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COVID-19 Information Line Hours Extended in Response to First Lab-Confirmed Case in Community

Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/March 19, 2020 – 3:25 pm

The first lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 has been identified in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties in an individual who has recently returned from travel outside of Canada. This individual developed symptoms of COVID-19, sought medical care immediately, and remains in self-isolation at home. This case confirms that COVID-19 is in our community, reinforcing the need for all individuals to engage in social distancing, remain home if sick, and implement regular infection control practices.

As announced by Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) on March 16, there are also probable cases of COVID-19 in our community. Probable cases are advised to self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days. A probable case is defined as a person with a fever (over 38 degrees Celsius) and/or a cough and any of the following within 14 days prior to onset of illness:

  • travel to an impacted area, or
  • close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, or
  • close contact with a person with acute respiratory illness who has been to an impacted area.

“Testing is being prioritized based on Ontario Ministry of Health criteria and our local surveillance needs,” says Dr. Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO at HPEPH, “all cases are instructed to remain in self-isolation until they are no longer infectious as determined by public health”. Travellers returning from anywhere outside Canada have been directed to self-isolate for 14 days following their return and to contact HPEPH if they develop symptoms.

In response to the increased need for community screening and information, the HPEPH COVID-19 information line will be extending its hours. Effective today, the call line will operate 8:30 am to 8:30 pm Monday to Friday, and 8:30 am to 4:30 pm on weekends.  Callers are assessed for risk of COVID-19 based on their travel history, symptoms, and the Ministry of Health case definitions.

The HPEPH website, is continuously updated and contains current information and answers for many questions about COVID-19, infection control, and outbreak preparedness. 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.

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


Media Contact:
Veronica Montgomery, Foundational Standards Manager

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 You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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1) Our offices are temporarily closed to the public to allow us to respond to COVID-19 demands. Phone lines remain open. Please access our media release for more information.

2) Returning travellers must self-isolate for 14 days and contact Public Health if symptoms of COVID-19 develop.

If you have returned from travel anywhere outside of Canada, you must self-isolate for 14 days and immediately contact Public Health or your local health care provider if you develop symptoms of COVID-19. Earlier this month all travellers were asked to self-isolated when they returned to Canada. Effective March 25, the federal government made this isolation mandatory under the Quarantine Act to better protect our most vulnerable citizens. Each of us must make the responsible decision to follow the advice of health authorities. It’s in everyone’s best interest to do everything we can to stop the spread of COVID-19.