COVID-19 transmission is still substantial in York Region, prompting its medical officer of health to urge continued precautions and vaccinations.
Dr. Barry Pakes said in a May 16 video update that although signs are pointing to a downward trend, they are still hearing from many families catching COVID-19, or even getting infected for a second time. He said hospitals are also “still struggling with admissions'' even as positivity rates decline.
Pakes said a lower transmission during the summer is a possibility. But he added COVID-19 is still a threat, also noting the 15 per cent of immunocompromised Ontarians.
“While COVID may seem over for many, for others it’s very real and the fears are also very real,” he said.
The region reached 116 COVID-19 hospitalizations as of May 11, the highest total since Jan. 31. The region’s wastewater signal has remained plateaued at approximately 40 per cent of the January peak.
Pakes said it is important to socialize, but so too is staying home if you have any symptoms.
“The weather continues to warm up and with the Victoria Day long weekend coming up soon, we’re looking forward to getting back together with family friends,” he said. “Socializing and gathering are so important for our mental well-being, especially following a couple of difficult years. Please, stay home and consider testing if you have any COVID-19 symptoms.”
He urged you to keep up to date with vaccination for the summer and fall ahead, noting waning immunity. Fourth doses are now available for those aged 60 and older.
“Receiving your third and fourth doses are critical now to remain protected, especially for those who are older, immunocompromised, or at risk for many other reasons,” Pakes said.
Statistics Canada also announced an antibody and health survey running until Aug. 31. It will randomly select 100,000 Canadians to answer questions and send a kit with swabs to test for COVID-19 antibodies. The survey aims to shed light on the long-term effects of the pandemic on health and the associated challenges for health care.
The data collected from this voluntary survey will shed light on the health and well-being of Canadians and will be used to guide Canada’s pandemic recovery,” Statistics Canada said.
Pakes said public health is beginning to return to regular operations, such as grade school vaccinations for other diseases now available at York Region clinics.
“We’re looking forward to working to reconnect with you and our communities,” he said, “and in partnering with you for a healthier future.”