Leaders of the Chatham-Kent Ontario Health Team are emphasizing to the community that the local health care system is facing extremely serious strain and urgent help is needed.


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“Make no mistake – COVID-19 is real,” they said in a news release. “The impact on our healthcare system is real. Regardless of the myths spread about this virus online, one thing is certain: the higher the number of COVID-19 positive cases, the more likely our emergency and critical care services will be strained.”

The Chatham-Kent Ontario Health Team includes the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, Family Health Teams, Community Health Centres, Community Service Organizations and the Public Health Unit.

The report states the CKOHT team is aware many people are tired of hearing about COVID-19 and the constant messaging to wear a mask, to follow the lockdown protocols, and to limit visits outside of the home for essential trips like work and groceries.

“We all are feeling the disappointment of cancelled events, arts and recreation programming, and a new year that so far looks much the same as the old,” reads the report. “Our Health Care Teams are tired too, and many are reaching the point of exhaustion. Our Human Resources are increasingly strained with every new case identified.”

The team provided four tips to help protect members of the community and health care system.

1) Understand the severity of the situation we are facing in our own community of Chatham-Kent – COVID-19 is real, and it is in C-K.

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2) Respect the lockdown conditions and follow Public Health measures – limit contact as much as possible with those outside your household and only leave home for essential reasons.

3) If you feel sick or unwell, call your family doctor or primary care provider first. All organizations remain open. If you do not have a primary care doctor, you can connect with a Registered Nurse 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Telehealth by calling 1-866-797-0000. Do not go to the Emergency Room unless facing an acute healthcare emergency.

4) When visiting your doctor, the hospital, or receiving any form of health care, be completely honest about your symptoms when responding to COVID-19 screening questions.

CKOHT says these questions help teams assess the risk of COVID-19 exposure and any additional safety precautions needed to ensure the safety of paramedics and other healthcare workers.

“The lives of every individual in our community depend on you,” reads the report.

Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News

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