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Media Release: Residents of North and Central Hastings advised to remain aware of COVID-19 activity in both local and surrounding areas

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.

To learn more about COVID-19, how you can protect yourself and what to do if you suspect you may be at risk, please visit hpePublicHealth.ca or Ontario’s website.

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Media contacts

HPEPH:

Emily Tubbs, Communications Specialist
etubbs@hpeph.ca

Maureen Hyland, Communications Specialist
mhyland@hpeph.ca

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COVID-19 VACCINES IN HPEPH

Individuals turning 12 and over in 2021 are currently eligible to book a first dose appointment. Individuals aged 70 and over as well as anyone who received their first vaccine on or before April 18th are now eligible to book their second dose on an accelerated schedule. To book, visit Ontario.ca/bookvaccine or call  1-833-943-3900.

There is currently a high demand for vaccination appointments in our region. If no appointments are available, please follow us on Facebook or Twitter to be notified when new clinic dates are added. Please do not call HPEPH to book. For more information, please visit  hpePublicHealth.ca/vaccine-booking/

If you attended a clinic and did not receive an email copy of your vaccination receipt you can download a copy off the provincial booking site at Ontario.ca/bookvaccine.

PHARMACY-BASED VACCINATIONS

Individuals 18 and over can also receive their vaccination at participating local pharmacies. Select pharmacies are also offering vaccinations to youth aged 12 – 17. Please visit covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations for location and registration information.

CURRENT RESTRICTIONS IN HPEPH

Based on the provincewide vaccination rate and continuing improvements in key public health and health system indicators, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, will move the province into Step One of its Roadmap to Reopen at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, June 11, 2021. For more information, read the media release.

While the provincial Stay at Home Order has been lifted, public health precautions must be maintained. Close contact must be limited to those within your household. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 5 people, and distancing must be maintained. For more information, visit our COVID-19 page.

POTENTIAL EXPOSURE TO COVID-19?

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.