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COVID-19

COVID-19

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The COVID-19 virus continues to evolve and circulate in our communities. Although we are currently seeing a lower rate of transmission, the continued community spread requires that everyone take responsibility for assessing their personal level of risk and take precautions when out in public. It is strongly recommended that you continue to wear a mask in all indoor public places to protect against viral spread and severe illness. We also stress the importance of vaccination and practicing all other personal protective health behaviours, such as limiting your number of close contacts, maintaining physical distance, staying home when ill, and practicing good hand hygiene

It is possible to be re-infected with COVID-19, so individuals who have been previously infected should continue to take steps to reduce their risk of exposure, including staying up to date on all vaccinations you are eligible for, including your booster doses. These simple yet crucial measures will help reduce the spread of disease.

 

If you have COVID-19, isolating will help stop the spread of the virus. Take the COVID-19 self-assessment.

You must isolate if you:

You may need to isolate if you:

You do not need to isolate, but must still monitor for symptoms and take all necessary precautions if you:

Additional resources:

 

There are two main publicly -funded tests available in Ontario to those who are eligible: rapid antigen tests and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing.

Antiviral treatments are now available for people with symptoms and a positive test result (PCR or rapid antigen test) who are at higher risk of severe COVID-19. These treatments must be taken immediately within the first five to seven days (depending on the treatment) of symptom onset.

Locations to get rapid antigen tests

Locations to get a publicly-funded PCR test

Locations of clinical assessment centres

Antiviral treatments


It is important to remember the more layers of protection you use the safer you are against COVID-19. Help stop the spread by taking steps that protect yourself and others. Click here to find out how.

Masking requirements in certain indoor settings (i.e., public transit) expired on June 11, 2022, however masks are still required in the following situations:

Masking is still recommended in higher-risk congregate settings such as group homes and shelters. Businesses and organizations can create and enforce their own masking policies.

It is strongly recommended that you continue to wear a well-fitted three-layer mask or use a medical mask (or respirator) in all public indoor settings. Showing kindness to those that continue to mask is also strongly encouraged as a way to show respect for each other’s personal choices and private health decisions. To learn about face coverings or masks and how to properly wear, fit, remove and clean your mask to help stop the spread of COVID-19, visit Ontario.ca

Long COVID or Post COVID-19 Syndrome describes a range of symptoms which can persist for weeks to months after severe, mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic COVID-19 infection. The symptoms associated with long COVID are varied and many, and affect people in different ways. They may remit and relapse. Most common symptoms include:

  • fatigue
  • memory problems
  • sleep disturbances 
  • shortness of breath
  • headaches
  • general pain and discomfort
  • difficulty thinking and concentrating

Prevention of Long COVID

The best way to prevent Long COVID is to prevent infection from COVID-19 through vaccination and other preventive measures like wearing a mask, physical distancing, and handwashing. 

Treatment of Long COVID

Any person who has Post COVID-19 symptoms should seek assessment with their health care provider.

Resources: 

The Simcoe Muskoka Safe Voluntary Isolation Site (SVIS) is a place for people who need to self-isolate due to COVID-19 but do not have access to an adequate shelter or cannot safely self-isolate in their own homes. The SVIS is designed to give people a secure, comfortable, and private space to rest and recover, without fear or anxiety of transmitting the virus to their family, roommates, or other people they live with. 

Self-isolation is a proven way to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 among household members and the community at-large. People in Simcoe Muskoka must self-isolate if they have any of the following:

  • Symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status and/or if they get tested.
  • A positive COVID-19 test result.
  • Recent close contact with someone who has COVID-19 symptoms or a positive COVID-19 test result.
  • A household member who has had recent close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Do you need help to self-isolate?

Any Simcoe Muskoka resident that is unable to safely self-isolate is eligible to access this service. There are no costs associated with staying at the SVIS and transportation can be arranged for those who need it, free of charge. Through case and contact investigations, public health professionals at the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit will assess individuals’ needs to help identify those who require safe accommodation for COVID-19 self-isolation. Please call our Health Connection line at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 ext. 5829 or send an email to Health Connection using our online form for more information and how to access this service.

Please note that the health unit is required to provide your COVID-19 status, either positive or negative, to the SVIS so that they can take any necessary infection prevention and control measures. Your COVID-19 status will only be shared with necessary staff.

The health unit conducted a situational assessment in July 2020 and a local impact survey in November 2020 to understand the impacts that some public health measures have had on us. The sections below include the reports and findings of the assessment and the survey.

Local COVID-19 Impact Survey Results

In March and April 2021, approximately 2,800 Simcoe Muskoka residents 18 years and older responded to an online survey about their beliefs and behaviours specific to the pandemic, as well as pandemic-related concerns and impacts (financial, mental, physical, and social). These results build upon the those from the previous impact survey (conducted in November 2020 and released in April 2021). Results and comparisons between time periods have been posted on SMDHU HealthSTATSCOVID-19 Local Impact Survey Results webpage.

SMDHU Mitigating Harms of Public Health Measures Situational Assessment

Our health unit, along with several other public health agencies, completed a situational assessment from April to July 2020 to determine how community-based public health measures negatively affected the health and well-being of the general population and sub-populations, and to identify ways to help reduce these effects.

The situational assessment includes several parts, which together inform the overall report findings and considerations for further action. The final report and each of its component reports are linked below.

Page last updated: June 10, 2022

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