TORONTO, April 2, 2021 – The most important things everyone can do to stop the spread of COVID-19 are get vaccinated and follow public health guidelines. Doing so will support the many steps public health doctors are taking to keep us all safe. Our individual behaviours over the next few weeks will determine how much longer the pandemic will continue.
Ontario doctors ask that you do the following to keep yourself, your loved ones and your communities safe this weekend and beyond.
1. Get the first vaccine you are offered.
They are all safe and effective.
2. Celebrate only with members of your household.
The virus spreads when people come into contact with each other. It is essential that you avoid gathering with anyone other than household members. If you live alone, you may consider joining one other household. This doesn’t mean you can’t connect with your friends and family. As we did during the winter holiday season, explore virtual options for celebrating together and create new virtual traditions.
3. Wear a mask.
Wearing a mask protects you from spreading the virus to others. Keep your mask on unless you are home with your housemates or outside and can maintain a guaranteed minimum of two metres distance from others. Remember to wash your mask – and your hands – frequently.
4. Avoid travel.
Stay home. Do not travel between regions, provinces or countries except for essential reasons. Traveling poses a major risk as you could unknowingly carry the virus and its variants to a new region or bring it back to your community. The best way to stay safe is to stay where you are.
5. Do not assume that a two-week isolation before a get-together is safe.
It is difficult to maintain a true quarantine with zero contacts. Even one trip on public transit, a stop at the store or a lapse in physical distancing could put everyone you gather with at risk. This weekend, the best way to gather is virtually.
6. Get tested if you suspect you have COVID.
If you have confirmed or suspected exposure to COVID-19 or if you experience any COVID-19 symptoms, you must get tested for COVID-19. Testing is key to understanding where and how COVID-19 is spreading in the community. If there is a chance you may have COVID-19, getting tested and confirming your status is the best gift you can give your community.
7. Trace your contacts if you get COVID.
If you get COVID-19 you MUST trace your contacts so anyone you may have exposed to the virus knows to get tested. This also enables your public health unit to trace the virus transmission in your community. You can keep track of your contacts by downloading the COVID Alert app or manually logging the places you go and the people you come into contact with. Link to our pocket journal.
8. Connect virtually with others who may be lonely.
Staying connected virtually with friends and family, especially those who are vulnerable, live alone or are elderly is a great way to safely celebrate spring holidays.
9. Take care of your mental health.
The necessary limitations on another holiday can impact your mental health. Pay attention to how you are feeling and try talking about the emotions you experience. If you need additional support, seek care from a trained professional. Those you love may also be struggling with their mental health. If you are able, reach out to them virtually to listen and help them feel supported.
10. Talk about your health and safety concerns.
If you feel pressure to participate in an activity or gathering that doesn’t make you feel safe, be honest about your concerns. If a loved one communicates their concerns about an activity to you, it is important that you listen to them and respect their wishes. Everyone is concerned about their health. The best gift you can give is to be honest about your intentions to protect your health and the health of those around you and to listen to others when they communicate their intentions to you.
For more information about how to stay safe visit https://www.askontariodoctors.ca/