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Updated respiratory illness numbers provided at HKPR meeting


DAN CEARNS The Standard


KAWARTHA LAKES: Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPR) board members received an update on respiratory illness season, at a board meeting on Thursday, November 16th.

Respiratory illness season starts at the end of August, according to local medical officer of health Dr. Natalie Bocking.

Respiratory viruses can include COVID-19, Influenza and Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

“We know this is a time when multiple respiratory viruses increase in the community, [and] affect, really, all ages of the population,” Dr. Bocking said.

Dr. Bocking noted, last autumn “saw much higher than usual emergency department [activity]: hospital admissions, related to not just COVID-19 but also other respiratory viruses which we hadn’t seen for a couple of years.”

“So far, this [Autumn], we’re mirroring a more typical respiratory season, but certainly [COVID-19] is in the mix of all of that,” she added.

Additionally, the local medical officer stated, she doesn’t expect this illness season to peak until December or early January.

So far, the health unit has seen 22 COVID-19 outbreaks, 25 hospital admissions and four COVID-19 related deaths. In terms of Influenza, the health unit has six lab-confirmed cases but no hospital admissions.

“We are continuing to see outbreaks of COVID-19 in long-term care homes and hospital settings: so, what we call congregate settings,” Dr. Bocking said.

The health unit’s medical officer said, while “people don’t like to talk about COVID-19,” the numbers show, “as much as we like to think it is behind us, it’s now a regular part of our respiratory viruses which will impact us and does continue to have a significant impact on individuals,especially those people who are of an advanced age.”

She pointed out, 20 of the 25 hospital admissions for COVID-19 have been people over the age of 70.

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