Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/April 19, 2021 – Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is advising residents of North and Central Hastings to remain vigilant as individuals continue to test positive locally and in surrounding regions.
While the HPEPH dashboard currently reports 5 active cases of COVID-19 in the North Hastings and 4 in Central Hastings, HPEPH is concerned that this number may not accurately reflect the potential risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the region. The HPEPH dashboard reports positive cases identified in residents that reside within the HPEPH catchment area that seek testing. However, many individuals travel to and from towns within Hastings and Prince Edward Counties from areas with higher rates of COVID-19, for essential errands, appointments, or early relocation to seasonal residences. The HPEPH dashboard will not reflect positive cases that reside in neighbouring regions.
Most recently, HPEPH was advised of two outbreaks, which have now been declared over, in neighbouring Haliburton County, which borders North Hastings and falls within Haliburton, Kawartha, Pineridge District Health Unit. While outbreak measures were followed in response to these outbreaks, HPEPH advises residents that outbreaks in neighbouring regions could indicate that the virus is also circulating locally. In addition, warm weather and work from home/learn from home requirements may enable individuals to relocate to seasonal residences earlier than usual.
HPEPH case investigations continue to show that individuals are leaving home and interacting in the community while they have COVID-19 symptoms.
“Residents of HPEC should assume that the virus is circulating in the community and take all necessary precautions to avoid potential exposure,” says Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO at HPEPH. “While reports of positive cases are essential to understand our local status, we must remember that the dashboard will only indicate those who reside in the region, recognize their symptoms, and choose to seek testing. We are not able to identify or report individuals who are contagious for COVID-19 but reside outside the region, or are carrying the virus but do not choose to seek testing.”
All residents and visitors are asked to take all necessary precautions to protect themselves and others. Those who have tested positive, are symptomatic, or have been identified as high-risk contacts are reminded that self-isolating as directed by public health is a legal requirement. Individuals who have symptoms or have known or suspected contact with a case of COVID-19 should seek testing to know their status and help protect the community.
Emily Tubbs, Communications Specialist
Maureen Hyland, Communications Specialist