If we were given a crystal ball a year ago on New Year’s Ev,e I don’t think anyone would be happy to know that we would again be asked to isolate at home, get further vaccinated, and continue to follow Covid protocol. But here we are with a new highly infectious variant called Omicron that is spreading through our communities like wild fire. Like many of you, I was disappointed that restrictions meant seeing fewer people in person and not being able to see many family members over the holidays. Virtual connections have become part of family gatherings as much as it is used for business and community meetings!
This week I, along with other elected representatives from the other levels of government, had the opportunity to attend a briefing session with Dr. Vera Etches, our Chief Medical Officer of Public Health on the Covid situation in Ottawa. Her message was clear – we must continue to follow protocols that have been put in place and get vaccinated to help contain the virus further. Dr. Etches also recommended that anyone who thinks they have Omicron symptoms should assume they have the virus, stay home, and begin isolation. This variant is and will continue to infect a large percentage of the population. Dr. Etches also stated that using test kits when you have symptoms is likely redundant. The infection rate is so high that it is almost inevitable that having symptoms means you are infected, and you should isolate.
During the briefing session I took the opportunity to thank Dr. Etches for her support of parents and for advocating the importance of keeping schools open for in-person learning to help maintain the mental health of both the children and parents. I also passed on the concerns I’ve heard from the community on the difficulty of getting Rapid Testing Kits. Going forward Ottawa Public Health (OPH) will continue to update residents as more kits become available. The good news is the vaccination take-up is very high which greatly reduces the risk of getting very sick even if you do get infected. I hope you will take the time to give OPH a shout out for their well-run vaccination clinics across the city.
Looking ahead 2022 is going to be a busy year with lots going on at the city level. This is also a year of elections, at both the provincial and municipal levels. I am happy to state that I plan to seek re-election as your City Councillor for Bay Ward. I am privileged to hold this position and would be honoured to continue to work with the community on the many projects throughout the ward. Working together we can continue to do so much more to make our neighbourhoods as healthy and vibrant as possible!
Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year ahead. Take care and stay safe.