As much as we wish it weren’t true, a sixth wave of COVID-19 is here and once again, we find ourselves forced to make risk mitigation decisions for ourselves, our families and our community. The virus is on its way to becoming endemic, scientists believe, and we have every reason to be optimistic—but we aren’t there yet, and that means preventative measures should still be taken. Here’s an overview of what you can do to stay healthy and safe during this wave.
Wear a high quality mask
At this point, an N95 mask is recommended for use in all public spaces. These masks offer more protection than a cloth mask or blue surgical option due to their exceptional filtration of aerosols. While we do not ask clients to wear masks in their own homes, our caretakers continue to wear a high quality mask during each shift. Our clients’ health is of the utmost importance, as is the health of our caregivers and their families.
Additionally, we recommend that clients wear a mask while out in the community (at the pharmacy or grocery store, for example). It may also be beneficial to ask visitors who work in high risk settings (retail environments or schools, for example) to wear a mask before entering your loved one’s home.
Upgrade your ventilation
A high quality air purifier or HEPA filter is ideal, but it also helps to simply open a few windows. Crack open a window in each common area and bedroom, as well as the bathroom if possible. If your loved one has a screen door, make use of it to increase natural air flow throughout the home. Medical professionals recommend this in any indoor setting as it can reduce the spread of the virus through droplets and/or aerosols. If the weather is nice, open those windows nice and wide! You’ll enjoy the fresh air and sunshine as well as the increased ventilation.
Use rapid tests and isolate if sick
Rapid tests have been a wonderful tool throughout the pandemic, but unfortunately, they are less sensitive to the BA.2 variant that is currently circulating. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use antigen tests—a positive RAT means you definitely have COVID, and that’s helpful to know—it just means a person with symptoms who is testing negative could actually be positive. Knowing this, any individual with COVID symptoms should isolate to avoid spreading the virus to others. While five days is the current government requirement, individuals can be contagious for up to 10 days, on average. If you aren’t sure if you have COVID (or if you know you had it but aren’t sure if you’re still contagious), stay home until you’re feeling better and wear a mask around others. This will help stop community spread!
Get your booster
Vaccination remains one of our strongest defences against COVID-19, so if you qualify for a booster, now is the time. Please contact your family doctor, public health unit or local vaccination centre to inquire about access to a third or fourth dose. Our caregivers can help you navigate this information as needed and even take you to an appointment—just ask! We’re here to help.
As always, thanks for reading and please share this information with anyone who may find it helpful. We wish everyone a happy, healthy Easter weekend with their loved ones!