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Health Unit sets up new COVIDguide page

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With COVID-19 testing protocols changing in Ontario, our Health Unit is looking to help residents understand when they should be going for a test.  

They’ve set up a new page on their website

Shannon Mantha, Executive Director of Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Officer, says the page provides links and guidance on what to do in a variety of situations.  

“This is just to clarify if you’ve been exposed if you have symptoms, who is eligible for testing, who is not eligible at present for testing and what to do about it, so next steps.  We tried to put something up there that’s very clear,” she says. 

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Dr. Jim Chirico, Medical Officer of Health, says he understands the quick and frequent changes can be confusing.  

“By following public health measures and taking precautions as if you have COVID-19, you can help to slow the spread among people in our communities, help our hospitals avoid crisis and allow our businesses to recover more quickly,” he says. “The data are showing that although Omicron is less severe than other variants, the sheer number of people getting infected in a short period of time could result in critical hospital bed shortages.”

Dr. Chirico also expects a transition when reopening again.  

“I don’t think it’ll be an on-off (switch) where we’ve got all of these restrictions and then no restrictions.  I think there may still be some put in place in the future when we start to reopen,” he says. 

Over the past two weeks, the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit says 808 cases of COVID-19 were reported, which is over five times higher than the number of cases reported in the previous two weeks. 

On top of that, Dr. Chirico says the number of people testing positive is an underrepresentation of the number of people who actually have the virus.  “Don’t assume your symptoms are a cold or flu,” he says. 

Individuals without internet access can contact the Health Unit’s call centre at 1-844-478-1400 or 705-995-3810 for advice.

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