Protect yourself and others during respiratory season

With the arrival of the fall and winter season, our community faces an increased risk of respiratory illnesses, including the flu, RSV, and COVID-19. As the cooler weather prompts more of us to gather indoors, many hospitals, including West Haldimand General, continues to experience a high demand of patients seeking Emergency Department care.

In response to this situation, West Haldimand General Hospital (WHGH) is encouraging residents of Haldimand-Norfolk to take preventative measures to reduce the spread of respiratory viruses. Once again, we are urging the public to roll up their sleeves to defend themselves against influenza and COVID-19, especially for those with more vulnerable immune systems. The updated COVID-19 vaccine now targets the XBB strain of the Omicron variant, providing enhanced protection against severe COVID-19 and potential effectiveness against currently circulating variants.

“Vaccines remain our most powerful tool in reducing the risk of severe illness from both the flu and COVID-19. As we navigate the challenges of this fall and winter, let’s demonstrate our commitment to one another by taking a simple yet vital step: get your flu shot from your local healthcare provider or visit one of the many accessible local pharmacies and speak with your health care provider about other vaccines that are important for you.” – Dr. Robin Martin-Godelie, Chief of Staff, West Haldimand General Hospital

Early detection of COVID-19 and other viral illnesses are a key factor in reducing its spread and protecting our community. We urge everyone experiencing symptoms to promptly seek testing. Testing is readily available and easily accessible.

If you test positive for COVID-19, we encourage you to contact your primary care provider. Effective treatments are available, and your healthcare provider can guide you through the best course of action for a smoother recovery.

Here are other steps you can take to safeguard yourself, your loved ones, and our community:

  1. Regular Testing: Don’t ignore any symptoms, even mild ones that could be related to COVID-19. Early detection is vital to prevent further spread, and testing is widely available.
  2. Positive Test Results: If you test positive, reach out to your primary care provider without delay. Timely medical attention can significantly impact your recovery.
  3. Vaccination: Check with your healthcare provider to ensure you are up-to-date on your COVID-19 vaccine. Health authorities may recommend updates or booster shots.
  4. Flu Shot: With the flu season approaching, getting a flu shot provides an additional layer of protection and eases the strain on our healthcare system. Schedule your flu vaccination with your healthcare provider.

We acknowledge the challenges of these times and the temptation to let our guard down. However, staying informed, proactive, and taking steps to protect yourself and those around you is essential.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and let’s look out for one another.

For more information or to schedule your COVID-19 vaccination, flu shot, or discuss other healthcare needs, please click here, or contact your primary care provider.