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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

HPEPH is currently offering vaccine to eligible groups. In order to keep our phone lines free for those who are currently eligible, please do NOT contact us to inquire about vaccinations unless you have been invited to participate.

Groups Currently Eligible to Book at Ontario.ca/bookvaccine:

  • Individuals turning 50 and over in 2021
  • Health care or personal support workers
  • Childcare workers (licensed & unlicensed)
  • Education workers (including special education)
  • Residents and staff in care homes and group living settings (including essential caregivers)
  • People with highest-risk health conditions and their caregivers (for example, pregnancy, organ transplant, multiple sclerosis)
  • People with high risk health conditions and their caregivers (for example, BMI of over 40, chemotherapy, Down syndrome)
  • People with at-risk health conditions (for example, autoimmune disorders, heart disease, diabetes)
  • Chronic home health care recipients
  • First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals, including members of their household
  • People who cannot work from home (Group One and Group Two)

Groups Eligible to Book at Pharmacies:

Groups Eligible to Pre-Register

For booking information for eligible individuals, please visit  hpePublicHealth.ca/covid-19-vaccines/

CURRENT RESTRICTIONS IN HPEPH

A province-wide Stay-at-Home order is in effect, and requires everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise, or for work that cannot be done remotely. Please avoid close contact with anyone outside your household. 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.