A joint statement from the Hastings Prince Edward Ontario Health Team, Quinte Health and Hastings Prince Edward Public Health.
With the holiday season upon us, local health care leaders are coming together once again to urge residents to take serious action to reduce the spread of illness in the community. Local rates of respiratory infection continue to be higher than normal, especially among children and youth. Taking action now to #SpreadJoyNotGerms will help all local residents, especially our youngest residents, stay #HealthyForTheHolidays.
“It’s important for our communities to band together to help protect the most vulnerable people in our communities. We’ve heard that this cold and flu season is a challenging one and each of us have a part to play to make sure that we remain as healthy as can be for the holidays,” says Odila Hoye, Patient, Client, and Partner Representative with the Hastings Prince Edward Ontario Health Team.
“We are continuing to see unusually high levels of respiratory infection among young children in our region,” says Dr. Ethan Toumishey, Medical Officer of Health and CEO at Hastings Prince Edward Public Health. “While many of us want to enjoy a traditional holiday season, please remember that key public health precautions are the best way to reduce the spread of illness among family and friends. As a parent myself, I urge everyone to do what they can to help our youngest residents stay healthy and well for the holiday season.”
- Get your flu shot, even if you have had the flu before. Getting the flu shot now will provide optimal protection in approximately two weeks. Even if you’re not concerned about the flu, getting the shot will help reduce your risk of spreading the virus to others. Stay up-to-date with your COVID-19 vaccines as well.
- Skip the holiday party if you’re not feeling well. It is critical to stay home when you are sick, and keep your children home if they are sick. As we all get back to enjoying gatherings again, be respectful of others. Keep your sniffles at home and don’t risk spreading infection to the vulnerable.
- Wear a mask in crowded indoor spaces, and when recovering from illness. If you are attending a busy gathering or interacting with others, wearing a mask will reduce your risk of unknowingly spreading an infection to those you love. If you are recovering from illness, it is especially important to wear a mask for 10 days after your symptoms started.
- Wash your hands often, and clean high touch surfaces. This is especially important to prevent the spread of influenza and RSV, both of which are easily spread on high touch surfaces. If you host or attend a holiday gathering, clean high touch surfaces and encourage guests to wash their hands frequently or use hand sanitizer.
- Protect our health care services. Doing what you can to limit the spread of illness will help ensure our health care workers are available for those who need them most.
“No one wants to spend the holidays in the hospital,” says Stacey Daub, President & CEO, Quinte Health. “We encourage you to follow public health precautions and get vaccinated to stay healthy. If you do become ill and cannot manage your symptoms at home, contact your primary care provider, use a walk-in clinic, a virtual clinic, or one of the COVID, Cold and Flu Clinics. Please save local emergency departments for emergencies.”
Details about COVID, Cold and Flu Clinics, including booking information, can be found at www.hpeoht.ca/covid-cold-flu-care-clinics/
Get your flu shot or COVID-19 vaccination at local pharmacies. Public health continues to offer COVID-19 vaccination at select clinics.