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

31

Medical Officer of Health - Spooky Halloween Message 

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Medical Officer of Health - Spooky Halloween Message 

Halloween is a fun break from our everyday routines. For most 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 emergency. However, with COVID-19 we all owe it to children to give them a safe Halloween – a modified Halloween.

 

 So here is the thing. If you are unwell, don’t even think about it. Stay at home and away from others. Virtual Halloween is all you’ll find on our menu. Just skip to the end of this message.

 

 If you are part of a household, rather than the traditional trick-or-treat, we encourage you and your children to 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 are a child in Grey and Bruce, you are in luck. If you choose to go out to trick-or-treat, we encourage you to only go out with members of your household, do not congregate in groups, keep social distances, and wear a face covering – a costume mask doesn’t count. Choose a costume that makes wearing a mask or face covering easy. Remember the usual Halloween safety practices, dress for the weather, wear reflectors, watch for traffic, and check overall treats before eating. If offering candy, allow for touchless trick-or-treating.

 

 If you are over 18 years old, as a responsible adult, kindly skip Halloween this year. The less people participate, the less is the risk. Let’s focus our efforts on ensuring a safe Halloween for children. With so many Halloweens under your belt, I hope we can skip it this year without any difficulty. Unlike children, you don’t qualify for Medical Officer of Health recommendations of indoor parties. In fact, adult-themed Halloween parties, especially parties where alcohol is available, are strongly discouraged. They are a recipe for spreading the virus- a scary recipe. By scary, I don’t mean Halloween scary; I mean real life-and-death scary; emotionally-scaring scary. As we saw with Thanksgiving, parties encourage people to mix and mingle and spread the virus. Even if people recovered from COVID-19 as an illness, the damage to their lifelong friendships and relationships in close-net communities may not recover that well. If you must gather, consider outdoors and limit the numbers. It is the letter of the law to have less than 10 people indoors or 25 outdoors. If you are wondering, the answer is “NO”, these two numbers are not to be combined; either indoors or outdoors.

 

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

 

 To learn more on enjoying a safe Halloween and to avoid becoming an acquaintance with our Contact Tracers through receiving a gazillion phone calls from them in 14 days from Halloween, please visit our website.

 

Let's make Halloween safe and enjoyable for everyone. And I remain,

Yours very truly,

Dr. Ian Arra

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