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Triple Threat

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza, and COVID-19: the “triple threat”

Ontario is facing extraordinary pressure on the pediatric healthcare system because of the triple threat of three viruses: respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza and COVID-19.

Pediatric hospitals are reporting record numbers of children needing care and admission to the ICU because of breathing difficulties from one or more of these viral illnesses. The triple threat of these viruses can affect everyone, but young children under five years of age are most likely to experience the most severe outcomes.

Hospitals across the Porcupine Health Unit area have also shared high numbers of visits for respiratory illnesses. 

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health has recommended that all Ontarians wear a well-fitted mask in all indoor public settings, including schools and childcare facilities.  Children aged 2-5 should only wear a mask with supervision if they can safely tolerate masking.   

The Porcupine Health Unit shares the concerns of Dr. Moore, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health about the increase in respiratory illness (RSV, flu, COVID-19), especially in children. 

It is time to get back to the layers of protection that we know work: 

  • Wear a mask in indoor public settings such as shopping malls, schools, arenas, and grocery stores  
  • Wear a mask in social settings, especially where babies and children are present.
  • When you are unwell, wear a mask at home around young children.
  • Children are encouraged to wear a mask, as tolerated.   
  • Screen yourself and your family daily and stay home when sick Keep children home from school and daycare when they are sick.  
  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Clean commonly touched surface – this helps limit the spread of RSV and influenza.  
  • Stay up to date with your flu and COVID-19 vaccines.

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Applying all these layers of protection will help protect ourselves, our families, and especially our children under five who are most vulnerable to severe outcomes from RSV, influenza, and COVID-19.