Media Release: Board of Health Update – October 2021
Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/ October 6, 2021
Today, the Hastings Prince Edward Board of Health (BOH) held its regular meeting for October 2021. The meeting was conducted by teleconference as part of Hastings Prince Edward Public Health’s (HPEPH) COVID-19 safety measures.
Statement from Board Chair
As Dr. Oglaza’s last day as Medical Officer of Health for HPEPH will be October 15, Board Chair Jo-Anne Albert thanked Dr. Oglaza for his leadership at HPEPH. Dr. Oglaza will be assuming his new role as Medical Officer of Health at KFL&A Public Health on October 18.
“The Hastings Prince Edward Board of Health heartily thanks Dr.Oglaza for his unwavering dedication, tireless work for our community, and exemplary leadership throughout his five-year career at HPEPH, and in particular throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Oglaza’s leadership has been critical throughout HPEPH’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. His steady, compassionate and decisive leadership has ensured that our region is one of the safest places to be throughout the pandemic. We wish you the very best as you take on your new and exciting role in Kingston!”
Hastings County Warden Rick Phillips also attended the meeting, thanked Dr. Oglaza for his leadership on behalf of Hastings County, and presented him with certificate of recognition.
Residents Reminded to Celebrate the Holidays Safely
Dr. Oglaza asked all residents to celebrate the holidays safely this year, reminding everyone that the risk of COVID-19 is still very real. Dr. Oglaza outlined several precautions that individuals gathering with others from outside their immediate household can take to reduce their risk of COVID-19.
Gatherings must adhere to the measures and restrictions outlined in O. Reg. 364/20: Rules for Areas at Step 3 and at the Roadmap Exit Step. At this time, you cannot have more than 25 people indoors or 100 people outdoors.
- When gathering outdoors with:
- A group of fully vaccinated individuals, no face covering or physical distancing is necessary.
- People from multiple households who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or vaccination status is unknown, you should consider wearing a face covering if physical distancing cannot be maintained.
- When gathering indoors with:
- A group of fully vaccinated individuals, you may consider removing your face covering if everyone is comfortable.
- People from multiple households who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or status is unknown, you should wear a face covering and physically distance.
- Regardless of setting, you can wear a face covering and physically distance if you feel it is right for you, especially if you or others are immunocompromised or at high-risk of severe disease and/or exposure to COVID-19.
- Virtual gatherings or events are the safest way to celebrate, especially if people in the group are unvaccinated or if their vaccination status is unknown.
- Gatherings or events outdoors are safer than indoors.
For more information about safer celebrations, visit https://hpepublichealth.ca/celebrations-ceremonies-holidays/
Majority of local COVID-19 cases among individuals who are not fully vaccinated
Dr. Ethan Toumishey, Director of Clinical Programs, updated the BOH on local COVID-19 case rates, and explained that while there has been substantial progress to improve local vaccination rates, the risk of COVID-19 transmission, in particular the more transmissible and severe Delta variant, remains high. He explained that COVID-19 case management data clearly shows that unvaccinated and partially vaccinated individuals are at the greatest risk of getting COVID-19, with the vast majority of infections occurring in unvaccinated/partially vaccinated individuals.
“Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Even when breakthrough infections occur in individuals who are immunized, they are less likely to transmit the virus and are much less likely to be hospitalized,” Dr. Toumishey said. “I want to thank the community for working together to follow public health precautions and for getting vaccinated. Your efforts have been crucial and underscore the success we have seen in containing the spread of the Delta variant.”
80% of HPEPH residents 12 and older now fully vaccinated
Dr. Oglaza reported that as of October 5, 80% of HPEC residents 12 and older are fully vaccinated, and 88% have now received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
He told the board that the provincial proof of vaccination requirement in select settings, which took effect on September 22, has helped encourage residents to get vaccinated. HPEPH public health continues to administer approximately 1,000 vaccines each week.
HPEPH continues to make it easy for residents to access vaccinations by offering walk-in appointments at all clinics, holding mobile pop-up clinics throughout the region, and by working with community partners to provide home-based vaccination to those individuals who are unable get out to get vaccinated.
Individuals who are not yet vaccinated are encouraged to do so as soon as possible. Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the safe choice to protect your own health, and protect those around you. More information about vaccine clinics is available at https://hpepublichealth.ca/vaccine-booking/
Maureen Hyland, Communications Specialist
Emily Tubbs, Communications Specialist
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 and Instagram.
We invite community partners and residents to share this Media Release with their respective networks.