Remarks from the Chief Public Health Officer, November 18, 2022
November 18 2022 | Ottawa, ON | Public Health Agency of Canada
Bonjour à toutes et à tous. Nationally, there is continued variability regionally and across COVID-19 activity indicators, including case counts, percent positivity and wastewater signals. SARS-CoV-2 virus is still circulating across the country, while other respiratory virus activity, including influenza and respiratory syncytial virus – or RSV–, is above expected levels for this time of the year. At the national level, lab test positivity is at near 8% for RSV and 16% for influenza. Both of these viruses are having a large impact on children and the proportion of influenza detections among children and teenagers is unusually high. As a result, a number of paediatric hospitals across the country have reported unprecedented levels of viral respiratory related ER visits and admissions.
While we don't have a vaccine for RSV yet, there are vaccines available to protect children aged six months or older from severe illness due to influenza. Getting kids vaccinated with the vaccines we have available for them is an important measure we can take to protect them from severe illness.
In addition to getting vaccinated as a strong foundation of protection against severe illness, using personal protective measures is also particularly important at this time. Using layers of protection like wearing a good quality, well-fitting facemask and frequent handwashing not only help to protect you but also help to reduce overall spread. It is also really important to stay home when you are sick to help reduce the chances of infecting others.
One of the biggest challenges of having multiple respiratory viruses circulating at the same time is the large and sudden surge of illnesses that can overwhelm the health system. It also means there is a lot of virus circulating in the community, so we may be more likely to encounter viruses as we interact with others in schools, workplaces and social settings, especially indoors and if masks are not being worn.
This is why our vaccines plus approach is so important right now. Although no individual layer of protection is perfect, when used consistently and together, Vaccines Plus layers can provide very good protection against COVID-19 as well as many other infectious diseases we may encounter.
Thank you – Merci – Miigwetch
Read my backgrounder to access COVID-19 Information and Resources , including information on vaccination and ways to reduce your risk of infection and spreading the virus to others.
Public Health Agency of Canada
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