Multiple viruses circulating in Huron Perth

Huron Perth, ON – Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) is aware of several infectious viruses circulating locally; in addition, a sixth wave of COVID-19 is underway. Please take action to protect yourself and your loved ones from these illnesses.

The following respiratory viruses are circulating in Huron Perth:

  • Influenza A
  • Adenovirus
  • Human metapneumovirus
  • Enterovirus/rhinovirus
  • Parainfluenza

Symptoms may include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose and/or muscle aches. While anyone can contract these viruses, they are most common in young children, older adults, and those with weakened immune systems. There have also been cases of hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) in young children, and an increase in Norovirus activity in Huron Perth, with Norovirus outbreaks in childcare and long-term care. Noroviruses are a group of viruses that cause gastroenteritis in people, an illness that usually includes diarrhea and/or vomiting. The illness is easily spread in group settings where people are in close contact, like schools, hospitals, childcare facilities, and nursing homes.

“Many of the public health measures that have been in place over the past two years, such as masking, physical distancing, frequent cleaning and disinfecting, and limiting close contacts helped to prevent not only COVID, but also other viruses from spreading,” says Dr. Miriam Klassen, Medical Officer of Health for Huron Perth.  “With most measures lifted and people having more contact with others, it is not surprising that we are seeing the return of other viruses. If you are sick, please stay home to avoid spreading illness to others.”

Stay home when ill and get vaccinated against COVID, flu if eligible

HPPH reminds people that if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive for the virus, they are required to isolate.  If you think you may have COVID-19, or were exposed to the virus, visit Ontario.ca/exposed to learn what to do.  You can also call the toll-free Provincial Testing and Isolation Information Line at 1-888-777-0730 for answers about COVID-19 testing and isolation guidance.

Know your risk and your options for early treatment, if eligible. While not a replacement for vaccination, treatment options for COVID-19 are available and can protect against severe outcomes for certain highest risk individuals who are identified early. Learn if you are eligible at: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/covid-19-antiviral-treatment. You can also contact your health care provider or Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000.

If you have tested negative for COVID-19 (one negative PCR test or two negative rapid antigen tests at least 24 hours apart) but are experiencing symptoms of illness, stay home until those symptoms have resolved for 24 hours, or 48 hours for vomiting and diarrhea.  It is very important to avoid visiting a higher risk setting such as a long-term care or retirement home where people are more vulnerable to severe illness.

Vaccination against COVID-19 and influenza continue to be the best defense against severe outcomes of those illnesses.  It is not too late to get a flu shot.  Contact your local pharmacy or primary care provider.  In addition, COVID-19 vaccinations are still available through HPPH clinics, select pharmacies, and primary care providers. Visit www.hpph.ca/GetVaccinated for more information.

Wear face coverings

With a sixth wave of COVID-19 beginning, Dr. Klassen strongly recommends wearing a mask in indoor settings.  Currently, provincial requirements for face coverings remain in place for several settings, including:

  • public transit
  • long-term care, retirement homes
  • other health care settings, including clinics that provide health care services
  • shelters, jails and congregate care and living settings, including homes for individuals with developmental disabilities.

Also, some people are required to wear masks for a limited amount of time if they have been exposed to a case of COVID-19 or if they have travelled internationally.

“Although many of us wish otherwise, COVID-19 continues to circulate and risk remains as we navigate this transitional period,” says Dr. Klassen. “Remaining mask-friendly is important; face coverings are a safe, effective tool to limit the spread of COVID-19.”

Actions to prevent illness-causing germs

HPPH encourages everyone to practice the following habits for preventing the spread of illness-causing germs:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use alcohol-based hand rub. Handwashing is especially important:
    • After using a tissue
    • Before and after preparing or handling food
    • After using the washroom
    • After changing diapers or toileting a child
  • Avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact, such as kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils, with people who are sick.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or shirt sleeve, not your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys, doorknobs, light switches and cell phones, especially if someone is sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick and keep sick children out of school and childcare.

 

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