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HPEPH Supports Proactive Testing at LTC Homes in COVID-19 Outbreak

Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/April 19, 2020 – 6:45pm

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is supporting proactive testing of residents in local long-term care (LTC) homes that are in outbreak for COVID-19. This process was recently implemented in partnership with Hastings County, and resulted in confirmation of 3 new cases of COVID-19 at Hastings Manor over the weekend.

“As we continue our outbreak management support and surveillance, additional staff and residents of Hastings Manor have been monitored, and tested when appropriate” says Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO at HPEPH. “Recent confirmation of additional cases of COVID-19 in the facility has escalated the testing and monitoring process.”

“As part of our outbreak response process, and our ongoing efforts to protect the residents and staff at Hastings Manor, community paramedics are working proactively to test all residents of the facility” says Hastings County Warden Rick Phillips. “These efforts will ensure that any new cases of the virus will be identified and isolated as soon as possible.”

In alignment with the province’s emphasis on improving access to testing, and continued efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 in long term care homes, HPEPH will be taking the following steps if an outbreak of the virus is declared in any local long-term care or retirement facility:

  1. Test any residents with symptoms
  2. Test close contacts of any positive cases – even if asymptomatic
  3. Consider testing of all residents in floor/wing/living area – if appropriate
  4. Consider facility wide testing – if appropriate

This step-wise approach ensures local testing resources are used as effectively as possible, by ensuring that individuals who are most at risk for exposure to COVID-19 have prompt access to testing, and the system maintains the capacity to process tests and provide results quickly and efficiently. HPEPH will also be launching a new online reporting tool early this week, which will identify how many confirmed and probable cases in the region are associated with residents or staff of long-term care homes.

Any local long-term care homes or other health care facilities that are declared as being in outbreak for COVID-19 are posted on HPEPH’s Facility Outbreak page. Additional information about COVID-19 is available at hpePublicHealth.ca. Any individuals who still have questions or concerns after reviewing the website are invited to contact the HPEPH COVID-19 information line at 613-966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803. The information line is open weekdays 8:30 am – 6:30 pm, and weekends 8:30 am – 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 Contacts:

Veronica Montgomery, Foundational Standards Manager
vmontgomery@hpeph.ca

Emily Tubbs, Communications Specialist
etubbs@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.