The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce is monitoring the local COVID-19 situation closely and we will continue our commitment to keeping our members and the business community up to date on guidelines and protocols that affect local businesses at they become available.
Locally, we’ve been very fortunate throughout most of the pandemic to have been spared high case counts. In the last two weeks however, we’ve seen just how easily that can change once COVID-19 gets a foothold. We want to encourage our members and the community to stay vigilant and take every precaution to ensure the safety of their coworkers and their fellow Saultites by:
- wearing a mask (three-layered face masks that cover the nose and mouth are recommended)
- continuing to physical distance
- monitoring for symptoms and staying home when you don’t feel well.
- getting tested when you exhibit COVID-related symptoms
- getting vaccinated (and getting your booster) when eligible
- continuing with daily screening procedures
- ensuring that your business is continuing with contact tracing protocols (to assist with tracing if needed)
Earlier this year, the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce and STRIVE YPG helped found the Algoma Vaccination Support Council. We continue to support and encourage all members of the community to get vaccinated (and receive boosters) as they become available.
The Chamber, in partnership with STRIVE YPG and the AVSC, contines to offer FREE Rapid Test Kits to small businesses with fewer than 150 employees. These test kits can help identify asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 and help stop workplace spread of the virus.
We have observed recent local social media posts that have questioned the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines as provincial COVID cases have risen (and come close to being on par) among fully vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. It is important to remember that with almost 90% of eligible Ontarians age 12 and over fully vaccinated, 300 cases from 90% of the population (vaccinated) is a significantly lower incidence rate than 300 from cases from 10% of the population (unvaccinated).
Ontario’s hospitalization and ICU data also continues to support the benefits of vaccination. (Data: November 24th, 2021)
Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?
Yes. Only vaccines that Health Canada has approved and determined are safe and effective will be administered in Ontario. Health Canada has one of the most rigorous scientific review systems in the world. Health Canada only approves a vaccine if it is safe, it works, it meets manufacturing standards, and the benefits of being vaccinated outweigh the risks.*
Should I be worried about a vaccine that was developed so quickly?
No. Only vaccines that Health Canada has approved and determined are safe and effective will be administered in Ontario. These vaccines were developed faster than other vaccines because of the never-beforeseen levels of collaboration and funding invested in this effort around the world. The technology behind the vaccines has been around for more than 10 years and have already been used in animal models for influenza, zika virus, rabies virus, cytomegalovirus (CMV) and others. As this advanced technology already existed, scientists were able to work quickly.*
What are the longer-term side effects of this vaccine?
Ongoing studies of longer-term side effects of the vaccines indicate no serious side effects found to date. People who have received the vaccine in studies continue to be monitored for any longer-term side effects.*
* Sourced from Ontario Ministry of Health
If you or someone in your workplace has questions about the vaccine, please reach out to a trusted health care professional to get answers.
There are times when individual needs and rights take a back seat to the broader needs of society
“For many health issues, we can rightly assert our own right to assess the risks and benefits of various preventive and treatment options, but pandemics are different. They can only be managed successfully by collective actions at the level of the community and require us to put the health needs of society at a higher level. Relatively small limits to our individual choice has always been a price we pay for living safely in a community. Bigger threats may require bigger sacrifices for a short time to enable a return to an acceptable level of community safety. A community’s success depends on people coming together, thinking beyond the individual for a broader purpose. It’s always been that way.”
– Dr. Cory Neudorf, Interim Senior Medical Health Officer, Saskatchewan Health Authority and Professor at the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine, Department of Community Health and Epidemiology. November 25, CBC
Supporting our local businesses during this period
The last 21 months have been extremely difficult for local businesses, particularly retailers and the food service industry. These are businesses that employ your family members and your friends, and support local charities, local sports, and local arts. They need your support and the holiday season is the most important time of the year for many of them.
One of the easiest things we can do to help keep local COVID-19 numbers in check is to avoid unnecessary travel outside of the community.
There has never been a better time, or a bigger need, than RIGHT NOW, to support our local businesses.