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Media Release: Board of Health Update – October 2022

Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/Oct. 5, 2022

The Hastings Prince Edward Board of Health (BOH) met today for their regular monthly meeting. The meeting was conducted in person at the office in Belleville.

Respiratory Virus Season guidance for 2022-2023

COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses will continue to circulate this fall and winter, and the scientific projection for the 2022-23 Respiratory Virus Season has indicated an increased volume in Acute Respiratory Illness and burden on the Ontario health care system.

The strategies that have been used successfully for the past few years to combat COVID-19 can help protect you and your loved ones from other viruses as well

Residents are reminded to:

Protect yourself and your family.

  • Stay up to date with your vaccines.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Get the COVID-19 booster.
  • Get the flu vaccine through your health care provider or a local pharmacy, when it becomes available.  
  • Make sure you know if you are eligible for COVID-19 treatments and how to get tested and access treatment if you are eligible.

Protect our most vulnerable.

  • Stay home when you have symptoms of illness. Stay home until you have no fever and your symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours (or 48 hours if you have gastro-intestinal symptoms).
  • Wear a mask if you are recovering from illness or are in a high-risk setting.

Protect our health care services.

  • Doing what you can to limit the spread of illness and reduce your risk of severe illness will help ensure our health care workers are available for those who need them most.

Lindsey Bearnes, Manager of Infectious and Communicable Diseases, in her update to the Board noted that the HPEPH Clinical Service Programs and the Communications Team are working diligently to monitor, protect, and respond to increased illness within our region by:

  • Distributing seasonal influenza vaccine to our community partners.
  • Continuing to provide COVID vaccine and routine immunization clinics to those requiring vaccinations.
  • Working with community health care partners to provide public education about key steps to reduce spread of respiratory viruses this season.
  • Monitoring and responding to reportable disease cases.
  • Providing education to our community partners to ensure they have all the tools and knowledge they need to be successful in the delivery of their programs this respiratory season

Update from the Medical Officer of Health

Dr. Ethan Toumishey, MOH and CEO at HPEPH announced that HPEPH will be implementing the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), an evidence-based home-visiting program that improves the health, well-being and economic self-sufficiency of first-time parents and their children. Training for the program is expected to begin in the late fall with in-person training scheduled for January, with an intention to begin recruiting clients early in 2023.

Eligibility for the program is:

  • First pregnancy or first-time parenting
  • 24 years of age or younger
  • Limited support and resources (socioeconomic disadvantage)
  • Enrollment by the end of the 28th week of pregnancy

Families that are not eligible for NFP will be offered the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program.

Dr. Toumishey also updated the Board on the Housing Issue Framing Campaign. HPEPH, in collaboration with the City of Quinte West, is facilitating conversations about how housing influences health, and the role residents can play in ensuring everyone has access to safe, affordable and appropriate housing. The relevance of safe and secure housing to health was also emphasized in HPEPH’s recently issued election primer.

Starting next week we will be publishing media releases, sharing messages on social media, presenting to stakeholder groups and publishing local information on the role of housing and health with an aim to build public support for affordable housing, and increase understanding about how housing, or lack thereof, can influence health

We encourage you to engage with and participate in this campaign on its launch.

Healthy Communities Program Update

Sheryl Farrar, Healthy Communities Program Manager provided an update on the Municipal Liaison Program, which was developed to support municipalities to create safe, supportive, and healthy environments thereby improving the health and well-being of residents of Hastings and Prince Edward counties (HPEC).

Currently, the team consists of four Municipal Liaison staff who are assigned to each geographic region in HPEC – Prince Edward County, North and Central Hastings, Belleville and South Hastings, and Quinte West. Future plans for the program include:

  • A Healthy Communities Bulletin on a quarterly basis
  • Continuing to identify and act on advocacy opportunities
  • Meeting with municipalities to establish and strengthen partnerships; and
  • Expanding other community engagement and capacity-building activities in our communities, as opportunities become available.

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For more information contact:

Emily Tubbs, Communications Specialist
etubbs@hpeph.ca

Maureen Hyland, Communications Specialist
hyland.maureen@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. HPEPH is situated and provides services on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Huron-Wendat and Haudenosaunee people. 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 and Instagram.

We invite community partners and residents to share this Media Release with their respective networks.

Interested in receiving monthly updates about HPEPH programs and services?

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COVID-19 VACCINES IN HPEPH

All individuals ≥ 5 yrs of age are eligible to receive a fall COVID-19 bivalent booster dose 6 mo after previous COVID-19 vaccine regardless of the number of booster doses previously received.

Appointments 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.  

COVID-19 PROTOCOLS

For the most up to date information on current provincial guidelines and advice in case of exposure, visit Ontario.ca/page/public-health-measures-and-advice.

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.