Immediate Action Needed to Stop the Surge of COVID-19 in Algoma Communities

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Algoma Public Health is alerting all Algoma communities and residents of an increased risk of COVID-19 at this time due to local community transmission.

All Algoma residents and workplaces should immediately take the following actions to protect yourselves and fellow community members.

Increased Community Transmission of COVID-19 in Algoma

  • COVID-19 activity in Algoma is rising and is currently the highest that it has ever been since the beginning of the pandemic.  As of November 11th, there are 90 active cases in Algoma, with 5 hospitalizations.  In the 7-day period from November 5-11, rates of new COVID-19 cases in Algoma were at 64.5 cases per 100,000 population and rising, with a most recent percent positivity of 2.0%. By comparison, in early October, 7-day incidence was less than 5 cases per 100,000 population and percent positivity was less than 0.5%.
  • All communities across the Algoma district are at risk because people continue to routinely travel between communities.  In the past 14 days, COVID-19 has been confirmed in residents of North Algoma, Sault Ste. Marie & Area, and Central & East Algoma.  Recent rates of new cases have been highest in Sault Ste. Marie & Area.
  • Algoma residents of all ages have been affected, with higher rates of infection in younger adults and children.  In a recent 7-day period (November 5-11), 35.5% of Algoma cases were in people aged 40-59, 30.3% were in people aged 20-39, 17.1% were in children aged 0-19, 15.8% were in people aged 60-79, and 1.3% were in people over the age of 80.
  • People who are not fully immunized are at higher risk of COVID-19 infection.  Since the beginning of Algoma’s fourth wave of the pandemic in mid-July, 66% of COVID-19 cases were in people who were not fully immunized.
  • Fully immunized people can still get sick from COVID-19 and spread the infection to others.  Since the beginning of Algoma’s fourth wave of the pandemic in mid-July, 34% of COVID-19 cases were in people who were fully immunized.

Actions to Protect Yourself, Your Household, and Your Workplace

1. Anyone who is sick, even with mild symptoms, must stay home and isolate away from others – regardless of whether you have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

  • Take the COVID-19 self-assessment every day before work and complete the school screening tool before school or child care.
  • Get tested if you have any COVID-19 symptoms, and until results are available.
  • Household members who are not fully immunized must also stay home until the symptomatic person’s test results are available.
  • Isolation means you must stay home and not go to work or school.  Do not gather, visit, or have visitors or playdates while you are isolating.

2. Cut back on unnecessary activities where you have unmasked, face-to-face close contact with people you don’t live with.  Do this even if you are fully immunized, and especially if you have vulnerable health conditions or are not fully immunized.

  • Spending time indoors with other people without masks is a higher risk activity, especially if not everyone is fully immunized.  Examples include play dates, sharing meals together, and certain group sports and recreational activities.  To lower your risk at this time, only participate in these types of activities that are most important and essential; do these activities less often, with fewer people, for shorter periods of time, and outdoors if possible.
  • Stay masked and physically distanced when outside of home as much as possible, to avoid unnecessary exposure.  This is especially important while at work or school to help prevent outbreaks in these essential settings.
    • Health professionals and other workers who provide services within 2 metres of an unmasked client (e.g. food servers, workers in personal service settings like hair and nail salons) should wear PPE that protects your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Pause or postpone non-essential gatherings until community transmission is lower.
    • Remember: a person infected with COVID-19 can spread the virus to others 48 hours before they feel sick. Although fully immunized people are at lower risk of severe disease, they can still get COVID-19 and spread the virus to others.
  • If you are not fully immunized, avoid non-essential travel.  If you are fully immunized and must travel, stay informed of current requirements and take preventive measures to lower your risk.

3. Get your COVID-19 vaccine

  • Learn how to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Algoma. If you want to be fully immunized by the holiday season, now is the time to get your first dose.
    • Everyone turning 12 or older in 2021 is eligible to get fully immunized with the COVID-19 vaccine.
    • Many people are also now eligible for a third booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, including people aged 70 and over, health care workers, and people who are Indigenous.
    • Stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 5-11, which is currently being reviewed by Health Canada for approval
  • Protect your workplace by putting a workplace vaccine policy in place. Use APH’s COVID-19 vaccine policy toolkit for workplaces to learn more.
  • If you have questions or want to talk to someone about the COVID-19 vaccine, use the free resources below:
    • Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900
  • Sick Kids COVID-19 Consult Service. Free phone consult service available to children and parents or guardians to answer questions about your specific situation and the COVID-19 vaccines. Book online or by phone.
  • VaxFacts: Free virtual consultation with a physician to answer questions about the COVID-19 vaccines. Open to all Ontario residents
  • Health Canada

“This rapid surge of COVID-19 spread is the highest Algoma has ever seen, and is still rising, ” says Dr. Jennifer Loo, Medical Officer of Health.  “With the holiday season just over six weeks away, now is the time to cut back on unnecessary risks and exposures, to stop uncontrolled transmission, and avoid the need for additional restrictions.”  APH is closely monitoring COVID-19 activity in all Algoma communities at this time, to determine whether additional local measures are needed to curb COVID-19 transmission in the coming days and weeks.

 

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