Skip to main content Skip to sitemap
Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health
Coronavirus in lung

2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

A new virus, COVID-19 (formerly referred to as 2019-nCoV) not previously seen in humans, has been reported as the cause of several pneumonia cases originating in Wuhan, China. COVID-19 is a unique strain of a common virus that is responsible for many colds and respiratory infections. Symptoms of this illness have ranged from mild cold-like symptoms to severe illness with fever, cough, difficulty breathing and pneumonia. 

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is working closely with Public Health Ontario and the Ministry of Health to monitor the situation. We are working proactively to prepare for any potential cases in our area, and protect our community. 

HPEPH has been working with the provincial Ministry of Health and the federal government to support the repatriation of Canadians from Hubei province in China. For more information about this process, including measures in place to protect the local community, please:

For more general information about COVID-19 please review our Frequently Asked Questions below, or visit the Ministry of Health’s information page about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. If you are a healthcare provider, you can find additional resources at the bottom of this page.

Last updated: February 13, 2020.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

The novel coronavirus COVID-19 is a unique strain of a common virus that is responsible for many colds and respiratory infections. As this is a new strain of the virus, work is still underway to learn more about its ability to spread, and the resulting health effects.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Many signs and symptoms are similar to other upper and lower respiratory infections, and can range from mild cold symptoms to more severe illness with fever, cough, shortness of breath, and pneumonia.

How does COVID-19 spread?

As COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus, work is still underway to fully understand how it is spread. There has been evidence of transmission through close contact between humans, most likely from secretions or droplets in the air or on surfaces due to coughing and sneezing. At this time, it appears that an individual has to be in close contact with another infected person to get the virus.

Is there a treatment for COVID-19?

Prompt identification, monitoring of symptoms and appropriate management of symptoms is the only treatment for the virus at this time.

How can I protect myself, my family, and our community?

The best way to protect yourself and those around you is to use regular infection control practices. These are especially important during cold and flu season.

  • Wash your hands frequently using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Cough and sneeze into the bend of your arm, not into your hand
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

Are there any cases in our region?

Currently, there are no cases in the Hastings Prince Edward region. For the most up to date status of cases in Ontario, visit the Ministry of Health’s web page.

What is the risk in Hastings Prince Edward?

The risk in Canada, including in Hastings Prince Edward, is considered low at this time. Hastings Prince Edward Public Health is in continuous contact with Public Health Ontario, the Ministry of Health, and the Public Health Agency of Canada, to monitor the situation and will respond as necessary if the situation changes.

Why is the risk low in Hastings Prince Edward?

At this time, very few cases have been confirmed in Ontario.  Any individuals who are under investigation for the virus are being isolated, and those who have been in close contact with these individuals are being followed and their symptoms are monitored as well. Currently, it appears that an individual has to be in very close contact with another infected person to get the virus.

Should I be concerned about my recent travel, or my travel plans?

The federal government has implemented additional health screening at airports to limit the potential spread of the COVID-19 in Canada. Airline passengers are being screened and are directed to inform a Border Services Officer if they are ill with fever and/or respiratory symptoms. Additional provincial guidelines have recently been put in place to protect the health of the public. See the answer to  ‘Do I need to stay home if I have recently travelled?’ below, or contact HPEPH at 613-966-5500 for more information. If you have travel plans, check the latest travel advisories on the Government of Canada’s website for the most up to date recommendations.

What should I do if I feel sick after travelling?

If you have travelled to affected areas and become ill with mild respiratory symptoms call Hastings Prince Edward Public Health at 613-966-5500, ext. 349 (Monday – Friday 8:30-4:30), contact your own health care provider, or call Telehealth 1-866-797-0000 for direction. If you have travelled to affected areas and become ill with severe respiratory symptoms such as having difficulty breathing or shortness of breath while doing very little, call 911 or go to your local emergency department. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above and have recently travelled to affected areas, it is important to avoid public transportation and to immediately inform medical staff of your travel history.

Do I need to stay home if I have recently travelled to China, or if I have been in contact with someone who has?

Enhanced provincial guidelines have recently been put in place to protect the health of the public. Information can be found on the self-isolation requirements fact sheet. Any individuals meeting the following criteria should contact HPEPH at 613-966-5500 for more information and guidance with respect to restrictions and follow up requirements: Full activity restriction, self isolation, and symptom monitoring is required for:

  • Persons returning from travel to the Hubei Province of China
  • Persons returning from mainland China, with symptoms
  • Persons who have had known, close contact with someone suspected of COVID-19

Symptom monitoring is required for:

  • Persons returning from mainland China, with no symptoms
  • Persons who have had potential contact with someone suspected of COVID-19, and have no symptoms

For more information about self-isolation, review the Ministry of Health’s Self Isolation Information Sheet

I don’t work in healthcare. Do I need to wear a mask in public?

While your workplace or occupation may have specific requirements for wearing a mask, there is no need for individuals who are feeling well, have not travelled to China, and have not been in contact with a case of COVID-19, to wear a mask in public, at school, or at work. Healthcare providers have been given appropriate instructions about when and how to wear masks when they are in contact with patients. If you are experiencing respiratory symptoms (cough, cold, shortness of breath), and must be in contact with others, the best way to protect yourself and those around you is to use regular infection control practices. These are especially important during cold and flu season.

  • Wash your hands frequently using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Cough and sneeze into the bend of your arm, not into your hand
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

What is Public Health doing to respond to COVID-19?

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health is working closely with the Ministry of Health and Public Health Ontario to monitor the situation, and we are working proactively to prepare for any potential cases of COVID-19 in our region. We are conducting ongoing local surveillance to ensure any suspected cases are promptly identified and managed appropriately. We are working with local health care providers, hospitals, and schools to strengthen regular infection control processes, and we have systems and protocols in place to be implemented in response to situations, as required. We are conducting ongoing local surveillance to ensure any suspected cases are promptly identified and managed appropriately.

I am a health care provider and have questions about a potential case. Who should I contact?

Health care providers are required to immediately report all persons under investigation, probable and confirmed cases of COVID-19 to HPEPH at 613-966-5500. General questions about the virus, or any communicable disease, can also be directed to the HPEPH CD Intake Line 613-966-5500 x 349 . For additional and detailed information, health care providers are also encouraged to visit the Ministry of Health’s page for healthcare workers.

Where can I find more information for healthcare workers?

Interested in receiving monthly updates about HPEPH programs and services?

Sign up for our e-newsletter