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As Local Cases of COVID-19 Increase, Public Health Reminds Residents to Take Necessary Precautions to Prevent the Spread

Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/March 30, 2020 – 8:30pm

Local Public Health officials are reminding residents of Hastings and Prince Edward Counties (HPEC) that everyone has a role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19. As lab confirmed and probable cases continue to be reported in the region, residents are reminded that ongoing physical distancing will reduce the risk of community spread. At the time of release, there are 7 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in HPEC. In addition to lab-confirmed cases, 219 probable cases have been identified in the region.

All lab-confirmed and probable cases are required to self-isolate for 14 days, or until 24 hours after their symptoms resolve, whichever is longer. Contacts of COVID-19 cases are identified and managed according to their level of risk. Close contacts with a high-risk exposure are also required to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms following last exposure to the case.  Other contacts may be directed to monitor for symptoms over a period of 14 days.

At this time, a probable case is a person exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 who has travelled to outside of Canada, has had close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, or has had close contact with a person who has acute respiratory illness and has travelled outside of Canada  – 14 days prior to onset of illness. As testing for COVID-19 is being prioritized based on Ontario Ministry of Health criteria, local surveillance needs, and available resources, it is not possible or necessary to conduct lab testing for all probable cases. Without confirmed lab results, it is difficult to estimate how many probable cases are truly COVID-19, however residents should recognize that there are increasing numbers of cases in the community, and take all necessary precautions to help prevent the spread.

“Practising physical distancing is critical to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community, and everyone has a role to play by reducing their physical interaction with others.” says Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO at HPEPH. “Leave home only for essential reasons, such as getting groceries or prescriptions once a week or less, accessing health care services when needed, and helping vulnerable community members do the same. Limit your close contacts to those in your household, and if you must be in public, stay at least 2 metres away from others to protect yourself and those around you.”

For additional information, residents are encouraged to visit hpePublicHealth.ca. The HPEPH web site contains current information about COVID-19, including the number of local lab confirmed and probable cases, as well as answers for many frequently asked questions. Residents of Hastings and Prince Edward Counties who still have questions about COVID-19 after reviewing the online content can call the COVID-19 information line at 613-966-5500. The line is open 8:30 am to 8:30 pm Monday to Friday, and 8:30 am to 4:30 pm on weekends.

Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.

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Media Contacts and Resources:

Emily Tubbs, Communications Specialist
etubbs@hpeph.ca

Veronica Montgomery, Foundational Standards Manager
vmontgomery@hpeph.ca

Audio clip for media use – Dr. Oglaza Discusses Physical Distancing

About Hastings Prince Edward Public Health

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is a public health agency that serves the counties of Hastings and Prince Edward from four local offices. We monitor the health of our local population, deliver programs and services within our communities, and help develop healthy public policies. We provide information and support in many areas to help improve the health and well-being of our residents. Together with our communities, we help people become as healthy as they can be. For more information, please visit hpePublicHealth.ca. You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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In-person services are gradually resuming by appointment only. Please review our Service Interruptions page for more information about the current status of HPEPH services, as well as what to expect if you visit our office.

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