Special COVID-19 Statements

Our COVID-19 indicators are beginning to trend upward as we experience another resurgence of the virus driven by the BA-4 and new BA-5 variants. Locally, we are seeing an uptick in the number of COVID-19 active cases and hospitalizations.

The BA-5 variant is becoming the new dominant variant of concern provincially. Similarly, to previous Omicron variants, BA-5 is easily transmissible and has the potential to impact even those who have previously been infected with COVID-19 in prior waves.

As we see a change in our local COVID-19 community levels, it is important that we begin to reassess our use of protective measures against the virus. This means we may need to adjust how we go about our daily activities to protect ourselves and others from the virus.

With an increase in COVID-19 activity within the community, I recommend that residents reintroduce the use of masking into their routines when visiting indoor public spaces. When attending outdoor public events, consider bringing a mask with you in the event of crowding or if there is not enough space to distance safely.

I also strongly encourage all eligible individuals who have yet to receive their third dose COVID-19 vaccine booster, and those who are 60 years-of-age or older who haven’t received a fourth dose booster to do so as soon as possible. It is still very important you get your booster, and it is not too late. Vaccination remains an effective protective tool to prevent serious illness and death. BCHU continues to operate walk-in vaccination clinics within Brant. Vaccine eligibility, appointment information and walk-in clinic schedules can be found by visiting our website.

Let’s continue to work together and use all available preventative tools to protect ourselves and our community.

The Health Unit continues to closely monitor the presence of COVID-19 in our community.  Our local indicators are beginning to demonstrate that we are slowly progressing out of the sixth wave. Over the past week, we have experienced a gradual decrease in the number of confirmed positive cases, active cases, and hospitalizations. Although this downward trend is encouraging to see, we must remember that we are not done with COVID-19 yet.

Getting a first, second, or booster COVID-19 vaccine helps to increase personal protection against severe outcomes and symptomatic infection, and also helps to reduce transmission of COVID-19 within the community. I encourage everyone to remain up to date with their COVID-19 immunizations, even if they have experienced a previous COVID-19 infection.

We maintain our vaccination efforts as clinics continue to operate around the community. Please visit our website to review vaccine eligibility criteria, make an appointment or review our weekly walk-in clinic schedule. The Province of Ontario has released additional information on staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations.  In addition to vaccination there are other protective layers we can continue to implement; this includes continuing to wear a mask in indoor settings, or in crowded spaces and staying home when ill.

After two long years of making difficult sacrifices, it is important that we focus on supporting personal wellness. As we begin to see warmer days in the forecast, this is a perfect opportunity to open windows and take social gatherings outside; this will help to ensure that we are able to resume the activities we enjoy and reconnect with those we love safely. I encourage residents to take advantage of the wonderful spring weather we are experiencing.

Let’s continue to work together to keep each other healthy!

As we approach the holiday long weekend, many families are looking forward to gathering for dinners and celebrations. If you are organizing or attending a get together, I urge you to include COVID-19 considerations as part of the planning process. If hosting a gathering, think about ways to minimize COVID-19 transmission; consider hosting a smaller gathering, wearing a mask, opening windows to increase airflow, or opt to host the event outdoors if the weather permits. If you are planning to attend a celebration, stay home if you are feeling sick – even with mild symptoms.

As several weeks have passed since the lifting of various provincial restrictions, we are experiencing a rise in the presence of COVID-19 within Brant. This sixth wave has caused an increase in positive cases, outbreaks, hospitalizations and has presented staffing challenges across all sectors, particularly in healthcare.

Last week, individuals 60 years-of-age and older became eligible to receive a fourth dose booster. It has been wonderful to see so many residents rolling up their sleeves to receive a booster dose. I encourage everyone to get all vaccination doses they are eligible for. Vaccine eligibility and appointment information can be found on our website.

The Province of Ontario also expanded eligibility for PCR testing and COVID-19 antiviral treatment. It is encouraging to see that we have these new tools in our toolkit to decrease the risk of severe infection. Antiviral medications are time-sensitive and must be taken within five days of symptom onset. Visit the Province’s website to find out more about antiviral treatment, or to access the online COVID-19 Antiviral Treatment Screener tool.

As I’ve shared previously, learning to live with COVID-19 does not mean the pandemic is over or that we should stop utilizing key public health practices that we’ve maintained throughout the pandemic. Personal behaviours have an impact on the health of our community. Our most effective strategy to decrease community risk is to continue to employ multiple layers of protection, even when they are no longer mandated. This includes staying home when ill, getting vaccinated, and wearing a mask in indoor public settings. These layers help to not only protect ourselves from COVID-19, but also those around us.

The pandemic continues to affect each of our lives in many ways. The impact of sacrificing pre-pandemic activities and interactions has been difficult for everyone, and I know we are all tired. As we progress through this wave, we must maintain our support for one another. Through working together, we can continue to respond appropriately to the ongoing challenge that COVID-19 presents in our community.

I wish you all a restful and restorative holiday weekend.

We continue to closely monitor our local COVID-19 indicators. As we’ve shared previously, the pandemic is not over, and COVID-19 is still very much present in our community.

As a result of the BA.2 sub-variant, the loosening of restrictions and increased interpersonal interactions, we are beginning to experience a resurgence of the virus locally. 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.

BCHU recommends the following guidance for residents:

  • Stay up-to-date with your COVID-19 vaccination. This means three doses for most residents and fourth doses for select populations.
  • Continue to wear a mask in indoor settings and around others when unable to physically distance.
  • Stay home if sick, even with mild symptoms.
  • Learn about eligibility for antiviral treatment options. Certain people experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 may be eligible for time sensitive antiviral treatment.  Visit the Province of Ontario’s website or speak to your primary care provider for more information about COVID-19 treatment options.

Vaccination remains our best protection against severe outcomes caused by COVID-19. Visit our website regularly for the latest walk-in clinic information and updates on vaccine eligibilities.

It is important that we continue to be mindful that members of this community may be at higher risk for serious outcomes.  Through working together, we stand a better chance successfully navigating this next chapter of the pandemic.