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HKPR’s top doctor discusses balancing act of living with COVID-19

DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard

KAWARTHA LAKES: With COVID-19 looking like it’s here to stay in Ontario for a while longer, according to Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit’s top doctor, it’s all about balance.

“Our goal is to figure out how we live as a community and a society with COVID-19. We know there are going to be ups and downs. I think COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon within this decade. It will continue to mutate. There might be additional variants. It’s how we figure out a balance of living with it, what level of risk we’re comfortable to live with, associated with it; and perhaps in very high peak seasons, we have some measures, and in between, we don’t. I think we’re quite hopeful vaccination will decrease the level of risk for communities associated with outbreaks of COVID-19. Relatively, we’re still early in the pandemic compared to other pandemics,” medical officer of health Dr. Natalie Bocking said during a recent virtual press conference.

However, she stressed people should not “give up hope,” as she’s still optimistic “we will come out the other side” of this pandemic. Right now, she explained, the health unit is strongly encouraging workplaces “to be encouraging people to work from home” whenever it is possible.

And with the possibility of residents being frustrated with the position everyone is in right now, she also wanted to encourage “people to treat each other with kindness and patience as much as [they] can.”

Dr. Bocking was asked by The Standard if there’s a possibility Ontario residents will need annual booster doses to protect them from COVID-19.

“I think it’s too early to know for sure. I think it is likely, and we’ve seen that with other vaccines and other viruses. So I wouldn’t be surprised. But I think it’s too early to know for sure,” she responded.

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