The top doctor at the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit says the area is following a provincial trend of fewer cases of respiratory illness and fewer hospitalizations as a result.
Dr. Natalie Bocking says numbers are dropping after a very busy season. “The peak of the respiratory season locally was at the end of November, beginning of December. This reflected a heavy burden of some COVID-19, lots of RSV and lots of influenza.”
Despite the improvements, Bocking is warning us not to assume the healthcare system is in good shape. “We know the demand on our acute care system for respiratory illness and influenza has gone down. But we know our healthcare system continues to struggle with its recovery from the pandemic. We want to be careful that we’re not saying everything is back to normal because there are still challenges related to having sufficient human resources. But the acute pressure, that surge, has calmed down.”
The health unit is reminding residents to ensure their vaccinations are up to date and take the necessary steps to keep from getting sick or spreading illness. “That includes both influenza and COVID-19 vaccinations and this is especially important if you are at high risk for more severe illness which includes anyone over the age of 65,” says Bocking. Other tips include staying home if you are sick and wearing a mask if you are at high risk.
The health unit no longer offers community vaccination clinics but does have some clinics at its office in Haliburton. Pharmacies and primary care providers are offering shots and the provincial Govax bus is still making appearances across the region and will be for about another month. For more information go to the unit’s website at www.hkpr.on.ca.