVA Career Centre, Howard S. Billings High School and Centennial Park Elementary in Chateauguay, the Huntingdon Career Education and Community Centre, Ormstown Elementary School, and Hemmingford Elementary School.

The Haut-Saint-Laurent continues to have the highest rate of infection in the Montérégie; however, numbers of positive cases are on the decline. Currently, there are 25 active cases in the Haut-Saint-Laurent local health network (LHN). There are 22 cases in the Suroît LHN, 130 in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges LHN and 238 in the Jardins Roussillon LHN.

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