Now you may be asking yourself, “The COVID-19 Assessment Centre is still in business?” As a matter of fact, it is. It’s still on Southgate Road in the south end, and it’s still a resource for people who’ve caught COVID-19, but in the wake of a super-charged cold and flu season, plus the high number of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases, local medical authorities have made the call that the COVID assessment centre needs to expand services.
As of December 1, the Guelph COVID-19 Assessment Centre located at 400 Southgate Drive will be offering care and assessment for people with moderate cold and flu symptoms in addition to the ongoing care and assessment for people with COVID-19.
“Guelph area residents are encouraged to contact their family doctor first before booking an appointment at the Guelph COVID Cold Flu Care Clinic. People with mild respiratory symptoms are advised to monitor their symptoms, rest, and drink plenty of fluids,” said Guelph General Hospital CEO Marianne Walker and Guelph Family Health Team executive director Ross Kirkconnell in a combined statement.
“This pandemic has placed a tremendous burden on our teams, partners in care, and community. We are grateful and thank our teams for their shared commitment and collaboration to ensure those in need receive the best possible care.”
Appointments will be available weekdays from 8:45 am to 4:15 pm as well as Saturdays and Sundays from 9:15 am to 12:45 pm. This service is by appointment only and can be booked by calling (226) 773-1922.
Guelph’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre was one of the first of its kind to open in province, and after initial stints on Delhi Road and then the Victoria Road Recreation Centre it settled into a space on Southgate Road in the fall of 2020.
But now, expanding the focus beyond COVID comes at a moment where Guelph’s COVID indicators are in their healthiest position since the beginning of July. There are just 102 active cases according to last week’s update from Public Health while the 7-day moving rate fell to just 20.8 per 100,000 while the test positivity rate is now just 10 per cent.
Meanwhile, the school absences dashboard from the Upper Grand District School Board is showing that most schools in our area are seeing absentee levels above the baseline set in September. The Weather Network’s weekly Flu Report ranks Guelph’s flu activity as “Localized”, the second highest position, for the week of November 13 to 19.
“Sporadically occurring influenza-like illness and positive flu tests. In addition, outbreaks of influenza-like illness in schools and workplaces, or lab confirmed flu in residential institutions (i.e., nursing homes, etc.) occurring in less than 50 per cent of the region,” it says.
Public Health Ontario says that the overall assessment of flu activity in Ontario is higher for the week of November 13 to 19 when compared to the week before and is currently ranked “moderate”; institutional influenza outbreaks have also increased, and so have activities in health units. At a national level, Public Health Canada says that 49 out of 53 units in Canada are reporting flu activity with most surveillance indicators increasing and “above expected levels typical of this time of year.”
“In recent weeks, the IMPACT network has reported a sharp increase in influenza-associated hospitalizations among the pediatric population,” read the latest flu update. “Currently, the weekly number of pediatric hospitalizations being reported is above levels typically seen at the peak of the influenza season. In week 46, 205 influenza-associated hospitalizations were reported.”
The highest hospital rates for flu right now are among children younger than 5 and adults 65 and over.