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Ahead of Thanksgiving weekend, Vaughan mayor says unvaccinated people ‘prolonging the pandemic’

ICU admissions at Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital 'some of the highest in the province’
Oct. 8, 2021
Dina Al-Shibeeb

On Thursday, Oct. 7, 4:30 p.m., Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua issued a statement urging citizens to “remain vigilant” ahead of the Thanksgiving long weekend.

“While we are making tremendous progress in our fight against COVID-19, now is not the time to let our guard down,” Bevilacqua said amid rising COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations across York Region.

“Unvaccinated individuals are prolonging the pandemic and are the driving force behind the increase in cases and hospitalizations,” he added.

The mayor cited a Sep. 28 letter by York Region’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Karim Kurji, which issued a slew of instructions. The directives include those who are aged 12 years and older, and entering an indoor municipal recreation facility, where organized sports are played or practiced, must provide identification and proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or a valid medical exemption.

The City of Vaughan won’t deny entry to those who aren’t vaccinated for the month of October, but instead choose to educate.

“This directive has been in place for nearly a week, and the City of Vaughan will continue to support communication, education and compliance efforts to help reduce the spread of COVID-19,” the mayor said.

He also described how admissions to the ICU and general medicine units at Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital have “some of the highest volumes of COVID-19 patients in the province, and the majority of the individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 are not fully vaccinated,” the mayor explained.

“Vaccines are the most effective protection against serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.”

So far, more than 85 per cent of eligible York Region residents aged 12 and older have received their first COVID-19 vaccine, and more than 80 per cent have their two jabs.

“Thanksgiving is an opportunity to reflect on what matters most,” he said. “This weekend, I urge everyone to make responsible decisions that will keep you and your family safe. Please accept my best wishes for a safe, healthy, and relaxing Thanksgiving holiday.”