Ottawa’s best doctor urges parents to limit extracurricular activities and sleepovers for unvaccinated children

OTTAWA – Ottawa Medical Officer of Health urges parents of unvaccinated children to limit close contact, including extracurricular activities with different groups and sleepovers, to stop transmission and keep outbreaks of COVID-19 in “rare and limited” schools.

In a letter to parents Friday afternoon, Dr. Vera Etches says her outlook for the fall is “cautiously optimistic,” noting that first-dose vaccination rates among residents 12 and older are approaching. 90% and that hospitalizations remain low.

However, Etches says children under 12 are not vaccinated and rates of COVID-19 are highest in children 5 to 11.

“I know it can be concerning when you hear about cases of COVID-19 in schools. We need your help to keep outbreaks rare and limited, so children and youth don’t miss school in person by having to stay home after exposure to COVID. -19. “

Fifty-six of the 286 active cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa on Friday are in children under the age of 10.

Etches says that although many parents and guardians are vaccinated, it is still “very important” for families to choose actions that make the transmission of COVID-19 to children and youth “less likely.”

“The most common source of COVID-19 infections in children and youth are household members,” writes Dr. Etches.

Etches writes that daily screening for COVID-19 symptoms, physical distancing, limiting the number of close contacts we have, wearing a mask indoors, and getting vaccinated when they are eligible “continue to do so. ‘be very important’.

Etches offers tips for limiting close contact during the fall, especially for unvaccinated children and young people:

  • Limit the number of extracurricular activities where different groups are in close contact

  • Choose outdoor activities as much as possible

  • Avoid prolonged, unmasked indoor exposures such as sleepovers

  • Maintain social activities outside of school to smaller groups to facilitate follow-up in the event of exposure to COVID-19

There were COVID-19 outbreaks in five elementary schools and two high schools in Ottawa on Friday.

Etches urges parents to follow Ottawa Public Health’s online screening tool for daily screening.

You can read the full letter to parents and guardians of Dr. Etches on the Ottawa Public Health website.

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