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Media release: Hastings Prince Edward Public Health confirms first local case of COVID-19 Omicron variant

Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/December 17, 2021

On Friday, December 17, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health received lab confirmation of the first case of the COVID-19 Omicron variant of concern in the region. The case has no history of travel.

“The Omicron variant is highly transmissible and while evidence is still emerging, early evidence suggests it can produce severe disease, with the greatest risk to those who are unvaccinated,” says Dr. Ethan Toumishey, Acting Medical Officer at HPEPH. “I strongly urge everyone to get fully vaccinated, and get a booster dose as soon as possible. Please remain vigilant and continue to follow public health measures that have proven to be effective throughout the pandemic – these key steps will help reduce your risk and keep you, and your loved ones, as safe as possible.”

Please take immediate action to reduce your risk:

  • Get fully vaccinated when you are eligible
  • Get your third dose or booster as soon as you are eligible and can make an appointment
  • Screen for symptoms of COVID-19 daily
  • Stay home, isolate, and get tested if you have any symptoms, even mild symptoms
  • If you are a close-contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case but have not yet been contacted by public health, please self-isolate and get tested
  • Change your social habits; avoid social gatherings and limit visiting others or having visitors
  • Take physical distancing seriously; stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with and wear a mask in indoor spaces

There is currently a very high demand for COVID-19 vaccines in the region. HPEPH is working diligently with community partners to administer the COVID-19 vaccines that are available for the region. Residents are asked to be patient, and continue checking various options for COVID-19 vaccine availability. As additional shipments are received, availability will increase both at community vaccination clinics and at local pharmacies. HPEPH is working to increase appointment availability and will provide updates as new appointments become available. For updates on availability, follow HPEPH on Facebook and Twitter.

To check current availability:

For the most up to date information on COVID-19 visit hpePublicHealth.ca.

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Media contacts

Emily Tubbs
etubbs@hpeph.ca

Maureen Hyland, Communications Specialist
mhyland@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 and Instagram.

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

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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.

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.  Visit the HPEPH vaccine booking web page for details.