To the Residents of Oxford County, Elgin County, and the City of St. Thomas
The cases of COVID-19 in the Southwestern Public Health region are rising again. They are rising at a time when the 7-day average number of cases in Ontario is declining.
Most active cases in our region are in people under the age of 40 who are unvaccinated. Many people testing positive for COVID have no known exposure for COVID – they do not know where or how they became ill.
Before you and your family members leave the house each day, please screen for symptoms of COVID-19. If you have symptoms of illness, you should stay home and get tested. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- New or worsening cough
- Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
- Sore throat, difficulty swallowing
- Loss of taste or smell
- Upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Decreased appetite
- Unexplained fatigue, body/muscle aches
The ONLY way to know if your symptoms are due to a “cold” or COVID-19, is to book an appointment and get tested at one of our local Assessment Centres:
- Woodstock Assessment Centre (1-855-905-6148)
- Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital Assessment Centre (1-855-905-6148)
- St. Thomas Elgin General Assessment Centre (519-631-2020 ext. 6210)
The “rapid tests” available at pharmacies and some workplaces should not be used if someone has COVID symptoms or has been exposed to someone with COVID. Assessment Centres are where you go if you have any symptoms.
I ask you to please keep washing your hands, wearing your face covering, and keeping a safe physical distance between yourselves and others. Avoid crowds and socialize outdoors or in well-ventilated spaces. If you are not vaccinated, please wear your face covering whenever you are around people from other households.
If you have not already, I also ask you to get vaccinated with Pfizer or Moderna – two vaccines now used safely millions of times across our country. These vaccines have proven to be very effective at preventing hospitalization and death. With proof of vaccination, you can enter restaurants, movie theatres, sporting events and concerts, play your favourite indoor sports, and travel internationally. Vaccination clinic information can be found at www.swpublichealth.ca/covid19vaccine.
Finally, if you test positive for COVID-19 and public health calls you with self-isolation instructions, you must follow our guidance. Self-isolation is not only a safety measure for your community, it is also the law.
Please visit our website at www.swpublichealth.ca/covid19 for up-to-date information on COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccines. If your question isn’t answered on our website, please call our Response Centre at 1-800-922-0096 x 9.
Dr. Joyce Lock, Medical Officer of Health
Southwestern Public Health
To read the article on the SWPH Website;