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Layer up to stay well

With increased respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections, rising numbers of seasonal influenza cases and the ongoing transmission of COVID-19 in our communities, it is vital that everyone continues to use multiple layers of protection to reduce the risk of becoming ill and protect those closest to us. This is especially important for those who are at higher risk of severe illness, specifically children under five years of age as well as the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions.

Each layer of protection helps prevent viral spread and when combined they lower the risk of illness impacting our schools, workplaces, and the heath care system.

The Simcoe Muskoka COVID-19 Community Risk Level is updated weekly. The COVID-19 Community Risk Level will help you determine the best ways to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 infection and serious illness. Risk of infection and severe illness increases as community, personal and situational risk increases. As risks increase add more layers of protection. The more precautions you take the better you and others around you will be protected.

The health unit strongly recommends all individuals wear a well-fitted three-layer mask or medical mask in indoor public settings, including school and daycare settings.

This recommendation includes children under two to five years of age if they can tolerate a mask.

Masking at home and in other private settings is also strongly recommended if you have any respiratory symptoms and have at-risk people in your household, including children under five years of age, older adults, or those with medical conditions.

Everyone should screen daily for respiratory symptoms using the Screening Tool and follow the instructions. Stay home if you are sick with any symptom(s) of COVID-19, cold or flu. Symptoms can include, but are not limited to:

  • fever
  • chills
  • cough
  • runny eyes
  • stuffy nose
  • sore throat
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • extreme weakness and tiredness
  • loss of appetite

Some people (more common in children) experience vomiting or diarrhea. See more information here to help you determine if you have a cold or the flu.

Getting the flu shot and staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations is the best way to prevent serious illness.

Although seasonal influenza and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, they are caused by different viruses. The flu shot will not protect against COVID-19, but it will help reduce the risk of getting influenza and COVID-19 at the same time, which can cause severe complications in some. It is recommended that all those who are eligible get both their influenza vaccine and are up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations. Those aged 5 years and above who are not up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines are able to receive both the COVID-19 and flu vaccines at the same time.

Wash your hands often using proper hand hygiene and help/remind your child to as well.    Washing with soap and water for at least 15 seconds will help keep viruses from spreading. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer (gel or wipes) with at least 70% alcohol.

Disinfect high touch surfaces in your home often, such as doorknobs, tv remotes, water taps, etc.

Limit your number of social contacts, especially when indoors if the space will be crowded or people will be in close contact (less than 2 metres apart) and without a mask.

When you can, spend time outside where there is a lower risk of viruses spreading compared to indoor environments.

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If you have any questions or concerns that require a response, please contact Health Connection directly.

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