two yellow sticky notes on a window that say "sorry we are closed" and "covid 19"

New Year, New Restrictions

Lately, Canada has been struggling with the new Omicron variant. Hospitalizations and cases have been rising rapidly so new restrictions have been put in place in hopes to control the spread. It has become so overwhelming that many hospitals and testing sites have been running out of kits. It’s hard to keep up with all the updates, but you can expect that Canada will set the same restrictions as it did back in the autumn of 2020.

New Restrictions

Each province sets their restrictions a little differently, but you can count of them doing similar such as:

  • Restricting the size of the group in restaurants
  • Cutting large capacity gatherings (concerts, sports events, places of worship)
    • To promote social distancing
  • Setting a maximum of guests for a household
  • Closing night clubs and bars
  • Closing gyms
  • Some classes and work moving online
  • Limit who enters care homes

As Canada tries to limit the spread of Omicron, these measures will be in place until mid to late January. Health officials do not want to jump to conclusions too easily so keep an eye on the news for changes that could happen in January. 

As always, remember to wash your hands often and wear your mask in indoor spaces and as much as you can while outdoors. In addition, limit leaving the house to essential trips to the grocery store or health check ups. It’s not great that we have to go back to a “soft lockdown” essentially, but the Omicron is vicious and we need to work together to slow down the infections.

One other thing you can do is get the booster shot. Studies show that you’re less likely to be infected than if you only have two of the vaccine shots. That being said, it doesn’t give you 100% immunity either. Always exercise caution.

What You Need to Know about the Omicron

This strain of Covid was first discovered in South Africa in November 2021. Since then, it has made its way to 110 countries, Canada included. For Canada, its cases are doubling every few days. It’s not only highly transmissible, it also seems to affect people of ages 18-39. Even though it spreads easily, the reported symptoms are not severe. Most of the affected have had sore throats and coughs and a few are experiencing fevers. Despite the symptoms being relatively mild compared to its sibling variants, it’s still dangerous. 

If You Think You Have Omicron

Currently, testing centres and hospitals are so backed up that they don’t have time or room to attend to people who are showing at least two of the symptoms. If you think you have Omicron, you may have to skip testing altogether and quarantine at home for 7-10 days. Contact your local clinic or the health officials in your province and they’ll tell you what to do. 

Going into the New Year

It’s not a great way to start the new year, especially since many will stay at home because of symptoms. It’s a shame that our plans were taken away from us just like that. Thankfully, we know how to deal with this virus and there are ways we can still thrive.

Here at CISM, we want everyone to be safe and healthy so we must adhere to these restrictions. Together, we can overcome the virus. 

Source: Omicron FAQ

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