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York Region ahead of GTA neighbours in flattening COVID-19 curve, top doc says

Joseph Quigley
June 14, 2021

York Region’s COVID-19 pandemic trends are continuing to improve  -- and well ahead of some neighbouring regions, according to medical officer of health Dr. Karim Kurji.

The situation remains encouraging, with York’s weekly case incidence rate well below Peel, Toronto and Durham regions as of last week, Kurji said in his weekly update to York Region council this morning, June 10.

“Tremendous progress has been made by all the health units,” he added.

As of June 6, York’s incidence rate is 27.3 per 100,000 population, according to Public Health Ontario. In comparison, Durham is at 40.6, Toronto is at 36.7 and Peel is at 56.5.

York's incidence rate peaked at 283 on April 18, after surpassing Toronto's incidence rate for several days before beginning its steady decline.

Kurji credits the region's early rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations and its hotspot strategy two weeks prior to the other regions.

In York Region, more than 75 per cent of adults have their first dose and about 13 per cent of residents are fully vaccinated as of June 9.

He said it puts the region ahead of pace for provincial vaccination targets to reopen further. Step three of the provincial reopening plan, due in late July, requires 70 to 80 per cent of adults across the province to be vaccinated and 25 per cent to have a second dose.

Meanwhile, Newmarket has had no new cases since June 8 and has 12 active cases as of June 9.

However, Kurji noted the region is still seeing about 10 to 15 COVID-19-related deaths per week, mostly occurring in unvaccinated individuals.

He said health officials hope to help address death and hospitalizations by doing more walk-in clinics for first doses that will not require an appointment, to improve accessibility.

“Not being vaccinated does pose a lot of risks,” Kurji said.