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As temperatures drop in the north, COVID-19 cases climb

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Colder temperatures are chasing people inside where it's warm, but health officials in the region say this is also forcing COVID case numbers and outbreaks to climb.

Some northern Ontario health units haven't seen such high numbers since winter 2022.

Health officials encourage people to get protected.

“We have now reached levels we have not seen since February and March 2022,” said Afzaa Rajabali of Public Health Sudbury & Districts.

“Hospitalizations have been steadily increasing and have also reached levels we have since February and March 2022.”

As of Tuesday, Rajabali said there are 122 new cases of COVID-19 in the Sudbury area, 36 new hospitalizations and seven new outbreaks in highest-risk settings.

“Public Health Sudbury & Districts released the new dashboard, it’s called the Respiratory Illness Surveillance Dashboard and it provides information about local activity levels of respiratory illnesses including COVID-19, influenza and RSV,” she said.

The dashboard is available on the health unit’s website and is updated every Tuesday at 4 p.m.

While the porcupine health unit says it doesn’t have numbers to report, it did say cases are rising.

Kendra Luxmore of the Porcupine Health Unit said they are recommending all individuals aged six months and older get an annual influenza shot as well as COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo from video)

“I don’t have the actual exact rate of new cases but I do know from our surveillance the rates from last week have gone up,” said Kendra Luxmore of the Porcupine Health Unit

“So we’ll be reporting either a lower, moderate or higher rate compared to the previous and this week we are reporting higher.”

Beginning this week, the health unit is booking people at its vaccine clinics.

“We’re recommending that all individuals aged six months and older get an annual influenza shot as well as COVID 19 vaccine,” Luxmore said.

And she said it’s OK to get both at the same time.

“Yes it’s absolutely OK and it’s actually recommended to come in and receive both vaccines at the same appointment.”

The health unit is also noticing an increase in vaccine-preventable diseases such as meningitis and pertussis and suggests ensuring all vaccines are up to date.

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