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Respiratory Illnesses: COVID-19 & Influenza

Protect yourself from flu and COVID-19. Book your vaccination appointment here!

COVID-19 & Influenza

OVERALL ASSESSMENT
WEEK 14 (March 31 – April 6, 2024)

COVID-19 Influenza
Moderate Activity: Change from previous week trending higher. Moderate Activity: Change from previous week trending lower.
  • Overall COVID-19 activity for surveillance week 14 (Mar. 31 – Apr. 6) was low, similar to the previous week.
  • Influenza activity in week 14 was also low, similar to the previous week.
  • Provincially, COVID-19 activity was low, lower than the previous week and influenza activity was low, lower than the previous week.
  • Locally, highest % positivity was for seasonal human coronavirus followed by parainfluenza and then influenza.
  • Provincially, seasonal human coronavirus had the highest % positivity, followed by influenza and then Entero/Rhinovirus. 

Notes:

  1. The Overall Assessment for COVID-19 activity is based on three indicators:
    1. New cases in the past seven days,
    2. % positivity in the past seven days, and
    3. New outbreaks in the past seven days.
  2. The Overall Assessment for Influenza activity is based on two indicators:
    1. New cases in the past seven days, and
    2. % positivity in the past seven days.
  3. For other respiratory viruses and further local and provincial details, please visit PHO's Ontario Respiratory Virus Tool.

COVID-19 & Influenza Vaccine Clinics

The fall means respiratory illness season has arrived.  Respiratory viruses including COVID-19, Influenza, and RSV will be circulating.
Protect yourself and those you care for by getting vaccinated.

This fall you can get both your flu and COVID-19 vaccines at one of the many Porcupine Health Unit clinics in the area.

The vaccines are safe and effective and the best protection available against flu and COVID-19.

Book your vaccination appointment


Assessing Personal Risk. What is best for you?

When deciding which layers of protection to use, consider the following:

  • Personal Health: Are you or someone you live with at higher risk for severe illness?
  • Community Levels: What is the current level of respiratory virus activity in your area?
  • Vaccination Status: Are you up to date with your vaccinations?
  • Planned Activities: Are you attending a gathering or an event with many people?
  • Workplace Exposure: Do you work in a setting where the risk of transmitting respiratory viruses is high?
  • Caring for Vulnerable Individuals: Are you taking care of someone who is at a greater risk of serious illness from respiratory viruses?

Your choice of protection may change based on these considerations. For example, if you’re at higher risk, you might choose to wear a mask even when others are not. 

Making Informed Decisions:

Once you’ve assessed your personal risk, you're ready to decide on the right layers of protection. Finding the right balance between safety and comfort is key. Consider what works best for you in keeping both you and your community healthy.

  • Personal Comfort: Choose the layers that make you feel safe and are feasible for you to maintain.
  • Community Responsibility: Remember that protecting yourself also helps protect others, especially the most vulnerable.
  • Flexibility: Be prepared to adjust your layers of protection. 

Layers of Protection:

Just like dressing in layers can help you adjust to changing temperatures, using multiple layers of protection can help protect you from respiratory viruses:

Vaccination: Your First Layer of Defense

The annual flu vaccine and the updated fall COVID-19 vaccine are the first defense against respiratory illnesses.    

Respiratory Etiquette: An Essential Layer

Regular and proper handwashing can greatly reduce the spread of germs.  

When you are out and about, carry hand sanitizer and wash your hands frequently.  

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your elbow when coughing or sneezing.

Masks: An additional layer when needed

Masks are a simple and powerful tool to help protect everyone from respiratory illnesses. When you wear a mask, you’re looking out for your health and the health of people around you.

A mask should be worn:

  • When visiting certain facilities where they are required (i.e., long term care homes, retirement homes).
  • If you’ve had symptoms or a positive COVID-19 test, keep wearing a mask in public places for 10 days after the first sign of being sick or the positive test.

Consider wearing a mask in busy indoor spaces, especially if you or someone close to you is more likely to get really sick from COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.  

Ventilation: Keeping the Air Fresh.

Increase ventilation in indoor settings by opening windows or using air purifiers.

Staying Home When Sick: A Critical Layer  

If you’re feeling sick, the best thing to do is stay home. This not only gives you the chance to recover but also prevents the spread of illness to others.

Remember:

Each protective measure you take plays an important role. Stay updated and choose your layers of protection with care!