Mayor perplexed why London not declared COVID-19 'hotspot' for faster vaccination
LONDON, ONT. -- As case counts approach record highs in the region, Mayor Ed Holder is questioning why London was left off the province’s list of COVID-19 hotspots.
On Tuesday, the provincial government released a list of postal codes with the highest transmission rates that will receive prioritized vaccination, including mobile clinics and vaccine available for people age 18 and over.
No postal codes in London were included in the program.
The closest postal codes are in Aylmer (N5H) and Kitchener (N2C).
“I feel somewhat perplexed why London is not been designated as a hotspot by the province,” Holder stated during Thursday’s media briefing.
Rising daily case counts are ratcheting up the need to get vaccine into arms.
“We are seeing case counts virtually as high as we have ever seen, very close to the peaks in wave two and accelerating upwards quickly,” warned Middlesex-London Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie.
According to Mackie, the high-risk postal codes were chosen solely by the provincial government.
“There isn’t that input from the local public health,” he explains. “The province is making decisions based on data. We are investigating if there is that room for input.”
But his input wouldn’t change London’s designation -- yet.
Mackie referred to a graph plotting COVID-19 infection rates in hotspot neighbourhoods of Toronto and Peel. They are still higher than London and Middlesex County.
“I'm comfortable not being considered a hotspot, recognizing that there are other spots that are hotter,” he adds.
Holder sees it differently, “I will add, Hamilton is deemed a hotspot and their numbers are comparable to ours. And with our current trend I'm terribly concerned.”
The mayor intends to speak to Premier Doug Ford soon about whether any postal codes in London merit hotspot status.