The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit is set to unveil an all-encompassing respiratory illnesses dashboard starting Tuesday, Nov. 7. This innovative dashboard will not only continue to feature COVID-19 data but will also incorporate information on other respiratory viruses, including influenza. Serving as an indicator of the community’s risk level, the dashboard aims to keep the public informed and prepared.
For years, the Health Unit has diligently provided COVID-19 surveillance data through the COVID-19 surveillance report dashboard. The new respiratory illnesses dashboard will supersede its predecessor and will be accessible on the Health Unit website every Tuesday by noon. This revamped dashboard introduces several key enhancements:
- Inclusion of Influenza Data: The dashboard now encompasses influenza data alongside COVID-19 statistics.
- Weekly Summary: The weekly interpretation section has been rebranded as the Summary, offering insights into changes from the previous week and trends over the past 12 months.
- Comprehensive Information: The dashboard incorporates data on outbreaks in high-risk settings such as long-term care homes, retirement homes, hospitals, and congregate living settings. Additionally, it includes hospitalization information and features a Syndromic Surveillance tab, encompassing respiratory-related hospital visits and wastewater surveillance.
Wastewater surveillance for COVID-19 involves testing for viral gene fragments shed by both asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals into municipal wastewater systems. This innovative approach aids in identifying COVID-19 trends in the region, enabling effective resource mobilization in response efforts.
To assist the public in understanding these changes, a dedicated section of Frequently Asked Questions has been provided within the dashboard. These resources aim to clarify the implications of the alterations for individuals accustomed to the previous COVID-19 Surveillance Report Dashboard.
It is essential to note that the data presented in the dashboard offers insights into the presence of respiratory illnesses in the LGL area, aiding in assessing the risk of infection. In the event of an escalated risk, the Health Unit is committed to enhancing communication with the public.
As the respiratory season, encompassing COVID-19, unfolds, the Health Unit emphasizes the following recommendations to safeguard public health:
- Stay Home When Sick: Individuals experiencing symptoms are advised to stay home for at least 24 hours after their symptoms have improved and their fever has subsided. For gastrointestinal symptoms, a 48-hour post-improvement period is recommended.
- Stay Updated with Vaccines: Staying current with both COVID-19 and flu vaccines is crucial in minimizing the risk of respiratory illnesses.
- Practice Good Hygiene: Frequent and proper handwashing, coupled with wearing well-fitted masks indoors, particularly around those at higher risk of severe infection, remains imperative.
For the latest and most comprehensive information on respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19 and influenza, the public is encouraged to visit the Respiratory Infections section on the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit’s website.