Simple precautions needed to stop rising reports of respiratory and enteric illness

Recent increases in respiratory and enteric illnesses have led to several outbreaks being declared in hospital and long-term care and retirement homes that put patients at increased risk of illness. Based on its weekly respiratory illness surveillance, Public Health Sudbury & Districts is also reporting high case activity and very high local hospital activity for respiratory illness, and enteric illnesses have been increasing over the winter months.

“Respiratory illnesses, like COVID-19 and influenza, can affect all of us, but these can lead to much more severe health complications for people in hospitals, long-term care homes, retirement homes, and other congregate care settings,” said Jonathan Groulx, a manager in Public Health’s Health Protection Division. “The very young, elderly, and people with certain medical conditions are at higher risk of worse health outcomes, and each of us can take simple precautions to stop the spread of respiratory and enteric illness and keep our community safe,” said Groulx.

Protect yourself and others, and prevent the spread of illness:

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly for at least 15 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand rub if your hands are clean and a handwashing basin is not available.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and discard used tissues immediately in the garbage and wash your hands.
  • If you are at higher risk of severe outcomes from infection, consider wearing a mask in crowded indoor public settings.
  • Stay up to date with your COVID-19 vaccinations. The vaccine protects you from severe illness and hospitalization, and builds longer term protection against the virus.
  • Get vaccinated for influenza, pneumococcal disease, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) if eligible, and stay up to date with vaccinations.
  • Stay home when you are sick. If you must leave your home, for example, for testing or medical care, wear a well-fitted mask.
  • Follow the guidelines of any hospitals or long-term care or retirement homes you are visiting regarding masking, handwashing, and avoid visiting residents or patients if not feeling well.

Public Health works closely with hospitals, long-term care homes, retirement homes, and other congregate care settings to ensure infection prevention and control measures are in place and to help control outbreaks of illness and minimize spread to people who are most vulnerable.

Public Health publishes weekly information online about local activity levels of respiratory illness, including COVID-19, influenza, and RSV, and posts information about all active outbreaks in the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts related to respiratory and enteric illness.

For more information on respiratory and enteric illness and precautions to take, please visit or call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).

This item was last modified on January 4, 2024