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Letter to The Editor: An open letter to the community from your healthcare workers

December 17, 2021

Dear friends and neighbours across Lanark, Leeds and Grenville, Our communities are facing a very concerning increase in COVID-19 cases. The Omicron variant is here, and it is increasing the pressures on our already fragile health system.

Every person carrying the Omicron variant is infecting more than four other people. By comparison, anyone with the Delta variant currently infects only one other person. We are also seeing increasing volumes of other sick and injured people in our hospitals.

As your local doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers, we need your help. We cannot safely navigate the weeks ahead without you.

Please follow these important safety precautions:

• Get vaccinated, including a third dose. A third dose improves the efficacy of the vaccine, meaning if you do contract COVID-19, your symptoms will be milder. This is better for you and our health system. Visit https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/protection/vaccine-clinics/ for clinic information.

  • Keep a safe distance when with others from outside your household.
  • Wear a mask indoors or near those from outside your household.
  • Wash your hands well and often. This reduces the transmission of all viruses and germs.
  • Please limit social gatherings or keep them small. This is a hard message to share. We all want to celebrate the holidays with our friends and loved ones. But we cannot let our guard down; we must all work together to slow the spread of the Omicron variant.
  • Screen for symptoms of COVID-19 daily.
  • Stay home, isolate, and get tested if you have any symptoms, even mild symptoms.
  • If you are a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case but have not yet been contacted by public health, please self-isolate and get tested.

Please help to ensure that our community can continue to seek emergency and time-sensitive care. We are committed to doing our part, by keeping our hospitals safe through adherence to strict
infection control and cleaning practices and ensuring we follow the important public health guidelines – such as getting vaccinated.

We’ve done this before, and we can do it again. We’re grateful to those in our communities who have been vaccinated and continue to follow these important safety guidelines.

Please stay strong. We need your help to relieve the pressure on our health care system so we can continue to treat those who need help over the winter season.

Signed, your health care teams at,
Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit
Almonte General Hospital
Brockville General Hospital
Carleton Place & District Memorial Hospital
Kemptville District Hospital
Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital