As we prepare for holiday gatherings, we need to continue to assess our own level of risk and the risk for those around us to make informed decisions.
Vaccination is the most effective way you can protect yourself and your loved ones from the most serious effects of respiratory illnesses. The Province recently announced that all Ontarians aged five and over are eligible to book a bivalent booster dose starting December 21. Read more about why and when you should get a booster dose (Ontario.ca/COVIDbooster) and your flu shot (OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Flu)
Individual actions can add up to population-level protection when we use multiple layers of protection:
- Masking: Wear a well-fitted mask in indoor public settings such as schools and child care, grocery stores, malls, music venues and museums.
- Vaccinations: Anyone 6 months and older should stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, including a fall booster for anyone 5 years of age and older and a fall influenza vaccine. Anyone aged 5 and older can receive their COVID-19 booster and flu vaccine at the same time. Check your local pharmacy for vaccination appointments.
- Stay home if sick: Monitor for symptoms. Stay home, even if symptoms are mild, and until you are feeling better.
- Clean your hands: Use hand sanitizer or wash hands often.
- Clean surfaces: Clean commonly touched surfaces frequently.
- Gatherings: Screen for symptoms before attending or hosting a gathering and stay home if you are sick. If hosting a gathering, consider holding it outdoors or opening windows, especially if individuals will be removing masks to eat or drink. You can also encourage those with which you are gathering to be up to date on their vaccines.
The holidays can be a difficult time for many. Check in with your loved ones and neighbours. If you or someone you know is having trouble coping – there are resources to help. Learn more about local mental health and substance use resources in Ottawa at: Mental Health and Substance Use Health Resource List.
Weekly Snapshot and Dashboard
Going forward, our weekly snapshot will look a little different. We will be adding information about RSV and flu. These weekly snapshots, now titled “Respiratory Virus Snapshot”, will still be shared through OPH’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels and posted on our main COVID-19 website at OttawaPublicHealth.ca/coronavirus. An entirely new dashboard displaying information about respiratory virus activity will be featured in the snapshot. You can view the dashboard here: www.OttawaPublicHealth.ca/FluReport
Flu and Respiratory Virus season
Ottawa Public Health continues to inform the public of the levels of respiratory viruses in our community – through initiatives like our Risk Reduction webpage, Weekly Snapshot, COVID-19 Dashboard and weekly Flu Report.
- Wastewater virus detection levels of COVID-19 are high and increasing
- Wastewater virus detection levels of RSV are very high and increasing
- Wastewater virus detection levels of Influenza are very high and increasing
- Per cent positivity of COVID-19 is high and increasing
- Per cent positivity of RSV is moderate and decreasing
- Per cent positivity of Influenza is high and decreasing
- Outbreaks due to COVID-19 are very high and increasing
- Outbreaks due to Influenza are moderate and decreasing
- Outbreaks due to other respiratory viruses are moderate and increasing
- The levels of respiratory viruses circulating in our community remain high, and we’re still seeing the increase in COVID-19 wastewater and % positivity levels that we saw last week.
- In these winter months, every single layer of protection matters that much more. These layers include wearing a well-fitted mask when needed, washing your hands, & staying home when sick...which is especially true when it comes to holiday gatherings. If you’re sick, don’t go.
- Speaking of the holidays – now’s the time to get your flu vaccine & your COVID-19 bivalent booster. These vaccines are available in many places throughout our community. Learn more on our website: ca
It’s always been our goal to give you as much information as we can to help you make informed decisions about your levels of risk. And so, we’ve launched a brand-new respiratory virus dashboard. This dashboard will be updated every Wednesday at 12pm, and it will be a key part of our weekly snapshot moving forward. You can view it here: www.OttawaPublicHealth.ca/FluReport