Dr. Paul Roumeliotis on third anniversary of pandemic

Par Raymond Berthiaume
Dr. Paul Roumeliotis on third anniversary of pandemic
Dr. Roumeliotis

The purpose of his letter was to reflect on the many challenges and successes that the community has experienced thus far.

“Within days of the WHO’s pandemic declaration in March 2020, Canada’s federal, provincial and local governments issued emergency orders enacting a series of unprecedented measures to control the spread of COVID-19 in Canada,” Roumeliotis said. “In mid-March, the first case of COVID-19 infection in our region was detected. It was one of many thousands of cases that would go on to dramatically affect our region, along with other areas of Canada, over the next three years as the virus rapidly spread across the globe.”

The pandemic has significantly impacted all aspects of society, he said, including economic, social, and personal. There were thousands of cases and hospitalizations in the EOHU alone, and sadly, he said, there have also been nearly 300 deaths.

“Government and public health authorities, along with the broader healthcare system and a multitude of community partners including local municipalities and school boards, have worked tirelessly to try to protect communities from the devastating effects of the virus as it continually spread and evolved into more contagious variants,” Roumeliotis stated. “Early in the pandemic, restrictions including business and public facility closures, school closures, stay-at-home orders, mask mandates, and limits on visits to hospitals and long-term care homes were implemented in an effort to save lives by curbing the spread of COVID-19. Many less-urgent health and government services were also paused in order to focus fully on this effort.”

Although difficult, these measures have saved countless lives, but Roumeliotis noted that it was clear that there is still much work to do. The widespread closure of businesses, schools, and medical centres cannot easily be recovered from, he said, but the Eastern Ontario Health Unit is strongly committed to working with local community partners to help our region’s residents collectively recover.

“Despite the many hardships, the last three years have been also a time of resilience, adaptation, and progress,” he said. “The rapid set-up of local testing clinics, isolation measures, and case management and contact tracing teams helped to limit spread of the virus. The development and approval of COVID vaccines by late 2020 became a key part of the success in fighting COVID-19’s impact.”

According to the letter, more than 550,000 vaccines have been administered in the region, and effective antiviral medications are also now available.

“Throughout the last three years, our incredible community has showed its heart and spirit by adhering to public health measures to protect one another,” he stated. “Thanks to our residents’ cooperation in respecting restrictions, following public health measures and getting vaccinated, the pandemic’s toll, while significant, has been limited and is slowing. Today, we are thankfully in a period of relative stability in the pandemic, and we are finally able to progressively return to many aspects of normal life.”

Roumeliotis cautioned that although a sense of normalcy is returning, residents must remain vigilant and continue taking personal measures to protect themselves and those around them. This includes keeping COVID vaccinations up to date, staying home when sick, washing hands, and wearing a mask in crowded indoor public spaces.

“I am deeply grateful for the efforts of everyone who has played a role in our response to the pandemic, and to our community for your cooperation and patience over the last three years,” he said. “I am optimistic that by continuing to work together, we will emerge from this pandemic stronger and more resilient than ever before.”

Partager cet article