With fewer measures in place, managing COVID is important

Huron Perth, ON – Almost two weeks after the lifting of many public health measures, some COVID activity indicators are rising; Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) reminds residents to follow measures still in place and to make informed decisions on managing COVID.

Some activity indicators, such as wastewater signals, have plateaued or increased recently.  In the last few days, there has been a re-increase in percent positivity, hospitalizations and ICU admissions after several weeks of plateau or decline. 

“This was expected after the lifting of public health measures and we continue to monitor the situation,” says Dr. Miriam Klassen, Medical Officer of Health for Huron Perth.  “Since transmission rates are still quite high, I encourage everyone to make decisions that will best protect themselves and their loved ones; remember that some public health measures remain as well.”

Although there is widespread immunity against severe infection – through a combination of high vaccination rates and previous infections – the following groups remain at higher risk of severe outcomes (long COVID, hospitalization or death) from COVID-19.

  • People of advanced age
  • People living in congregate settings
  • People with underlying health conditions
  • People who are unvaccinated
  • People who are marginalized

While not a replacement for vaccination, antiviral treatment for COVID-19 is available and can protect against severe outcomes for certain highest risk individuals who are identified early.

Learn if you are eligible to receive COVID-19 antiviral treatment and where to get it 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.

Individuals can lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission by continuing to:

  • Wash hands often or use alcohol-based hand rub
  • Use high quality masks when necessary to protect vulnerable people or yourself
  • Limit the number of close contacts indoors
  • Stay home when sick or symptomatic

Have symptoms? Tested positive? How to isolate:

Individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19 or who test positive for the virus must still 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 for answers about COVID-19 testing and isolation guidance. The line can be reached at 1-888-777-0730, and is available from 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday to Sunday.

Masks

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 will be 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.

Finally, some individuals are choosing to wear masks due to their personal or loved ones’ risk factors.  Please remain patient and kind, and respect that people’s comfort levels may vary during this time of transition away from public health measures.  Wearing a well-fitted mask in public spaces will continue to lower your risk and lower the risk for those around you and in your household, and is especially important when rates of community transmission are high.

Vaccination eligibility

Vaccination continues to be our best defense against COVID-19.  HPPH strongly encourages everyone eligible, including those who have previously had COVID-19, to get the doses recommended for them including boosters. Visit www.hpph.ca/getvaccinated to learn more.

HPPH is also seeing people who are requesting a fourth dose but are not eligible. More information on current fourth dose eligibility can be found at www.hpph.ca/getvaccinated.

April vaccination opportunities

HPPH will continue to offer vaccination clinics in several locations throughout April.  Some clinics are walk-in while others are appointment only. All clinics are family-friendly. Dates and locations are posted at www.hpph.ca/GetVaccinated.   Vaccines are also still available through pharmacies and primary care providers.

HPPH will soon be receiving a limited supply of Novavax Nuvaxovid, the recently approved protein-based COVID-19 vaccine. Individuals who are eligible and interested in receiving this vaccine can call COVID Intake at 1-888-221-2133 ext 3299 to be placed on a wait list.  Appointments will be booked once supply is confirmed.

 

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