We all want the pandemic to be over, and when Ontario and many other jurisdictions started to lift masking and other restrictions last month, it felt for a moment like it was, or might be.
Unfortunately, it’s not. The return to a more pre-pandemic lifestyle has opened the door to a more rapid spread of the latest mutation of the virus, evident by the large number of households with confirmed, or highly suspected of having COVID.
The impact of the increased prevalence is playing out in many different ways. Here at the hospital, more than 100 staff or physicians, including 12 in our Emergency Department, were unable to come into work this week either because they themselves tested positive, or due to a high-risk exposure, most often because a household member had tested positive. The trickle-down effect of that is multiple unfilled shifts in all areas of the hospital, both patient-facing and other roles.
You can still make a difference in reducing the severity of this current wave. I encourage everyone to continue to wear a mask in indoor public settings, wash your hands frequently and physically distance wherever possible. Those safety precautions remain non-negotiable in the hospital, including the requirement that all our visitors be fully vaccinated.
Vaccination is of paramount importance. Earlier this week, the government unveiled plans to start providing 4th doses to those 60 years and older. If you are eligible for a booster, or have yet to begin your regimen of COVID-19 vaccinations, I strongly recommend it to all. Please refer to the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit website for the most up to date information on criteria and vaccine availability.
Although a little further out than we thought, the finish line to this pandemic is in sight. Let’s collectively choose the right course as One Community so we can all cross it together.
Executive Vice-President, Patient Care and People Strategy