445 staff with the Lake of the Woods District Hospital have received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, as Ontario’s vaccine roll-out continues to target front-line healthcare workers.

During an update with regional media on Friday, President and CEO Ray Racette says the vast majority of his staff, especially those who interact with patients, have received the vaccine.

“In most cases, they’ve received their first dose. We still have 90 more staff to vaccinate in our moderate-risk group. That’s the final group for our hospital. The groups that we’ve vaccinated have all been highest, very high or high-priority. All the [staff] that will have contact directly with patients, that whole group has been vaccinated.”

Racette notes many staff who work casually can receive their vaccination either through the hospital or through the community’s mass vaccination sites, and the hospital is following Ontario’s recommendation to delay the second dose until four months after the first, to offer more vaccines to those in need.

Racette adds administration staff like himself haven’t been vaccinated yet as leaders wanted to protect frontline staff before themselves but he expects more vaccines to arrive soon.

“We believe the supply of the vaccine is getting better,” adds Racette, noting it was a frustrating situation in mid-February when staff were prepared to administer the vaccine but were still awaiting shipments to arrive.

“We still know there are still questions about potential delays, but in terms of us getting the vaccine, it’s going to be more predictable. We’ll have a more stable supply in April and May. That appears to be what’s going to happen.”

As of March 26, the Northwestern Health Unit has administered 7,570 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine across their catchment area. Females between the ages of 16 and 59 are the most-protected demographic in our area, with 2,779 doses administered.

Those born in or before 1946, health care providers (if not vaccinated in their workplace), Indigenous adults, including Metis individuals, and adult home care recipients are currently able to book their first COVID-19 vaccination appointment.

Currently, populations that are eligible for a vaccine, but not aged 75-year-old and older, must complete the Northwestern Health Unit's survey. The information is sent to the Ministry of Health, daily, and those eligible will receive further information about booking appointments.

Additionally, First Nations and Metis people are able to book their appointments through their local Indigenous health care provider or health access centre.

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms is asked to self-isolate, get tested and remain in isolation until your test results are known.

For more information:
Outbreak declared over at the Lake of the Woods District Hospital
COVID-19 vaccination slots still available