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December 07, 2023

Local health care leaders encourage residents to #SpreadJoyNotGerms this holiday season

Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/Dec. 7, 2023

A joint statement from the Hastings Prince Edward Ontario Health Team, Quinte Health and Hastings Prince Edward Public Health.

The holiday season is upon us, and local health care leaders are urging residents to take steps to reduce the spread of respiratory illnesses in the community. Taking steps to #SpreadJoyNotGerms will help residents stay #HealthyForTheHolidays.

“We need to protect one another this holiday season and ensure that critical health care services are there for those who need them most. If you’re showing symptoms of a cold, flu, or COVID-19, stay home and only visit the emergency department if it’s an emergency,” said Dr. Robert Pincock, Primary Care Co-Lead with the Hastings Prince Edward Ontario Health Team.

“The holiday season is when we see the highest rates of respiratory illnesses – influenza, COVID-19, and RSV. The public health precautions we are all familiar with are still the best defence against getting sick and reducing the spread of illness to family and friends,” said Dr. Ethan Toumishey, Medical Officer of Health and CEO at Hastings Prince Edward Public Health.

#SpreadJoyNotGerms this holiday season:

  • Stay up to date with your immunizations: COVID-19, flu, and RSV if you are eligible.
  • Skip the holiday party if you’re not feeling well. It is critical to stay home when you are sick and keep your children home if they are sick. Be respectful of others and keep your sniffles at home, and don’t risk spreading infection to the vulnerable.
  • Consider wearing a mask in crowded indoor spaces, and when recovering from illness. If you are attending a busy gathering or interacting with others, wearing a mask will reduce your risk of unknowingly spreading an infection to those you love. If you are recovering from illness, it is especially important to wear a mask for 10 days after your symptoms started.
  • Wash your hands often, and clean high touch surfaces frequently. This is especially important to prevent the spread of influenza and RSV. If you host or attend a holiday gathering, clean high touch surfaces, and encourage guests to wash their hands frequently or use hand sanitizer.
  • Protect our health care services. Doing what you can to limit the spread of illness will help ensure our health care workers are available for those who need them most.

“Let’s make gathering with friends and family this holiday season all the more cheerful by minimizing the spread of germs as much as possible.  These simple tips should add joy to the holidays by keeping us all, and our healthcare resources, healthy,” said Dr. Colin MacPherson, Chief of Staff, Quinte Health.

Details about COVID-19, Cold and Flu Care Clinics, including booking information, can be found at www.hpeoht.ca/covid-cold-flu-care-clinics/.

Get your flu shot or COVID-19 vaccination at local pharmacies. Public Health continues to offer COVID-19 vaccination at select clinics.

“It’s important for our communities to band together to help protect the most vulnerable people in our communities. We’ve heard that this cold and flu season is a challenging one, and each of us have a part to play to make sure that we remain as healthy as can be for the holidays,” says Odila Hoye, Patient, Client, and Partner Representative with the Hastings Prince Edward Ontario Health Team.

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