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Media Release: Board of Health Update – October 2020

Today, the Hastings Prince Edward Board of Health (HPEPH) held its monthly meeting for October 2020. The meeting was conducted by teleconference as part of HPEPH’s efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and practice physical distancing. 

COVID-19 Update

Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO, updated the board on a number of provincial changes enacted in response to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, which was declared by health officials in late September. For Hastings and Prince Edward Counties, this will mean mandatory face covering in all indoor businesses/establishments across the province (with limited exemptions), and a temporary pause on social circles. All Ontarians have been asked to limit close contact only to people living in their own household. Those who live alone should limit close contacts to one other household.

Safer Thanksgiving Celebrations

Dr. Oglaza asked all residents to celebrate Thanksgiving in safer ways this year in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“Right now, the best thing you can do to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect those who are at risk is limit your close contacts to only those in your household. It is not a good year to participate in multi-generational gatherings, buffets or potlucks, or invite guests from out of town into your home,” said Dr. Oglaza. “To protect yourself and those you care about, consider having a virtual Thanksgiving celebration, skipping a traditional meal and enjoying a fall walk or hike together, hosting a small outdoor picnic where all households bring their own food, and staying at least two metres apart from those who are not in your household.”

Dr. Oglaza also expressed his thanks for the continued efforts of the community to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and wished all residents a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

Influenza Immunization

Getting the flu shot is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic. Getting vaccinated protects you, those around you, and the most vulnerable members of the community. Getting the vaccine will also help reduce serious cases of the flu in our region and help ensure that health care resources remain available for those who need them the most. This year, Ontario is prioritizing early distribution of the flu vaccine for vulnerable populations in long-term care homes, hospitals and retirement homes. In addition, high-dose flu vaccines will be available at participating pharmacies for the first time.

The flu vaccine is available through your primary care provider and participating pharmacies. HPEPH will be offering flu vaccination clinics later in October for individuals who cannot access the vaccine elsewhere.  

Social Determinants of Health

The social determinants of health are a group of non-biological factors beyond a person’s control that influence long term health and wellbeing. Health begins in our families, is shaped by our education and is maintained by being able to afford the necessities of life. Childhood experiences, the level of education we receive and the opportunities that come with money are the three top determinants identified in HPE which are so important to living a healthy life.

Right now, this inequality is evident in the unequal social and economic burden of COVID-19 caused by closed and limited services for vulnerable persons. During the first wave of COVID-19 many vulnerable people were unable to follow public health advice like frequent hand washing and isolating at home.

HPEPH is working to identify and reduce these inequities in our communities and to raise awareness about the long-term benefits of reducing these inequities and providing support to those who need it most.

View the entire report about the social determinants of health, as well as other topics, here.

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Media Contact:

Maureen Hyland
mhyland@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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We are working to respond to community needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you are concerned about potential exposure to a positive case of COVID-19, please be reassured that any contacts of a confirmed case will be contacted directly and monitored by public health.

Low-risk and indirect contacts should self monitor for symptoms for 14 days from the time of potential exposure and seek testing if symptoms develop. Low risk contacts do not need to isolate unless symptoms develop, and can continue to attend school/work/daycare while monitoring for symptoms.

Please continue to visit our website for more information about our programs and services.