Omicron Wave Update

Huron Perth, ON – The COVID-19 Omicron wave continues to move through Huron Perth, along with the rest of Ontario. The number of new infections, percent positivity of tests, hospitalizations, and outbreaks are declining.  The return to in-person learning on January 17 and the lifting of some restrictions on January 31 and February 17 has so far not led to a significant rebound in new cases. 

Because of these positive trends, the provincial government continues its cautious, planned, lifting of additional public health measures.  However, while public health measures ease and people are able to resume more activities, HPPH reminds everyone that COVID-19 is still circulating in our community at high rates. 

“The actions that have been taken over the past two years to control COVID-19, and most recently the Omicron wave, have been effective at saving lives, slowing virus transmission, preventing more outbreaks from occurring, and maintaining hospital capacity,” says Dr. Miriam Klassen, Medical Officer of Health for Huron Perth.  “We also know that the public health measures have had adverse mental health, social, and economic impacts.  I appreciate the sacrifices that people have made during this very challenging time.”  

“The goal as we move forward will be to reduce disease burden to a level that our healthcare system can manage, with minimal public health measures in place. It is important to remain cautious as we reach for that goal.”

Public Health Measures

The province will lift additional public health measures, such as proof of vaccination requirements for select indoor settings, on March 1. However, several public health measures, such as screening and the use of face coverings, will continue past March 1. Further information can be found at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/public-health-measures.

HPPH also continues to review the Section 22 Orders, Letters of Instruction (LOI) and Letters of Recommendation (LOR) issued during the pandemic. These documents are issued when circumstances in Huron-Perth require HPPH to go beyond provincial direction. Section 22s, LOIs, and LORs are aligned with provincial direction where possible, and rescinded when possible.  Recently, the Letter of Instruction to Places of Worship and the Letter of Recommendation to employers, businesses and organizations have been rescinded; provincial direction remains in place.

All HPPH Section 22s, LOIs and LORs, along with information on if they have been rescinded, are listed at www.hpph.ca/Section22OrdersAndInstructions.

Continued caution

It’s important to continue provincial direction on public health measures such as wearing masks and staying home when sick, as well as measures such as washing hands frequently, and ensuring ventilation of indoor spaces (opening windows). HPPH urges caution for those who are at higher risk of severe outcomes, as well as those who have loved ones at higher risk:

  • Older populations
  • Those with underlying health conditions
  • Those who are unvaccinated

Vaccination is the best defence against COVID-19 and a key part of the longer-term management of the virus.  Individuals who are not vaccinated remain at much higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19.  HPPH urges everyone eligible to get vaccinated as soon as they are able.  On February 18, 2022 Ontario expanded booster dose eligibility to youth aged 12 to 17.

As of February 21, HPPH and partners have administered 292,181 vaccine doses in Huron Perth.  Eighty-four percent of Huron Perth residents aged five and older have received at least one dose of vaccine, and nearly 81% are fully vaccinated with two doses.  In addition, 61% of residents aged 18 and older have received three doses of vaccine. While older adults in Huron Perth have very high vaccination rates, coverage among those under the age of 60 is lower compared to Ontario as a whole.

Vaccination opportunities

For the month of March, HPPH is offering COVID-19 vaccination clinics in many smaller communities across Huron and Perth.  HPPH expects to scale back its vaccination clinics in April and beyond, while ensuring Huron Perth residents are aware of local vaccination opportunities.

All clinics are family-friendly and welcome eligible individuals aged five and over for first, second, and third/booster doses.  The majority of clinics accept both appointments and walk-ins.

To see the latest vaccination opportunities and upcoming clinic dates and locations, visit www.hpph.ca/GetVaccinated

Those eligible can book an appointment through:

  • the provincial booking system online at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine/
  • the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line at 1-833-943-3900 (open 7 days a week, 8 am to 8 pm)
  • the HPPH booking line at 1-833-753-2098 (open Monday-Friday 9 am to 3:30 pm)

If families are having trouble getting to a vaccination site due to lack of transportation or childcare, they can call HPPH at 1-833-753-2098 or email vaccinebookinghelp@hpph.ca.  For questions about the vaccine itself, parents and guardians can call their child’s primary care provider.  In addition, parents can contact the SickKids COVID-19 Vaccine Consult Service to book a confidential phone appointment with a SickKids paediatric Registered Nurse through www.sickkids.ca/vaccineconsult or by calling 1-888-304-6558.

Vaccinations are also available through select local pharmacies and healthcare providers.

 

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