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Media Release: Board of Health Update – June 2020

Today, the Hastings Prince Edward Board of Health (HPEPH) held its monthly meeting for June 2020. The regular meeting was conducted by teleconference as part of HPEPH’s efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and practice physical distancing.

HPEPH to Gradually Resume in-Person Services

While HPEPH offices have been closed to the public since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, service provision has continued through alternate methods such as virtual, phone, and contact-less pick up. In alignment with the province’s phased approach to re-open services, HPEPH will be gradually resuming in-person service provision over the coming weeks. To balance demands of pandemic response with provision of public health services, in-person services will be prioritized based on community need. Services will be provided with modifications, in-order to protect both clients and staff against COVID-19. These modifications include screening any visitors for symptoms of COVID-19, offering select services by appointment only, and considering alternatives to in-person services whenever possible.

Beginning this week, catch-up immunization appointments have been offered to clients whose appointments were cancelled in response to the pandemic. Plans are underway to resume other in-person services over the coming weeks, including:

  • Offering urgent breastfeeding consults on an as-needed basis.
  • Providing urgent sexual health services as needed.
  • Providing Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) treatment for those in need
  • Administering birth control for those who are under the age of 26
  • Providing access to screening for contacts of STIs
  • Continuing inspections of food service settings, drinking water facilities, and migrant farm workers’ accommodations 

When in office, clients will be encouraged to wear a non-medical mask. While the HPEPH approach to service delivery is changing in order to keep clients and staff safe, meeting local public health needs continues to be our top priority. Any upcoming changes in service provision will be communicated at hpePublicHealth.ca.

Public Health Efforts Continue to Slow the Spread of COVID-19

HPEPH continues to monitor and respond to public health needs as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, and is working with municipal partners to support local workplaces as they begin to re-open. A recent webinar, offered in partnership with Hastings County, provided an overview of current provincial regulations, resources available to support reopening, support public health can provide, and answers to questions presented by businesses. A recording of the webinar, as well as other workplace resources, is available at hpePublicHealth.ca, for all local businesses to access.

HPEPH is also continuing to support partners at Ontario Health, hospitals, and community paramedicine, in the provision of testing to those who are concerned about exposure. Currently, local assessment centres are open in Bancroft on weekdays, and in Belleville, Picton, and Trenton 7 days a week.

“While restrictions are being gradually lifted, it is incredibly important that residents remain diligent in their efforts to practise physical distancing and infection control,” said Dr. Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO at HPEPH. “There is still a risk of COVID-19 in our community, and these efforts are playing a key role in slowing the spread, and keeping case numbers low in our region”.

Information about local cases and testing is available at hpePublicHealth.ca.

Annual Report and Celebration of Accomplishments

At today’s BOH meeting, Dr. Oglaza recognized the good work that continues to be completed by HPEPH, as well as celebrate accomplishments that continue to improve the health and well-being of the local population. Through presentation of the 2019 Annual Report, the following key achievements were recognized:

  • Implementing a new organizational structure at HPEPH in 2019
  • Continuing to make progress towards 2019-2023 Strategic Goals
  • Preparing for and responding to changes in cannabis legislation, including education for teens and parents and collaboration with municipalities
  • Responding to the presence of carfentanil and increased risk of overdose in the Hastings Prince Edward Counties, including enhanced provision of naloxone and supporting training
  • Improving accessibility to prenatal and parenting programs including text and online options
  • Initiating a radon study which involved provision of free radon testing to over 600 households
  • Undertaking significant efforts to prepare for the launch of the Ontario Seniors’ Dental Care Program
  • Implementing a new vision screening program
  • Launching a pilot project with licensed child care providers to enhance healthy eating and physical activity
  • Continuing to build capacity for health in all policies
  • Meeting all regular requirements of the Ontario Public Health Standards, including inspections, enforcement, clinics, classes, and more.

To view the complete 2019 Annual Report, please visit hpePublicHealth.ca.

Media Contact:

Emily Tubbs, Communications Specialist
etubbs@hpeph.ca

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.

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COVID-19 VACCINES IN HPEPH

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.

COVID-19 PROTOCOLS

Symptoms or exposure? Visit www.ontario.ca/exposed for the most up to date information about what to do.

For the most up to date information on current provincial restrictions, visit https://covid-19.ontario.ca/public-health-measures.

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.