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Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health

Outbreak Preparedness

Preparing for the Potential Spread of COVID-19

With numerous countries reporting that COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) is spreading within the general population, it makes sense to become prepared in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in Ontario.

Local residents are encouraged to take steps to ensure they are prepared to self isolate for two weeks, in the event they, or someone in their home, becomes ill with COVID-19. If an individual is asked to self-isolate to prevent the spread of COVID-19, they will be asked to stay in their home and limit contact with others.

Ensure you are prepared

  • Be prepared to stay in your home for two (2) weeks, in case you become ill or are asked to self-isolate.
    • Stock up on non-perishable foods gradually over the next few weeks.
  • Fill prescriptions and stock up over-the-counter medications.
    • Don’t wait to fill essential prescriptions.
    • Fill prescriptions for an extra month if you’re able.
    • Get refills with enough notice so that you do not run out of medication.
    • Purchase over-the-counter pain/fever medications.
  • Stock up on cleaning supplies and hygiene essentials.

Develop a contingency plan

  • Make plans for your children or other dependents in case you become sick.
    • Arrange back up care for your children.
    • Stock up on supplies for your pets.
    • Have plans in place in case you are asked to isolate for up to two (2) weeks at home.
  • Make preparations within your workplace.
    • Create back up plans in the event of prolonged staff absences.
    • Reinforce infection control procedures.
    • Stay home when you are sick.

Know the risks – access up-to-date information

  • Get your information from reputable sources.
    • The Ontario Ministry of Health, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and Hastings Prince Edward Public Health all have web pages dedicated to providing current, accurate COVID-19 information and recommendations.

Maintain infection control procedures

  • If you feel sick, stay home from work.
    • Stay home when you are sick and avoid contact with other people until your symptoms are gone.
    • If you suspect you are sick, avoid visiting people in long term care, or individuals with health concerns.
  • Limit the spread of germs and take care of yourself.
    • Wash your hands frequently using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • Avoid shaking hands, use other forms of acknowledgement.
    • Cough and sneeze into the bend of your arm, not into your hands.
    • If you use a tissue, throw it away immediately and wash your hands.
    • Avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes with your hands.
    • Clean objects/surfaces that a lot of people touch (door handles, phones, light switches, desks), and wash your hands after touching these surfaces.
    • Avoid sharing items with others, such as utensils, cups, food, etc.
    • Get plenty of rest, eat healthy, and stay physically active to keep your immune system strong.
    • Get your influenza vaccine to help avoid getting the flu.

Additional Resources:


If you are a health care provider, please visit COVID-19 Resources for Health Care Providers web page.

Additional Resources for Educators:

Need More Information About Outbreak Preparedness?

Contact HPEPH at 613-966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803.

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1) Our offices are temporarily closed to the public to allow us to respond to COVID-19 demands. However, phone lines remain open. The COVID-19 information line is operating 7 days a week (excluding statutory holidays) from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. All other program lines are operating Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

2) Returning travellers must self-isolate for 14 days and contact Public Health if symptoms of COVID-19 develop.

If you have returned from travel anywhere outside of Canada, you must self-isolate for 14 days and immediately contact Public Health or your local health care provider if you develop symptoms of COVID-19. Earlier this month all travellers were asked to self-isolated when they returned to Canada. Effective March 25, the federal government made this isolation mandatory under the Quarantine Act to better protect our most vulnerable citizens. Each of us must make the responsible decision to follow the advice of health authorities. It’s in everyone’s best interest to do everything we can to stop the spread of COVID-19.