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Infectious disease rates rising, Algoma health unit warns

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Algoma Public Health said Thursday it has noticed an increasing trend of COVID-19 cases in the region and a rise in wastewater surveillance.

“Cases of influenza also continue to be confirmed in the community,” the health unit said in a news release.

Across Algoma, the weekly incidence of new COVID-19 cases has increased. For the week of Nov. 25, there were 111.7 high-risk cases per 100, 000, an increase from 63.0 per 100, 000 from the previous week.

“In addition there has been a significant increase in the amount of COVID-19 virus found in wastewater samples collected from the water treatment plant in Sault Ste. Marie,” the release said.

“This increase has been a good indicator for increasing infections, not only in Sault Ste. Marie but throughout Algoma.”

Residents are reminded to continue to take the necessary precautions to reduce the risk of contracting and spreading respiratory viruses.

“Vaccination is the most effective way to protect yourself and your family this respiratory illness season,” Dr. John Tuinema, associate medical officer of health, said in the release.

“The COVID-19 and flu vaccines can often be received during the same appointment and are a key step in keeping healthy.”

Getting immunized lowers the risk of severe disease and hospitalization, and decreases the risk of transmitting the infection to those in the community who are at higher risk for complications, such as young children, older adults, and individuals who are immunocompromised.

“Both the COVID-19 and influenza vaccines are safe and effective for people aged six months of age and older,” the health unit said.

“The vaccines are available at participating pharmacies, some primary care providers, and at public health community clinics.”

To book a COVID-19 or flu shot at a public health community clinic, call 705-541-7370, or toll-free 1-888-440-3730. Phone lines are open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on weekdays.

Learn more about the COVID-19 and flu vaccines.

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