December 7, 2020
Following a sharp increase in people infected with COVID-19 over the past week, Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health for the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit is urging residents to carefully consider their actions at this critical time. “We have seen a surge in the number of people newly infected from one or two new cases each day in previous weeks to up to eight new cases each day over the past week. This is affecting local businesses, workplaces, and schools,” explains Dr. Stewart.
When someone tests positive for COVID-19 there are so many implications – it affects the health and well-being of the individual, their close contacts have to self-isolate for 14 days which could mean missing work or school, and it places a tremendous pressure on our healthcare system, economy and public health capacity. Hosting or attending a single celebration dinner or event with friends or co-workers can have devastating consequences if one of the attendees is pre-symptomatic, as they will unknowingly spread COVID-19 to the others.
With the holidays quickly approaching, it is an especially important time for residents and businesses to ensure they are doing everything they can to reduce further spread of COVID-19. “I urge everyone to review all the COVID-SMART precautions to prevent COVID-19. This is not a time for complacency. Remember to stay home and away from others if you have symptoms of COVID-19, even mild ones, and book an appointment for testing,” Stewart adds. “It is critical that businesses have screening in place to ensure that their employees are not experiencing any symptoms at work.”
While we know that it’s frustrating to not celebrate in-person with our friends and family, we must remember that for us, this is a temporary measure – but for the families and friends of the over 12,000 Canadians who have lost their lives to COVID-19 – it is not.
Staying home and apart as much as we can is the most important thing we can do. Celebrating virtually can be done by all agreeing to find new and creative ways to connect. Being safe and protecting yourself means you are protecting your family, friends and co-workers.
- S – Self-isolate if you have symptoms of COVID-19. Consider getting tested
- M – Mask/face covering on properly when in enclosed public spaces and when physical distancing is a challenge outdoors.
- A – Avoid touching your face.
- R – Remain 2 metres/6 feet apart from people not part of your household.
- T – Twenty (20) seconds for regular hand hygiene. Cover your coughs and sneezes.
When you hear either rumours or confirmation that a neighbour, co-worker, health care provider, or student has tested positive for COVID-19, resist the temptation to react, judge and spread private information. While many of us are doing all we can to protect ourselves and those around us, some may be exposed due to circumstances beyond their own control. This is a difficult time for everyone; use your energy productively and for the good of the community. Focus your efforts on your own choices and actions.
For more information about COVID-19, visit the COVID-19 section of our website or call 1-800-660-5853.
Remember that we are all in this together.