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Province of Ontario Enacts Declaration of Emergency to Protect the Public

Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/March 17, 2020 – 1:20 pm. 

Today, the Province of Ontario announced that it is taking decisive action by making an order declaring an emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. In doing so, the Province of Ontario is using every power possible to continue to protect the health and safety of all individuals and families.

As a result of this declaration and its associated orders, the following establishments are legally required to close immediately:

  • All facilities providing indoor recreational programs;
  • All public libraries;
  • All private schools as defined in the Education Act;
  • All licensed child care centres;
  • All bars and restaurants, except to the extent that such facilities provide takeout food and delivery;
  • All theatres including those offering live performances of music, dance, and other art forms, as well as cinemas that show movies; and
  • Concert venues.

“The closures do not apply to unlicensed daycares,” said Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO for Hastings Prince Edward Public Health. “However, public health encourages owners and operators of unlicensed daycares to close voluntarily to help protect our population. If they choose to remain open, they are advised to use adequate infection prevention and control practices such as frequent hand washing and active surveillance. Parents are asked to keep sick children at home.”

In addition, all organized public events of over fifty people are also prohibited, including parades and events and communal services within places of worship. These orders were approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council and will remain in place until March 31, 2020, at which point they will be reassessed and considered for extension, unless this order is terminated earlier.

 “We want the community to know that while we suspect the virus is in our community, we can slow the spread locally. We are calling on everyone in our community to do their part and help keep the risk low in our community”, says Dr. Piotr Oglaza. “This means practicing regular infection control, social distancing, avoiding large gatherings, working from home if possible, and staying home when you are sick.”

The HPEPH COVID-19 phone lines continue to be open seven days a week for individuals who are unable to find their answers on our COVID-19 web page. Updates will also be posted to our Facebook Page, and Twitter @hpePublicHealth.

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Media Contact:
Veronica Montgomery, Foundational Standards Manager
vmontgomery@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.