The local health department announced there have been 2,283 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 131 cases of influenza across the Simcoe-Muskoka region since September 1.
Coughing, sneezing, runny nose.
These are the sounds and sights common at your local pharmacy this time of year.
But Rexall pharmacist Linda Yang says taking the right precautions can increase your chances of avoiding the respiratory illness currently prevalent in Simcoe County.
“In this particular area, it hasn’t been that bad,” she said recently, sitting near the hospital’s prescription pick-up desk. stroud pharmacy.
According to the Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Board’s weekly respiratory virus update released Dec. 27, there were 36 confirmed cases of influenza reported in the Simcoe-Muskoka region from Dec. 17 to 23. , down from 41 the previous week. Meanwhile, the number of new coronavirus infections detected last week was 160, down from 198 confirmed between December 10 and 16.
Since September 1, 2,283 new coronavirus cases have been reported in the region. A total of 131 people were infected with influenza during this period, of which 92% were type A.
The health department says Simcoe-Muskoka’s COVID-19 community risk level for infection and severe disease is currently “high.”
The document shows wastewater signal transmission rates are “very high,” with a current rolling average of 25 new cases reported per day and a weekly test positivity rate of 18.6 percent. is.
Five COVID-19 outbreaks were declared at the facility between Dec. 17 and 23, and on Dec. 21, 35 people were hospitalized with the virus.
Since early September, there have been 150 laboratory-confirmed institutional respiratory outbreaks in the region, of which 112 were specifically related to COVID-19 and 8 were respiratory infections. The cases were found to be related to the respiratory tract virus (RSV), and two cases were traced back to influenza. The remainder are due to either a combination of these viruses or “other or unknown” pathogens.
Respiratory syndromes accounted for 13.7% of the approximately 1,100 emergency department visits at six area hospitals last week.
But there are some timeless tips to stay safe and reduce the risk of infection during this time, the health department said in a recent update to its website. It includes many of the same recommendations given during past pandemics. If you’re sick, stay home, wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and consider wearing a well-fitting mask in indoor settings, especially around others. People at high risk of severe infection.
And of course, get vaccinated.
“When gathering with friends and family over the holidays, it’s important to take multiple layers of protection to reduce your risk of getting sick and protect those closest to you,” the health department says. “This is especially important for children under five, the elderly and people with underlying health conditions.”
Many Rexall pharmacies are accepting appointments for COVID-19 and flu shots, and the vaccines can be administered at the same time, Yang said.
“(Flu vaccinations) were nonstop,” she said. “The flu is pretty much under control now because so many people are vaccinated. There are a lot of other respiratory illnesses that can be going on, especially in the last three weeks. It’s happening. It could be the coronavirus. We’re not saying you have to wear a mask. As long as you’re prepared and vaccinated, you’ll be fine.”
The COVID-19 vaccination campaign needs all the promotion it can get. More than 96,500 vaccines have been administered in Simcoe-Muskoka since Sept. 17, but only 14.8% of the region’s population was vaccinated during that period.
But if you do get sick, know that you can get a prescription from pharmacies across Ontario. paxrovid We are currently providing this service as a countermeasure against the new coronavirus infection. Oseltamivir (Tamiflu)Antivirals, which are antiviral drugs, are given to residents who are at least 1 year old and have mild early-stage influenza A or B. This measure is critical in managing the impact of cold season influenza viruses, especially on vulnerable populations such as those with weakened immune systems or those who are pregnant. , or people with diabetes, cancer, or cardiovascular disease.
And pharmacists are now empowered to prescribe Tamiflu, reducing the burden on hospitals and the wider health care system.
“You can call the pharmacy and buy it only if your symptoms started within two days. You must call to get a prescription by the second day,” Yang said. “That’s very important. If you take it after that time, it may not be as effective.”
People with a fever of 40.5 degrees Celsius or higher, or who are feeling tired or have other severe symptoms, are likely not eligible to receive the drug and should instead see a doctor, he said. Stated.
Tamiflu works similarly to paxrobid by reducing symptoms of the virus, Yang said.
“Stopping a virus from progressing is like taking an antibiotic for an infection. It’s great that Ontario is proactively allowing pharmacists to prescribe this. (But) ) We don’t want to give people drugs when it’s too late. We want people to get their flu shots so they don’t get sick in the first place.”
For a complete list of the latest health department recommendations, please visit: simcoemscokahealth.org.
To find your local Rexall pharmacy or learn more about COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations and antiviral medications, visit: lexall.ca.