Peterborough Public Health COVID-19 and Respiratory Virus Risk Index Moves to High Risk

Written by Comms Team, January 4, 2023

COVID-19 Wastewater Data Indicates Transmission is Rising

Peterborough Public Health’s COVID-19 and Respiratory Virus Risk Index has moved to the High-Risk level this week.

“The increase in risk level today is driven by increases in transmission of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses” says Dr. Thomas Piggott, Medical Officer of Health. “As we continue to see the effects of transmission over the holiday period and people return to work and school we anticipate increases to continue. This appears to be part of a provincial and international trend with new variants that are more transmissible yet again.”

“We are already seeing the impacts of this increased transmission on the health care system and health of our community,” Dr. Piggott shared. “Within the last week, we have received 5 new institutional outbreaks related to respiratory infections. We are also seeing high and very high rates of emergency department visits and hospital admissions due to respiratory illness among residents in our community.” Dr. Piggott shared that we are now seeing COVID-19 wastewater levels at a height that we haven’t seen since May 2022. It is anticipated that this increase is likely the result of holiday gatherings, travel, and more time being spent indoors.

In the high-risk level, residents are encouraged to wear a mask when interacting with those from outside their household, gather in outdoors and in smaller groups as much as possible, and limit attendance at high-risk settings. Those who are at higher risk for severe outcomes related to a respiratory infection include older adults, young children and infants, those with compromising medical conditions, and those who are not up to date with COVID-19 and influenza vaccines. For those who are at higher risk, mask use in all interactions with those outside the home is strongly recommended.

In general, Peterborough Public Health recommends the following guidance for local residents:

  • Stay up to date with COVID-19 and influenza vaccines. This means having a dose within the last 6 months.
  • Continue to use a mask indoors and around others with a respirator, e.g., N95 or KN95 (especially if you’re at high-risk).
  • Stay home if sick, even if you have mild symptoms, these could be deadly to someone you pass it along to.
  • Use rapid antigen tests and continue to report both positive and negative test results to PPH using our confidential online reporting survey: com/RAT21.
  • Practice proper hand washing and cough/sneeze etiquette.
  • Get tested and treated if you’re eligible. The assessment centre at Peterborough Regional Health Centre can test and treat patients who are presenting with any respiratory symptoms.
  • Plan ahead. Determine if you are eligible for COVID-19 antiviral treatment and find a location that is prescribing it before you become ill.

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For media inquiries, please contact:

Sarah Gill
A/Communications Manager
705-743-1000, ext. 352