Mercer urges residents to get vaccinated, stay the course ‘for just a little longer’

'We are moving closer – at last – to returning to normal': medical officer of health

WELLINGTON COUNTY – The region’s top doctor has issued a statement urging local residents to get vaccinated and continue to take precautions a little longer in order to have a more normal summer and fall.

Dr. Nicola Mercer, medical officer of health with Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, issued a letter to the community on May 21 in response to the province’s reopening plan announced on May 20.

The full text of Mercer’s statement is included below.

“During the long and difficult road since last March, you have heard me say many times that this pandemic will end. We are now seeing signs every single day that we are moving closer – at last –to returning to normal.

“As I look at our region, I see cause for great optimism as case numbers trend downward while vaccination numbers keep growing.

“But we have not reached the finish line. Because of the nature of this pandemic, it takes around two weeks to both see positive cases after people are infected and for our bodies to use the vaccines to build protective immunity against COVID-19.

“That means that the impact of what happens today won’t really be seen until early June.

“Today, our reproduction number is under 1 (an indicator of how much disease is being spread in the community), and our moving case rate is now just above 60 cases/100,000 (the number of people each week getting sick) – about a third of what it was in early April. This is great progress. Thank you for everything you’ve done to follow public health guidance.

“When we reopen, please continue to follow the same measures we have since the beginning. I know you are tired; tired of wearing a mask, not seeing your loved ones or going to the places that are important to you. I am too. We are very close.

“As guidelines on reopening are announced, most of them have one thing in common: the percentage of people in our community that have had one or both of their COVID vaccines.

“When we get enough people in our community vaccinated, then a summer of seeing friends and family in outdoor settings followed by a very normal fall (with some lingering measures) is within our grasp.

“Based on the Province’s Roadmap to Reopen, our analysis of the progress of the local vaccine program supports the staged reopening of our region, beginning with Step 1 (tentatively set by the Province for the week of June 14, 2021) and proceeding through the other two steps at 21-day intervals if our progress remains strong.

“Getting everyone vaccinated is the best way we can start to reduce restrictions and resume many of the activities we are missing.

“If you have not yet booked a vaccination appointment, I encourage you to do so as soon as possible. If you have, thank you.

“Please continue to be a part of the vaccination effort by encouraging your friends, families, neighbours and co-workers to do the same. Follow the vaccine tracker on our website as we move as a community to ending the pandemic locally.

“Thank you for staying the course for just a little longer.”