The air is crisp and the mountains are looking white, which means flu season is upon us. But wait, are we not in the middle of a viral respiratory pandemic? Yes, yes we are. Unfortunately, these two viruses are around at the same time and it is possible to contract both.
The good news is that we have successfully decreased the spread and severity of the seasonal influenza virus through yearly immunizations. This year, more then ever though, we cannot stress enough, the importance of getting your influenza vaccination. Please get your flu shot to protect yourself and the vulnerable people around you. Pharmacies in town are offering vaccinations on an appointment basis and public health is starting their drop-in program starting November 5 at the Christian Reformed Church on Walnut Drive.
The not so good news is that the numbers of COVID-19 in B.C., Canada and around the world continue to rise. Over the weekend, B.C. reported over 800 new cases over Friday, Saturday and Sunday, which are the highest numbers reported yet. This means that we need to continue to be vigilant and regulate our interactions.
It has been very well documented that non-medical masks, if worn by the majority of people, slows the spread of COVID-19, and we again stress the importance of doing this. Dr Bonnie Henry stated on October 26th that masks are expected to be worn anytime one is in public spaces, and we expect that in our community as well.
Halloween is also happening this week. Dr Henry and public health have put out guidelines on how to do this safely, if you are choosing to participate. This involves limiting the number of people in a group of trick or treaters at a door at once to one group of six, using utensils to hand out candies, wearing masks, washing your hands and cancelling parties. Please also be respectful to your neighbours and friends that are choosing not to participate for safety reasons.
Northern Health has also released new guidelines regarding isolation and infectious period. Please see their statement below and visit their website for more information:
We have learned a lot about COVID-19 since the spring. We now know that individuals infected with the virus often test positive for several weeks and sometimes even for months after their infection due to shedding of remnant non-infectious genetic material. As such, recommendations for determining the infectious period/isolation period have shifted to a non-test-based strategy. There are two main categories of individuals:
1. Those who are not severely immunocompromised and with mild to moderate symptoms that can be managed at home can be considered non-infectious once the following criteria are met: At least 10 days have passed since onset of symptoms; and fever has resolved without use of fever-reducing medication; and symptoms (respiratory, gastrointestinal, and systemic) have improved (not completely resolved).
2. Those with more severe illness (e.g., admitted to hospital directly due to COVID-19) or who are severely immunocompromised can be considered non-infectious once the following criteria are met: 20 days have passed since onset of symptoms; and fever has resolved without use of fever-reducing medication; and symptoms (respiratory, gastrointestinal, and systemic) have improved.
Again, thank you for your dedication and sacrifices so far and going forward. We must all continue to work hard to protect ourselves and others.
Bulkley Valley Medical community