Sarnia-area health unit launches new COVID-19 vaccine call centre

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The Sarnia-area health unit unveiled a new dedicated COVID-19 vaccine call centre Monday.

The system, meant to increase call capacity and provide improved access to information and support, will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Lambton public health said. It includes a virtual waiting room for callers when agents are busy that features pre-recorded messages with important information, the health unit said.

“The new dedicated vaccine call centre will assist residents who are having difficulties booking their COVID-19 vaccination online,” Mike Gorgey, the health unit’s manager of health promotion, said in a statement. “It is expected this improvement will also provide better customer service and improved response times for vaccine-related questions overall.”

The new call centre’s phone number is 226-254-8222, but the health unit is still encouraging people to book their vaccine appointments online at getthevaccine.ca.

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The health unit’s main phone number is still taking calls during business hours for people looking to speak to a staffer about all other COVID-19 topics, including contract tracing, and non-coronavirus services and programs.

As of Friday, residents age 55 and older can register for vaccine appointments. People age 40 and older can also get the AstraZeneca vaccine at five local pharmacies and some doctors’ offices.

More than 47,000 injections – the majority being first doses – have been administered locally, which represents about 40 per cent of the eligible population, the health unit said late last week.

Five new cases were confirmed Monday by the health unit. Of the region’s 3,262 cases since the pandemic began, 3,133 were considered resolved while 73 were still active. A total of 400 have screened positive for a variant of concern.

Thirteen COVID-19-positive patients were in hospital Monday, Bluewater Health reported.

The region’s death toll still stood at 56.

The health unit was also dealing with five active outbreaks, including a new one declared Monday at an unidentified local business. Two other unnamed workplaces were also dealing with outbreaks. They were linked to between three and nine cases.

Twelve Lambton College students have been instructed to self-isolate after an outbreak was declared April 19 inside the Sarnia school’s on-site residence. Another one is at the North Lambton childcare centre in Watford, where a staff member and a child both tested positive April 23.

@ObserverTerry

tbridge@postmedia.com

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