“I am confident that without all of us the loss of life would be much greater than what we have to do till date,” says the area’s medical officer of health.
If resisting multiple waves of the COVID-19 pandemic is pointless only to watch them grow each time, the area’s medical officer of health has words of encouragement.
Your resistance and sacrifice have made a difference.
“I believe without all of us there would be more loss of life,” said Dr Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. “I just want to recognize this and encourage people to continue to follow the advice and direction that comes with them in the future.”
The sixth wave of the COVID pandemic is here, led mostly by the subvariant of the Omicron variant that was responsible for the fifth wave and more cases than ever before.
With limited PCR testing, the province looks to its wastewater monitoring to see how many people are becoming infected with COVID-19, and the likelihood is in 100,000.
Provincial reporting shows SARS-CoV-2 viral signals (the virus that causes COVID-19) in wastewater in the province’s central-eastern region exceeded levels seen at the height of the fifth wave (Omicron).
In Simcoe-Muskoka, cases confirmed through limited testing increased by 79 percent in three weeks, from nearly 700 cases during the week of March 20 to nearly 1,300 cases in the week of April 3.
Simply put, a lot of people are catching COVID-19. The number of hospitalizations has also started increasing now.
Gardner said he has been told by hospital leadership in Simcoe-Muskoka that staff have a “high-degree” of illness related to COVID-19, adding additional challenges to the health care system right now.
“This is yet another reason why we all need to do whatever we can to protect ourselves by taking a multi-layered approach to reducing transmission,” Gardner said during a media briefing on April 12. is.”
He reiterated recommendations he’s given about once a week since the pandemic began: get all the doses of the vaccine you’re eligible for, wash your hands, wear a mask indoors, limit your close contacts, protect yourself from others. Keep your distance, monitor for symptoms, and stay home if you are sick.
There are no capacity limits or broad mask orders remaining in Ontario, except for some requirements in high-risk settings such as hospitals and long-term care homes.
Gardner doesn’t see the restrictions that have been in place in Ontario for nearly two years now.
“There is an enormous amount of fatigue in the public, and with each wave it becomes more difficult to impose restrictions,” Gardner said.
Although the doctor thinks masks can help, it will only be part of a multi-layered approach to halting the spread of COVID-19, and may not do much to mitigate the impact of the current wave.
“A mandate would probably indicate greater compliance and would have … limited benefit,” Gardner said. “But there could be a strong, negative (public) backlash that could impact compliance.”
Public buying and selling has also decreased as the move towards booster doses of the vaccine. While slightly more than 80 percent of the population over the age of five in the region has double immunization, only about 50 percent of the same population has received a booster dose.
Gardner acknowledged that COVID-19 vaccine frequency is “new” and is a significant amount of vaccination compared to other vaccines that people will be accustomed to.
“I will admit that this is asking a lot of people and providers,” Gardner said. “But there is no doubt that vaccination has saved many lives in Ontario. If we did not have high vaccination rates, Omicron, as big as he was, would have been worse.
Predictions from the Ontario Science Table show that booster doses reduced hospitalizations and ICUs by about 30 percent during the fifth wave.
“It’s already been a very long pandemic … it’s tough, there’s no doubt about it,” Gardner said. “It’s essential to a lot of us.”
That said, more is needed to protect the vulnerable and reduce the spread of COVID-19.
For the non-vaccinated, Gardner said it’s not too late to start. For those eligible for a booster dose, now is a good time to go.
As Easter weekend approaches, Gardner gives her general recommendations: Keep it small, wear a mask, and consider holding your gathering outside.