Peterborough Public Health hiked the COVID-19 community risk index back up to moderate on Wednesday after reporting a new COVID-19-related death along with a rise in hospitalizations and a surge in viral signals from wastewater surveillance from the past week.
Peterborough Regional Health Centre, which continues to have an outbreak on Unit A5, had 18 admitted patients with the virus as of Tuesday, up from 11 a week ago.
The health unit had lowered the risk index to low, the fourth lowest level on a five-level scale, a week ago.
“After one week with lower transmission detected in our region, we are moving back to moderate risk for COVID-19 and respiratory virus infections,” stated Donna Churipuy, director of health protection. “Unfortunately, we are seeing all COVID-19 indicators increasing including case rates and wastewater signals.”
Under the moderate risk level, the health unit recommends the use of masks for high-risk indoor public spaces or when interacting with high-risk individuals, while also suggesting social gatherings be keep outdoors and in small groups while masked and limiting attendance at high-risk settings.
Churipuy urged residents to protect themselves against severe COVID-19 illness, including staying up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations.
“The XBB.1.5 variant is circulating in Ontario with the Public Health Agency of Canada reporting high transmissibility and immune evasion potential,” she stated.
“This means that a COVID-19 infection can reduce a person’s immune response to other pathogens and leave residents more susceptible to other infections.”
For best protection when the risk is moderate, the health unit advises that residents stay home when feeling unwell, wear a KN95/N95 style mask in high-risk indoor settings and gather outdoors or in spaces with proper ventilation.
The measures aims to save the lives of higher-risk individuals and protect the whole community by trying to prevent illness and the risk of long COVID, according to the health unit.
The jurisdiction of Peterborough city and county, Curve Lake First Nation and Hiawatha First Nation has now had 136 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began in March 2020.
Another 53 PCR lab test confirmed cases were reported over the past week with 344 active confirmed cases. The tally is considered an underestimate since most people do not qualify for lab testing.
New institutional outbreaks were declared Tuesday at the Peterborough Retirement Residence and the Royal Gardens Retirement Residence.
Only 39,122 residents (28 per cent) have had a booster dose over the past six months.
As of Wednesday, 125,276 residents of the jurisdiction (85 per cent) have had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, 121,100 (82 per cent) have had at least two doses
The health unit is running COVID-19 mass vaccination clinics at Peterborough Square for all age groups, with walk-ins accepted. Masks are required at the clinics.
The next clinic is Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.
For priority service, appointments for people 12 and older can be booked four days in advance online at covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine/ or by calling 1-833-943-3900.
Some local pharmacies also offer COVID-19 shots.
The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit also reported a new death along with two new hospitalizations and 70 new PCR lab test confirmed cases for the week of Feb. 12 to 18.
Ross Memorial Hospital in Lindsay is under a facility-wide outbreak and had 15 admitted with the virus as of Wednesday, up from 11 on Friday. The Lindsay hospital has a by-appointment-only cold, COVID-19 and flu care clinic operating weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. — call 705-328-6217 first.
An institutional outbreak was also declared Sunday at Lakeland Village Retirement Home in Lindsay.
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