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Durham’s first long-term care resident receives COVID-19 vaccine

Dorothy Nancarrow, a resident at Orchard Villa, was the first resident to receive the vaccine in Durham Region. (Photo courtesy Lakeridge Health)

By Courtney Bachar/The Oshawa Express/LJI Reporter

Residents in Durham are beginning to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and it’s starting with seniors in long-term care and retirement homes.

On Jan. 7, Lakeridge Health administered the first vaccines to long-term care and retirement home residents living in Orchard Villa in Pickering, one of the hardest-hit homes in Durham.

Dorothy Nancarrow, who has lived in Orchard Villa for the last three years, was the first resident to receive the vaccine.

“I feel grateful to receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” says Nancarrow. “I know it will help my family and myself stay safe.”

Lakeridge Health is one of 19 Ontario hospitals providing COVID-19 vaccines as part of Phase One of the province’s three-phase vaccine implementation plan.

Lakeridge Health President and CEO Cynthia Davis says the collaboration between the provincial and regional health partners in coordinating and delivering the vaccine has “enabled Lakeridge Health to make good progress in distributing the vaccine to priority populations in Durham.

“We are particularly pleased to offer residents of Orchard Villa vaccines, given the extensive support our teams have provided to this home over the past several months.”

Another pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic was set up at Sunnycrest Nursing Home on Friday.

“Administering the first vaccines to our loved ones, and those who care for them, is the beginning of the light at the end of the tunnel we’ve all been waiting for,” says Whitby MPP Lorne Coe. “These vaccinations represent hope, and as we continue to quickly rollout the first phase of Ontario’s vaccine distribution, we look forward to receiving more doses from the federal government.”

In a recent press conference, Ontario Premier Doug Ford noted Phase One of the vaccine plan is “well underway.”

“Every single day we’re getting more and more needles into people’s arms and protecting more and more of our frontline health care workers, long term care residents and most vulnerable,” he says. However, Ford says there’s still a long way to go before enough vaccines arrive for everyone.

“Until then, the best and only defence against this terrible enemy are the public health measures,” says Ford. “Day after day we hit new records and cases as hospital capacity is stretched to new limits, but we have to do everything we can right now to save lives.”

Despite being in a province-wide lockdown, COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the province, with cases continuing to enter into long-term care and retirement homes at rapid rates.

There are currently 25 ongoing institutional outbreaks in Durham Region, including six in Oshawa – Carriage House Bayshore TCU, Extendicare Oshawa LTCH, Hillsdale Estates, Hillsdale Terraces, ThorntonView LTCH, and The Wynfield LTCH,

In Durham, there are 999 active COVID-19 cases, 162 of which are in Oshawa.

There are 957 people in home isolation, and 42 people are in hospital, 14 of which are in the ICU.