Huron-Perth MOH updates Board of Health on COVID, RSV, influenza

HURON-PERTH – At the Dec. 16 Board of Health meeting for Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH), Medical Officer of Health Dr. Miriam Klassen provided an extensive report, updating members on COVID-19, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza within the region as well as in the province.

Based on the provincial trends of COVID-19, there is usually a peak every three months. Therefore, the next peak may be experienced in January 2023. The dominant variant in Ontario is still Omicron, and the province is monitoring several subvariants.

“The COVID-19 Immunization team continues to offer clinic opportunities at our main office sites in Stratford and Clinton, as well as additional clinics throughout Huron and Perth to ensure access for all residents. Given the current challenging respiratory season, HPPH is also offering influenza vaccination at its COVID-19 clinics,” stated Klassen in her report.

In Canada, a total of 95,771,052 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered as of Dec. 16. The virus is continuing to circulate across the county, while other respiratory viruses, including influenza and RSV, are above expected levels for this time of year.

Huron Perth is experiencing an increase in several respiratory pathogens, both viral and bacterial. The first lab-confirmed influenza cases were reported the week of Oct. 23 - 29 in Huron Perth. Since then, there has been a steady increase in lab-confirmed cases, higher than usual.

“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,” explained Klassen.

Respiratory Surveillance Dashboard launching in 2023

HPPH will be launching a new Respiratory Surveillance Dashboard in 2023. It will give a high-level assessment of influenza activity, as well as COVID-19 activity, in the counties.

“Letting people know what the risk is, and how they can reduce the risk for

themselves and their loved ones, is crucial to reducing illness spread,” expressed Klassen.

The dashboard will focus on key indicators for influenza and COVID-19, that aims to show a “more complete picture of the level of transmission in our communities”. The indicators will include per cent positivity, outbreaks, hospitalizations and deaths.

Melissa Dunphy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner