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.