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Media Release: Youth and young adults urged to avoid close contact with others, get tested for COVID-19, to avoid spreading to those at risk

Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/April 26, 2021Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is reminding parents, youth, and young adults that while Stay at Home Orders are in effect, close contact must be limited to household members only.

Despite transition to stay at home learning, recent case investigations show that many youth and young adults continue to participate in voluntary activities that result in unnecessary close contact with others. This is often taking place in social settings where there are no infection control precautions such as distancing, sanitizing, and masking, in effect. These activities are contributing to the spread of COVID-19 in individuals under age 30. Currently, 28 (35%) of active cases in HPEPH have been confirmed in individuals 30 and under.

Youth and young adults may experience very mild symptoms of the virus. All individuals are reminded to monitor for symptoms and get tested for COVID-19, even if symptoms are very mild such as a runny/stuffy nose. Symptom monitoring, testing, and avoiding close contact with others outside your household (even when feeling well) is essential to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our region and protect those who are at risk of serious illness and hospitalization.

“Unfortunately, we are continuing to see voluntary close contact taking place between individuals in all age groups – in particular, youth and young adults who are gathering for social reasons,” says Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO at HPEPH. “Youth and young adults are not immune to the spread of COVID-19 and by participating in voluntary social activities they may put others in their household, and community, at risk.”

HPEPH recognizes that social interaction is imperative for the growth and development of youth and is essential for the mental health of adults in all age groups. HPEPH also understands that youth may be missing the social connections typically achieved through the traditional classroom environment. However, the sooner case counts can be lowered in our region, the sooner public health restrictions will be eased.

Young adults are asked to make responsible choices that protect both them and the more vulnerable around them. Parents are asked to help youth stay strong and support choices and activities that will not contribute to the potential spread of COVID-19. Connect safely with friends online, get outside and get active with household members, visit a local park or trail that is open, or try a new hobby or activity that does not involve close contact with others. To reduce the risk of spreading infection both in and out of your household, avoid sharing drinks, utensils, cigarettes, masks, and/or anything else that touches your mouth or face.

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.