Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/February 11, 2021 – As the Family Day weekend approaches, I am reaching out to our local residents and families with a sincere request for your assistance as we work together to end this pandemic. As you plan for a long weekend that celebrates the importance of family, please make every effort to avoid close contact with those outside your household. Please avoid hosting family or friends who reside in areas currently under the Stay at Home Order.
I realize that each family will need to weigh the benefits and risks of gathering with loved ones. I recognize many students may have planned to travel home for the weekend or perhaps you have made plans for overnight visitors despite recent restrictions for dine-in eating, accommodations, and personal service settings. I also realize that in person connection can be essential for one’s mental health, and many people may be travelling for essential reasons. However, if you are gathering for non-essential reasons, please carefully consider the short-term benefits of these gatherings, against the potential risks. Close contact has been the driving force of spread in our region and has been responsible for 68% of cases in our area since the beginning of the pandemic.
If despite this increased risk you choose to host overnight guests or have close contact with an individual from outside the region, you then need to make a responsible choice to protect the community from potential exposure by avoiding close contact with others for 14 days after the visit, monitoring for symptoms, and getting tested if symptoms develop (even minor ones).
If you choose to gather with others, take steps to reduce your risk:
- Visit virtually if possible
- Consider alternate ways to connect
- Get together outside
- Maintain physical distance
- Stay within gathering limits, and
- Minimize close contact by avoiding indoor visits or overnight guests.
There are lots of creative ways you can enjoy time together while reducing the risk of transmitting illness. It is also important to remember that many individuals do need to visit our region for essential purposes. Please be kind to one another. We have faith in our community to make choices to keep one another safe. On behalf of the team at HPEPH to each of you, thank you for your ongoing commitment to one another and the health of our community.
Dr. Piotr Oglaza
Medical Officer of Health and CEO
Maureen Hyland, Communications Specialist
Emily Tubbs, Communications Specialist
About Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is a public health agency that serves the counties of Hastings and Prince Edward from four local offices. We monitor the health of our local population, deliver programs and services within our communities, and help develop healthy public policies. We provide information and support in many areas to help improve the health and well-being of our residents. Together with our communities, we help people become as healthy as they can be. For more information, please visit hpePublicHealth.ca. You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.