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Going to New Year’s gatherings when sick ‘puts everyone at risk,’ Ottawa Public Health warns

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Skip the parties this weekend if you’re sick, Ottawa Public Health warned alongside an update pointing to “high levels” of influenza, COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus circulating in the capital.

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“Many of you will have gatherings planned in the coming days, including New Year’s Eve celebrations,” the health unit said Thursday with its weekly “snapshot” of respiratory virus activity.

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“We know you’re looking forward to these events (and) it can be hard to cancel on friends (and) family.

“But if you’re sick, attending a gathering puts everyone at risk.”

People should also wear a mask and screen themselves for symptoms “every time” if visiting an older person or a long-term care or retirement home, OPH said. The health unit recommends wearing a well-fitted mask in crowded indoor settings like malls and theatres, getting a flu shot and staying up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccines.

Overall, flu activity was down in Thursday’s update based on wastewater monitoring, the per cent of lab tests coming back positive and outbreaks in health-care settings while COVID-19 and other respiratory virus activity were both similar to the week before, OPH said.

The latest statistics from Ottawa Public Health on the viral situation in the city.
The latest statistics from Ottawa Public Health on the viral situation in the city. Photo by OPH /jpg

There were 1,174 respiratory-related trips to hospital emergency departments among 6,516 total visits in the week starting Dec. 18, OPH reported. The visits for respiratory illnesses included 391 by children aged three and under and 205 by children aged four to 11.

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