Point Edward, ON – Lambton Public Health (LPH) continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation in our community. As a reminder, COVID-19 is not over and the virus is still present and circulating in our community.
The BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron is now the dominant circulating strain of COVID-19 in Ontario and spreads very easily. This is resulting in an increase in outbreaks in high-risk settings like long-term care, and is starting to have impacts on the number of hospitalizations for COVID-19.
“Our community transmission rates are still quite high,” says Dr. Sudit Ranade, Medical Officer of Health for the County of Lambton. “As we start into a sixth wave of COVID-19, prevention and mitigation strategies depend on all of us taking simple actions to decrease virus transmission. I encourage everyone to make decisions that will best protect themselves and their loved ones; especially with holiday get-togethers coming up.”
Through a combination of high vaccination rates and previous infections, there is higher baseline immunity in our communities. However, the following groups remain at higher risk of severe outcomes (hospitalization or death) from COVID-19:
- People over 70 years of age
- People living in congregate settings for older adults
- People with conditions that may lower their immune system
- People who are unvaccinated
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 more about the provincial rollout and determine if you are eligible for antiviral treatment. You can also contact your health-care provider or Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000.
Stay Home if you are Sick
If you are experiencing symptoms, even if you have tested negative for COVID-19 (one negative PCR test or two negative rapid antigen tests at least 24 hours apart) – stay home. Symptoms include:
- loss of taste or smell
- sore throat
- aches and pains
- a rash on skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes
- red or irritated eyes
Stay home until those symptoms have resolved for 24 hours, or 48 hours for vomiting or diarrhea. Staying home when you are sick prevents spreading illness to those who are most vulnerable. Visit the website: Ontario.ca/exposed to learn more about isolation directions.
At this point we are all well-practiced with the basic actions we can take as individuals to limit the spread and reduce the risk of COVID-19 among our friends and family. If you choose to get together this weekend, remember to:
- Not attend if you are symptomatic
- Change plans if the host is symptomatic
- Practice good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
- Gather in well ventilated spaces or move it outdoors
- Practice physical distancing
- Wear a mask when required or around vulnerable family members
The basic actions will continue to be relevant to each of us as we continue to learn to adjust to living with and managing COVID-19 as part of our every day lives.
Vaccination continues to be the best defense against severe COVID-19 illness, hospitalization, ICU admission, and death. It is important to stay up-to-date with your COVID-19 vaccinations by receiving all recommended doses.
As of April 7, 2022, individuals aged 60 and older are eligible for a fourth dose (booster) of COVID-19 vaccine if at least five months (140 days) have passed since their last dose.
Visit GetTheVaccine.ca for more information and booking options. COVID-19 vaccinations are also still available through select pharmacies and primary care providers. If you need assistance with booking, call our Vaccine Call Centre at 226-254-8222.
It is important that we continue to be mindful that members of this community may be at higher risk for serious outcomes. Thank you for your ongoing support as we all learn to adjust to the changes around us.