This Spring Break, do your part: Stop the Surge

As we approach the Easter holiday and spring break, the northern Medical Officers of Health are asking all community members in northern Ontario to work together to prevent another surge in COVID-19.

In many parts of northern Ontario, COVID-19 infection rates have been at some of the highest levels since the pandemic began. COVID-19 activity is rising again across the province, and the rapid spread of variants of concern (VOCs) is causing aggressive outbreaks, and in some cases, more severe illness, even in younger people.

We know that everyone has made tremendous sacrifices for over a year. And there is ongoing hope, as more vaccine becomes available, week by week. At this very moment in time, however, the vast majority of our community members are not yet immunized. This means risky activities like gatherings and travel must still be avoided by all.

To protect the most vulnerable in our communities, and to stop the surge from overwhelming our local hospitals and frontline health care workers, we are calling on all northern Ontarians to each do our part to keep our families and communities safe. And we ask everyone to do this with the spirit of kindness and perseverance that has been such a tremendous and vital part of our northern communities’ response to the pandemic.

Top 3 Actions for All Families and Households

1. Stay 2 metres apart from anyone you don’t live with.

Staying connected is important for wellbeing. The safest ways to connect are by phone or online.

Being outdoors is less risky than indoors, and everyone should still be 2 metres apart.

Closed, indoor spaces are risky. Keep time spent indoors brief, and stay masked and distanced at all times. In the grey-lockdown zone, it is illegal to gather indoors with anyone you do not live with.

Avoid gatherings, shared meals or carpools outside your household – these are common ways that COVID-19 spreads from one family to another. A person infected with COVID-19 can spread the virus to others 48 hours before they even feel sick.

2. Have symptoms? Get tested straight away, and until you have results, you and everyone else you live with must stay home.

Because the variants spread so aggressively, when one person in the home is sick, the entire household must stay home until test results are available.

Mild symptoms, even a runny nose can be COVID-19. Only testing can tell.

Do not go to work or school, or visit anyone if you have symptoms.

3. Avoid non-essential travel or receiving visitors, especially between different colour zones.

Postpone non-essential trips to avoid the risk of exposure.