(Councillor Gower provides his first community update for 2022 from the Crossing Bridge Community Rink on January 8.)
The holidays are over and this week Councillor Gower is back at work. He provides an update to the community on the pandemic, and in particular, the Omicron variant. He shares his own personal situation having had COVID over the holidays. He also shares information on upcoming vaccination and booster clinics being held by Ottawa Public Health. He wishes everyone a Happy New Year and thanks essential workers, parents, children and business owners who are dealing with the existing restrictions.
Happy New Year! After a short break for the holidays, I’m back in the virtual office this week and catching up on your phone calls and messages. A lot of my attention continues to be on the evolving COVID-19 situation.
We’ve entered a new phase in the pandemic and that means some big changes. It’s confusing, and sometimes it feels like a complete reversal of previous advice that we’ve all gotten used to.
With the Omicron variant, our public health approach has changed. Before, the focus was on containment, where we tried to find every person with COVID and stop transmission. But because Omicron is so transmissible, we’ve shifted to mitigating harm: preventing severe illness and hospitalization and maintaining critical services.
The best mitigation is a booster shot, and staying home when you’re sick.
Vaccination has made a big difference in reducing the severity of the illness. Most people experience mild symptoms, although some people are still getting sick enough to require hospitalization.
Ottawa Public Health has added additional drop-in booster appointments for residents aged 60 and older, educational and childcare workers, employees, volunteers and caregivers of residents of long-term care homes, and pregnant individuals. There are also lots of appointments available at community clinics – plenty to get everyone a booster shot within the next 2-3 weeks. Click here for more information…
If you have symptoms such as a fever or chills, a cough, shortness of breath, or a decrease/loss of smell and taste, you and your household members must self-isolate. Learn more about symptoms and isolation…
Omicron is highly contagious, and yes, we might all get the virus eventually – but that’s not reason to let down your guard! Get vaccinated, because with vaccination your illness will be less severe. And it’s still worthwhile to be cautious and limit your potential exposure, so that we don’t all get sick at once and overwhelm our health care system.
Finally, the pandemic and restrictions are affecting everyone differently. Health care professionals deserve our thanks and acknowledgement for the care that they continue to provide in difficult conditions. Kids, parents, and teachers are struggling through this latest phase of in-person school closures. Business owners are affected by restrictions and staffing shortages. There are essential workers from many sectors who service our community. On behalf of our community, thank you.
More on my web site:
- New groups eligible for drop-ins, over 40K COVID-19 vaccination appointments still available this week
- City implements reservation system for its four outdoor refrigerated rinks
- Emergency child care services for eligible families
- City in-person counter services suspended or altered due to Omicron surge
Get in touch!
My team and I are working every day to answer your questions and connect residents with the resources they need. If we can help in any way, please email me at email@example.com or leave a voicemail at 613-580-2476. NEW: Message us on WhatsApp at 613-277-0193. – Councillor Glen Gower