York Region's MOH concerned with grim COVID-19 modelling for area
COVID-19 cases in York Region continue to drop, but the area's top doctor is concerned with recent projections.
According to Dr. Karim Kurji, data shows that COVID-19 cases will likely rise in December, leading to hospitalizations for youth.
"In particular, we are concerned with the zero to 19 age group. We will see 100 cases per day come December, and we are projecting, based on the modelling data, some 44 hospitalizations in that group," said Kurji.
The region's medical officer of health (MOH) added that one in five cases of COVID-19 had been linked to basketball tournaments.
The York Region Health Unit has gone forward with instructing local sports facilities to ensure everyone entering shows proof of vaccination.
"We believe this preventive measure is necessary for us to take, particularity as we've seen outbreaks associated with hockey and basketball," Kurji said.
The health unit is targeting areas where coverage rates are lower with vaccination clinics to increase rates.
According to the MOH, residents between 25 and 29 are falling behind other age groups by more than 10 per cent.
Recently, vaccination clinics have been forced to increase security due to anti-vaccination demonstrations and those opposed to workplace mandates.
"There are sometimes clients who are quite belligerent because they apparently didn't want to get vaccinated, but because of work policies, they have to," Kurji explained. "We certainly will not be tolerating that, so we are taking appropriate measures."
In 2020, Kurji put his retirement plans on hold to take on the COVID-19 pandemic.
He will officially walk away as York Region's medical officer of health in the coming days and said he is proud of what the region has accomplished over the last year and a half.
"I think we've come a long way in terms of the vaccination rates with about 86 per cent of our population having their first vaccines and 82 per cent being fully vaccinated in individuals over the age of 12," Kurji noted.
"We need to continue in the same vein. Physical distancing, making sure we're wearing masks indoors, washing one's hands and above all getting vaccinated, and hopefully, we are at the tail end of the pandemic at the moment."
Kurji said that it's important that the community continues to follow health guidelines to avoid more waves of COVID-19 and prevent additional variants.
"I'm hopeful and optimistic as always," concluded Dr. Kurji.
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