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Provincial data shows over 40 per cent of us are not getting routine checkups

'Don't delay access in care.' says a local doctor
Photo: Health care workers on the job in a hospital/Shutterstock

As the region and province continue to administer the COVID-19 vaccines, a local physician spoke about data indicating a decline in patients getting their routine checkups are done and a significant backlog in cancer screening.

"According to Ontario study ... Ontario Screening program delivered 951,000 or about 41 per cent fewer tests in 2020 than in 2019." said Dr. Sharon Bal, who is based in Cambridge. "Volumes for most programs remain 20 per cent below historical levels by the end of 2020 and into 2021."

She reinforces that residents in Waterloo Region should come back for their routine checkups.

"This includes fit testing for rectal cancer, mammograms for breast cancers, and pap smears for cervical cancer."

The importance of getting regular checkups is to prevent complications and escalation from illnesses. It also reduces the pressure in the emergency department. As COVID rates have stabilized, communities setting such as primary care and specialist care offices are open.

"So please do not delay access in care." she said.

According to the ICES COVID dashboard, as of October 3, only 60 per cent of Ontario woman who are pregnant are fully vaccinated compared to 81 per cent of the general eligible population. 

Pregnant women are at higher risks for severe illness and reverse outcomes from COVID.

"The National Advisory Committee on Immunization and The Society of OBGYN of Canada recommend pregnant and breastfeeding people should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine at any time - if they are eligible," said Dr. Bal.

Those who are pregnant, or breastfeeding are encouraged to speak with their health care providers about ensuring access to the vaccine.

They can access the region's 'vaccination at home' service, which means they don't need to go elsewhere to receive the vaccine.

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