By Sue Tiffin
Members of the public can now connect directly with the health unit’s acting medical officer of health and have questions related to COVID-19 and the ongoing pandemic answered in ‘Talk with the Doc’ virtual sessions, the first of which was held Feb. 16 with more than 150 people registered to attend, and the next which is scheduled to happen March 2.
“Our very strong feeling is that the more information we can get out, the better off we all are,” said Dr. Ian Gemmill during the first Talk with the Doc session. Gemmill is acting as interim medical officer of health for the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District health unit for the next few weeks, when Dr. Natalie Bocking takes on the MOH position, replacing Dr. Lynn Noseworthy after her retirement.
At that meeting, participants asked questions about when they might be able to sign up for vaccinations, inquiries about the variants of concern and clarification about local public health guidelines, including travelling and snowmobiling.
Gemmill reiterated the message he has been sharing in weekly press conferences and that has regularly been reported in the Echo, to follow public health guidelines that include wearing a mask and staying physically distanced from others, and said he was “pleading” with the public to – despite the lifting of stay-at-home orders – continue avoiding gatherings, travelling and non-essential outings including birthday parties and hockey games until more of the population is vaccinated, citing concern about the highly transmissible COVID-19 variants of concern.
The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge district health unit has now reported more than 1,000 cases of COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic last year, and within that number, more than 50 deaths, primarily because of outbreaks.
The first Talk with the Doc meeting held Feb. 16 is available for viewing in full at the HKPRDHU YouTube channel, or on the Haliburton Echo digital version of this story at haliburtonecho.ca.
A second ‘Talk with the Doc’ virtual meeting will be held March 2 from 1 to 2 p.m., and later uploaded to the health unit’s YouTube channel. To register for that session, visit hkpr.on.ca. Space is limited and available on a first come, first serve basis.