DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard
KAWARTHA LAKES: As cases of COVID-19 variants continue to plague Ontario, Haliburton-Kawartha-Pine Ridge District Health Unit’s (HKPR) new medical officer of health is calling for people to be careful.
“We know the majority of cases in Ontario are variants of concern and this is also the case in our area,” Dr. Natalie Bocking said, in a press release. “As we have been hearing, these variants spread more quickly and easily than the original COVID virus, and we are seeing that happen as well. When it comes to COVID-19, younger people still tend to experience milder symptoms and recover fully. Our concern is, some family members they bring this virus home to; their siblings, parents and grandparents, will not fare as well and become quite ill.”
A stay at home order was recently issued by the province of Ontario, and went into effect on Thursday, April 8th.
“Although our physical locations may close, our staff will continue their work to support and help our residents,” Dr. Bocking stated.
With this being the second stay at home order and third state of emergency, HKPR is concerned about the possibility of pandemic fatigue affecting residents’ decision making.
“I know we are all tired and experiencing pandemic fatigue, but we need to work together, just a little while longer, in the hope we can get this virus under control and start to see some normalcy in our lives,” Dr. Bocking said, in a statement.
Recent case statistics are also worrying the new medical officer of health.
“We may not be considered a hot spot for cases, but I am concerned by the increase in the number of cases we have been seeing locally. We are hearing stories of people gathering, not quarantining if they have been identified as a high-risk contact, and travelling for non-essential reasons. Unfortunately, these actions, coupled with the variants of concern now circulating, are leading to increased cases in our area.”
The health unit is asking any person who is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, to go online to the provincial booking system, to try to make a vaccination appointment.