Federal well being officers urged Canadians to wear face masks indoors and proceed following different public well being precautions throughout a COVID-19 replace on Thursday morning.
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public well being officer, mentioned a number of layers of private safety will likely be vital in the approaching weeks to scale back the impression of a fall surge of influenza, RSV and COVID-19 circumstances on hospitals and susceptible individuals.
“Although no particular person layer of safety is ideal, when used persistently and collectively, vaccine plus layers can present wonderful safety towards COVID-19 in addition to different infectious ailments we might encounter,” Tam mentioned.
Dr. Tam referred to as on Canadians to make sure they’re updated on their COVID-19 boosters and flu photographs, to take care of good hand hygiene and wear well-fitting face masks indoors and in locations with poor air flow, the place bodily distancing just isn’t doable.
As of Oct. 9, the Government of Canada stories solely 49.6 per cent of Canadians have obtained one booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 14.3 per cent have obtained a second booster dose.
Tam mentioned COVID-19 vaccine uptake among the many youngest youngsters can also be comparatively low, sitting at about 6.5 per cent.
“If it has been six months since your final COVID-19 vaccine dose or booster, get vaccinated with a bivalent Omicron-targeting booster,” she mentioned.
“Keep up with the handwashing, carrying a good-quality, well-fitting face masks when indoors, particularly if you cannot keep away from being in crowded or poorly ventilated areas.”
Amid an increase in respiratory infections throughout the nation, a current ballot by Nanos Research discovered seven in 10 Canadians would help, or share some help, for the return of face masks mandates in indoor public areas if advisable by officers.
A CONFLUENCE OF VIRUSES
Tam was joined by Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo, who supplied an replace on the newest positivity charges for the respiratory viruses circulating most generally in Canada proper now.
Njoo warned that rising Omicron variants BQ.1.1 and BF.7 are gaining floor as COVID-19 transmission continues throughout the nation.
At the identical time, he mentioned, different respiratory viruses have surpassed seasonal ranges because the respiratory virus season will get underway early in Canada.
“At the nationwide stage, RSV exercise started to extend a number of weeks in the past, with lab positivity above anticipated ranges for this time of the yr,” he mentioned.
Njoo mentioned influenza transmission has crossed the seasonal threshold of 5 per cent lab take a look at positivity following a current steep improve in infections. Children and youngsters account for half of these current infections, he mentioned.
All of this provides as much as elevated pressure on emergency departments, significantly in youngsters’s hospitals, which health-care professionals have warned are working at or over 100 per cent occupancy.
“These surveillance indicators level to the necessity for stepped up precautions as SARS-CoV-2, influenza and different seasonal respiratory viruses may proceed to co-circulate in the weeks forward,” Njoo mentioned.
ACCESS TO CHILDREN’S TYLENOL, ADVIL
Njoo mentioned immunity to RSV and different respiratory viruses is low this yr amongst youngsters who weren’t uncovered through the earlier two years on account of bodily distancing and different public well being precautions.
However, health-care professionals have recognized the continued scarcity of ache and fever medicines corresponding to youngsters’s acetaminophen and ibuprofen as one other driver of emergency room visits and hospital admissions, since dad and mom aren’t capable of deal with their youngsters’s signs at house.
Tam steered there is likely to be some excellent news on that entrance, as Health Canada works to safe provides of the over-the-counter medicines.
“I do know that our Health Canada colleagues are working extraordinarily laborious with totally different companions, together with producers,” she mentioned, “and that they’ve additionally enabled the importation of provides, corresponding to ibuprofen from the United States and acetaminophen from Australia.”
With recordsdata from CTVNews.ca Writer Melissa Lopez-Martinez