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COVID-19 Information Line Hours Extended in Response to First Lab-Confirmed Case in Community

Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/March 19, 2020 – 3:25 pm

The first lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 has been identified in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties in an individual who has recently returned from travel outside of Canada. This individual developed symptoms of COVID-19, sought medical care immediately, and remains in self-isolation at home. This case confirms that COVID-19 is in our community, reinforcing the need for all individuals to engage in social distancing, remain home if sick, and implement regular infection control practices.

As announced by Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) on March 16, there are also probable cases of COVID-19 in our community. Probable cases are advised to self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days. A probable case is defined as a person with a fever (over 38 degrees Celsius) and/or a cough and any of the following within 14 days prior to onset of illness:

  • travel to an impacted area, or
  • close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, or
  • close contact with a person with acute respiratory illness who has been to an impacted area.

“Testing is being prioritized based on Ontario Ministry of Health criteria and our local surveillance needs,” says Dr. Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO at HPEPH, “all cases are instructed to remain in self-isolation until they are no longer infectious as determined by public health”. Travellers returning from anywhere outside Canada have been directed to self-isolate for 14 days following their return and to contact HPEPH if they develop symptoms.

In response to the increased need for community screening and information, the HPEPH COVID-19 information line will be extending its hours. Effective today, the call line will operate 8:30 am to 8:30 pm Monday to Friday, and 8:30 am to 4:30 pm on weekends.  Callers are assessed for risk of COVID-19 based on their travel history, symptoms, and the Ministry of Health case definitions.

The HPEPH website, is continuously updated and contains current information and answers for many questions about COVID-19, infection control, and outbreak preparedness. Residents of Hastings and Prince Edward Counties who still have questions about COVID-19 after reviewing the online content can call the COVID-19 information line at 613-966-5500.

Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.


Media Contact:
Veronica Montgomery, Foundational Standards Manager

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 You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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Appointments for individuals 5+ can be booked through the provincial vaccine booking site, or by calling 1-833-943-3900 from 8 am to 8 pm, 7 days a week.  

Due to limited supply, HPEPH will initially be prioritizing available bivalent vaccine for residents and workers at identified highest-risk facilities.  Some HPEPH vaccination clinics MAY offer the bivalent vaccine, as availability allows. Vaccine clinics in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties will continue to offer monovalent vaccines (the same mRNA vaccines given as the primary series) for all eligible individuals until a steady supply of the bivalent vaccine is available.

Visit the HPEPH vaccine booking web page for details.


Symptoms or exposure? Visit for the most up to date information about what to do.

For the most up to date information on current provincial restrictions, visit

The Ministry of Health has launched a new toll-free line as an additional resource to help answer questions from the public regarding evolving COVID-19 testing and isolation guidance. The line can be reached at 1-888-777-0730, and is available from 8 am to 6 pm, 7 days a week.