Jarvis: It doesn’t feel like we’re all in the same boat; we have the impression of being alone.

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A loved one suffers from a sore throat, possible fever and chills.

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Is it COVID-19?

May be. Maybe not. Who knows?

Because if you don’t need a hospital, you’re on your own.

There are so many cases that Ontario cannot test everyone with symptoms. The government reported 13,500 new cases on Monday, but in reality “we have no idea,” said Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj, whose hospital operates an assessment center. “Daily numbers really don’t mean much right now. “

Ontario was therefore forced to focus on hospital admissions to gauge the severity of this fifth wave which looks like the 555th wave.

“Based on current trends,” Premier Doug Ford said Monday, announcing a three-week partial lockdown and the cancellation of elective surgeries, “our public health experts tell us we could see hundreds of thousands of case every day “.

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It is mind boggling.

Expect 20-30% absenteeism across the economy, he warned, as people get sick.

Schools are closed until at least January 17 because the government predicts that there will not be enough teachers to staff them.

“We’re not going to be able to stop it. We will have to mitigate it as best we can, ”said Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore.

Access to publicly funded PCR testing is limited to people who are symptomatic and at high risk of serious illness or who live in high-risk settings.

And good luck finding a quick antigen test. The ones the government was offering here before Christmas are gone in an hour, and pharmacies don’t.

So if you are feeling sick the government advises you, assume it is COVID-19, stay home and tell your friends.

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It is as if we have all been appointed locum physicians and public health experts.

A press release from the Windsor Essex County Health Unit on Monday listed the most common symptoms to look for. There are a dozen of them. Many are the same symptoms you would experience if you had a cold or the flu.

If you find out that you probably have COVID-19, then isolate yourself. But there are new rules for isolation, and they are different for people who are vaccinated and those who are not. Better to click on the links for instructions as the health unit does not have time to call you.

And notify everyone you’ve been in close contact with, because the health unit also doesn’t have time to do this. The federal government also removed its COVID Alert app because too few people were using it.

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What should you tell your friends? Whether or not they might have been exposed to COVID-19? Whether or not they might need to isolate? At least you’ll know not to tell them to get tested.

We don’t feel like we’re all in the same boat. We have the impression of being alone.

The only bright spot is that there is clearer evidence that the Omicron variant causes less severe disease than the Delta variant. A Public Health Ontario study shows that Omicron’s risk of hospitalization and death is 54% lower than that of Delta.

Still, about one percent of people infected with Omicron will need hospital care, Ford said. And one percent of the hundreds of thousands of potential cases is way more beds than we have.

“Ontario Health modeling tells us we could run out of thousands of beds in the next few weeks,” he said.

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Admissions are triple digits every day now.

“If we don’t do everything we can to get this variant under control, the results could be catastrophic,” the prime minister said.

Mike Ryan, head of health emergencies for the World Health Organization, was asked by statnews.com, the Boston Globe’s health information website, if there were things he wished he had. the world does differently.

“This interview could take a while,” he replied.

“The biggest collective failure has been that we have underestimated this microbe,” he said.

“Time and time again, governments have tried to get back to normal and have overstepped this trail by opening up too early. Lift restrictions too early. They haven’t really convinced people or empowered people to continue with these basic measures to reduce the risk of infection. “

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He’s not suggesting that we should have locked up for two years. He cited countries that have maintained strict measures for masks, physical distance and testing. He called it a “more comprehensive layered strategy.” They aren’t locked, but they haven’t fully opened either.

“They took the turn without understeer or oversteer,” he said. “They got people to buy into the idea that it’s going to take a long time and that it will take a sustained effort. I think if everyone had done this maybe we would be in a better place.

But we didn’t. So here we are, entering our third year in this pandemic.

ajarvis@postmedia.com

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