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First COVID-19 Death Confirmed in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties

Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/March 31, 2020 – 4:30 pm

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) has received lab confirmation of an eighth local case of COVID-19 that has resulted in the death of the affected individual. This is the first instance of lab-confirmed COVID-19 in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties acquired through transmission within the community, rather than through travel or close contact with a confirmed case, as with previous local cases.

“I offer my sincere condolences to the family and friends who have been impacted by this loss of life,” says Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO at Hastings Prince Edward Public Health. “This reinforces the reality of COVID-19 in our community and I urge individuals to do everything they can to prevent its spread, recognizing that many are at higher risk from the virus. Stay home, avoid contact with vulnerable individuals, practise physical distancing, and wash your hands frequently.”

Assessment is available to anyone who believes they have been exposed to COVID-19, and testing is available to those who qualify. To date, hundreds of tests have been collected from residents of Hastings and Prince Edward Counties and sent to the Public Health Ontario Laboratory. Testing is currently being prioritized to ensure those who need the tests most receive appropriate care. Our partners in Ontario Health are leading the development of local assessment centres.

Lab-confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 both receive the same direction: self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days – including from others in your home – monitor symptoms, keep HPEPH apprised of any changes in health or symptoms, and wear a mask if you must leave home to seek medical attention.

Visit the HPEPH website, hpePublicHealth.ca for current information and answers to many questions about COVID-19. Individuals who still have questions can call the COVID-19 information line at 613-966-5500, Monday to Friday between 8:30 am and 8:30 pm and weekends from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

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

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Media Contact:
Karen La Rose, Communications Coordinator
klarose@hpeph.ca

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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Alerts:

1) Our offices are temporarily closed to the public to allow us to respond to COVID-19 demands. However, phone lines remain open. The COVID-19 information line is operating 7 days a week (excluding statutory holidays) from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. All other program lines are operating Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

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.