Message From the Medical Officer of Health

 

Dr. Arra

 

Dr. Ian Arra

Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer

Grey Bruce Health Unit

 

Letter to the community  

Two years ago this week, the first cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Grey-Bruce and the government of Ontario declared a state of emergency, effectively marking the start of the pandemic both locally and provincially.

We’ve come so far over the course of the pandemic and are now at a point where nearly all public health measures have been lifted and municipal states of emergency have come to an end.

Through it all, residents, community partners and organizations, municipalities and businesses in Grey-Bruce demonstrated a commendable commitment to public health requirements and guidelines and did everything possible to help curb the virus’s spread, protect the most vulnerable from getting sick and keep everyone safe. The community’s positive response to our call for the critical threshold was one of the many examples of our collective commitment. Another example is the region’s success in leading the way with a paradigm-changing vaccine distribution process that is being studied and used as a benchmark across the country.

We practiced the three Ws – washing our hands, watching our distance and wearing a mask. We respected gathering limits, postponed events, stayed home and worked from our residences, when required.

We got tested for COVID-19 and, most importantly, got vaccinated against the virus.

I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to everyone in Grey-Bruce for these incredible efforts.

Thank you to the front-line health care workers and first responders who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic. Thank you to the teachers and students who pivoted several times during the pandemic from classroom to remote learning.

Thank you to the local political leaders –municipal and provincial –and their staff who enacted emergency orders and put in place other measures to protect their residents. Thank you to the media and community partners for helping public health to communicate our directives, guidelines and advice to the broader Grey-Bruce community. Information accuracy and timeliness, a function of credible media, has been indispensable to ensure individuals make informed decisions to protect themselves, their families, and the community at large.

Thank you to the long-term care residents and other vulnerable people who had to be isolated and away from their loved ones for prolonged periods of time, including special occasions, to help prevent the virus’ spread.

Thank you to the businesses and organizations who followed public health guidelines throughout the pandemic.

Thank you to the professional, hard-working Grey Bruce Health Unit team, which collaborated to deliver a second-to-none public health emergency response. We have been able to contain cases and deaths to an extremely limited number relative to other jurisdictions, and taken steps to protect our most vulnerable populations.

Our Board of Health has played a leading role in the public health response and I am grateful for their leadership and support during this difficult time.

Thank you to all the stakeholders and groups that are not listed here.

We are at this relatively positive point in the pandemic because of the sacrifices everyone made and the measures you took to safeguard not only yourselves and your families but your communities as well.

Yours very truly,

Ian

Dr. Ian Arra, MD MSc FRCPC ACPM ABPM,

Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer,

Grey Bruce Health Unit.

To connect with the medical officer of health, please contact:

Denis Langlois, communications co-ordinator,

Grey Bruce Health Unit 519-376-9420 or 1-800-263-3456 ext. 1315 Communications@publichealthgreybruce.on.ca

 

March 17, 2022

Archived MOH Messages

25

Halloween Message – (Considerations for Halloween)

posted on

Halloween Message – (Considerations for Halloween)

 

Halloween is a fun break from our everyday routines. For many people, anytime one remembers or thinks of Halloween, they most likely catch themselves smiling. Our children’s mental wellbeing desperately needs this type of smile during this time. However, with COVID-19 we all owe it to children to give them a safe Halloween.

 

If you are unwell, especially with COVID-19 symptoms, stay at home and away from others. Virtual Halloween is all you’ll find on our menu.

 

If you want to reduce your risk as much as possible this year, as an alternative to traditional trick or treating, you and your children can explore alternative ways to celebrate. Have your own Halloween-themed party at home. Be creative, dressing up, decorating, crafts, carve a pumpkin or carve a dozen pumpkins, and scavenger hunts are some ideas for all ages.

If you choose to trick-or-treat door-to-door:

  • Stay home if you have symptoms, even if they are mild.
  • Trick-or-treat outdoors as much as possible.
  • If trick-or-treating indoors maintain physical distancing as much as possible and
  • wear a face covering, especially when physical distancing is a challenge.
    • Be creative and build the face covering into your costume, but know that a costume mask is not a substitute for a face covering, and that a costume mask should not be worn over a non-medical mask or face covering because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe.
  • Do not crowd doorsteps - Take turns one at a time.
  • Do not sing or shout for your treats.
  • Keep interactions brief with those giving out treats.
  • Use hand sanitizer often, especially before and after handling your face covering, after touching frequently touched surfaces, when you arrive home from trick-or-treating, and before and after handling or eating treats.
  • There is no need to clean or disinfect pre-packaged treats.

If you choose to give out treats:

  • Do not participate in Halloween festivities if you have symptoms, even if they are mild.
  • Keep interactions with trick-or-treaters short and encourage them to move along after receiving their treat from you.
  • Consider wearing a face covering when physical distancing cannot be maintained
  • If you are dressing up, consider including the face covering as part of your costume.
  • Give out only purchased and packaged treats.
  • Do not ask trick-or-treaters to sing or shout for their treats.
  • Clean your hands often throughout the evening using soap and water or with hand sanitizer:

If you chose to celebrate Halloween as an adult, and are hosting a gathering, you may have a gathering with people you don’t live with. However, it is important to remember that knowing someone does not reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19. Keep following good public health practises. 

If you choose to host an in-person gathering:

  • Do not exceed the gathering limit of 25 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
  • You should have the fewest number of people possible at your party or gathering and use outdoor spaces whenever possible.
  • Provide all the necessary supplies, including hand sanitizer, soap and water.
  • Open windows, if possible.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces.
  • Ask guests to not attend if they have symptoms, even if they are mild.
  • Make a list of guests attending in case public health needs it for contact tracing.
  • Remind people of public health guidance to follow during the event.
  • If you choose to serve food or drinks at your party, you should:
  • Wash your hands before and frequently during preparation and serving; and;
  • Have everyone wash their hands before and after eating.

If you choose to attend an in-person gathering:

  • You should not attend if you have any symptoms, even if they are mild.
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer regularly throughout the event.
  • Consider participating virtually or not attending the event if you are

Please remember the Three Ws, Watch your distance, Wash your hands, and Wear a mask.

 

For full details on gatherings, and social events, click HERE, ad Considerations for Halloween

 

Let us make Halloween safe and enjoyable for everyone.

Yours very truly,

Dr. Ian Arra

For More Information:

Dr. Ian Arra, MD MSc FRCPC ACPM ABPM

Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer

To arrange to speak with Dr. Arra, please contact Drew Ferguson at:

519-376-9420 or 1-800-263-3456 ext. 1269 or d.ferguson@publichealthgreybruce.on.ca

 

October 25, 2021

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