COVID-19 and flu trends are starting to move in a positive direction locally, but there is a challenge ahead to maintain that in the holidays, according to York Region Public Health.
York’s medical officer of health Dr. Barry Pakes said the trends have started to plateau in a Dec. 12 update. He said although hospitals are still overwhelmed, and the diseases remain a threat, wastewater indicators in that region are no longer increasing for the flu and RSV viruses.
Still, he said vaccination and masking remain very important.
“The burden on our hospitals and the circulation in our hospitals is high, but we are seeing a hopeful trend,” he said. “The challenge is maintaining this trend during a season where we all want and need to get together, socialize and see family and friends.”
The region was reporting 59 COVID-19 hospitalizations as of Dec. 6. Hospitalizations have fallen down from a peak of 98 on Oct. 30, though they have remained between 30 and 60 throughout December.
Pakes said some plateauing around this time was expected, and staff on and near the front lines have done “heroic work.” Still, he added that many areas of health care remain burdened.
“Pediatric hospitals in York Region are still roughly double our usual capacity,” he said. “But not triple, and that is great news.”
Wearing masks in crowded indoor settings is also important, Pakes said.
He further said that there are several COVID-19 cold and flu clinics available if you need to see a healthcare provider. More information is available at york.ca/COVID-19.
Residents should also avoid holiday gatherings if experiencing symptoms, Pakes said.
“Your family and friends will hopefully understand if you need to miss an event or postpone a holiday event to help keep everyone as safe and healthy as possible,” he said. “Enjoy the holiday season as best you can while looking out for one another.”