Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/April 26, 2021 – Hastings 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.
Emily Tubbs, Communications Specialist
Maureen Hyland, Communications Specialist