Serving Dorchester, Belmont, Thorndale, Thamesford, Putnam, Crampton, Avon, Harrietsville, Mossley and surrounding area
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GAME ON: Maverick Buckholz holds a couple of soccer balls in the backyard of his Dorchester home. He’s looking forward to playing in a league for children three and under that his mother Katrina is hoping to organize.


Dorchester Shoppers Drug

Mart to administer vaccines,

schools go virtual after break

by Wendy Spence
THE SIGNPOST

        The local Shoppers Drug Mart is included in the expansion of pharmacy locations where the COVID-19 vaccine will be available. It was announced on Monday that vaccination appointments at clinic locations are now available for those 60 and older this year. Also on Monday, the Ontario government announced that students would return to online learning following the spring break.
        As of press time on Tuesday morning, Dorchester Shoppers Drug Mart owner/pharmacist Stephen Molnar didn’t yet have confirmation of when the vaccine would be available, but he is of the understanding that it will be soon. Those 55 years of age this year and older can get the AstraZeneca vaccine at the Dorchester Road pharmacy.
        “I think it’s fantastic. We’ve been hoping for it for a while.” Molnar said supply has been the determining factor. “It’s great that they’ve opened it up to a larger number of pharmacies. I’m glad we’ve been selected. The quicker we can get this the better it is for everybody.” He suggests that residents visit the website – shoppersdrugmart.ca – to register to be contacted when you can book your COVID-19 vaccination appointment.
        On Monday, vaccine eligibility at local clinics was expanded to those 60 years of age and older this year who live in the Middlesex-London Health Unit and Southwestern Public Health regions.
        “We continue to try to expand eligibility to additional age groups, as we continue to ensure that the vaccine we have on hand is put into arms as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Alex Summers, associate medical officer of health at the Middlesex-London Health Unit, in a media release on Monday. “In addition to opening the booking system to those born in 1961 or earlier, we will also be booking vaccine appointments within a four-week window tomorrow (April 13), so we expect there will be many appointments available.” Visit: covidvaccinelm.ca or call 226-289-3560.
        A number of other groups of individuals are now eligible to receive a vaccine, including: residents, primary essential caregivers and staff of high-risk congregate living settings; individuals 16 years of age and older with certain high-risk health conditions; faith leaders who as part of their regular role are at increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 through close contact with persons and families in specific circumstances; and frontline workers. Visit healthunit.com/covid-19-vaccine-eligibility#eligiblility for details.
        The Ontario government announced a delay in the return to in-school learning after the spring break to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. All elementary and secondary students who attended classes in-school prior to the spring break will shift to full remote learning starting Monday, April 19, according to a Thames Valley District School Board media release. The government did not indicate when schools would reopen but said they would be carefully monitoring the spread of COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks. There is no change for students already engaged in full remote learning.
        “While in-person learning is the preferred option for our students, it is important that we follow the advice of public health experts to keep our students and communities safe from COVID-19,” said Mark Fisher, director of education for the Thames Valley District School Board. “Thames Valley remains committed to providing high-quality full remote learning for all of our students. We thank our students, families, and staff for their continued patience and co-operation during these challenging times.”
        In-person learning will continue for students with complex special education needs who cannot be supported with full remote learning.
        The provincewide stay-at-home order went into effect last Thursday, April 8 and will continue for a minimum of 28 days. According to the Ontario government, this means you must stay at home unless you have to go out for necessities at the grocery store or pharmacy, health care services, outdoor exercise or walking pets in your community, work that cannot be done remotely, child care or school. Residents are not to travel outside their region or the province unless absolutely necessary.
        According to the provincial government, this will help save lives, prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed, protect in-person learning and keep children in schools, allow for more time to vaccinate Ontarians and stop the spread of COVID-19 in communities.
        Individuals are not allowed to gather indoors with anyone they don't live with and are to limit close contact to only members of their household. Those who live alone can have close contact with one other household. Outdoor social gatherings are limited to five people. You must stay at least two metres apart from everyone else and wear a mask or face covering during permitted events or social gatherings.
        For more information, visit healthunit.com.

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