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Media Release: HPEPH reminds individuals that weekend travel and visits to seasonal residences puts everyone at increased risk of COVID-19

Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/May 14, 2021

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) values seasonal residents and weekend visitors, and appreciates that many individuals are looking forward to getting away after a long and challenging winter. However, all non-essential travel, including travelling to secondary properties, is only permitted for specific reasons during the Stay-at-Home Order. Non-essential travel increases everyone’s risk of spreading or contracting COVID-19.

“As the province remains under the provincial Stay-at-Home Order, this is not the time to plan a weekend getaway or visit to your cottage,” said Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO at HPEPH. “The province is just starting to see the number of new cases trending downwards and we all need to work together in order to end the pandemic as quickly as possible. Due to delays in vaccine rollout, our region has significantly lower immunity than most hot spots. Please help protect our community and do not travel to our region unless it is absolutely essential to do so.”

Under the Stay-at-Home Order, travel is only permitted for the purposes outlined in the order. HPEPH recommends that individuals avoid any travel outside of their home region, and only travel to seasonal/secondary residences for the purpose of performing emergency services/repairs. These emergency visits should be less than 24 hours in duration.

While HPEPH strongly discourages relocation to seasonal residences at this time, if individuals choose to relocate to their seasonal residence for the entire summer season, they must plan to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. To plan to self-isolate appropriately, you will need to:

  • Purchase all supplies and groceries ahead of time and plan to be self-sufficient for the duration of your self-isolation period.
  • Avoid stops on the way and go directly to the secondary residence. Fuel up and bring snacks so that you can make your trip without any stops. Make sure to have hand sanitizer and face coverings with you in the event of an unplanned stop.
  • Plan to isolate immediately on arrival – this means no visits or trips into town.
  • Follow all current protocols, which include staying only with your immediate household members. Do not invite guests to your seasonal residence. This is not the time to host a family gathering or getaway.
  • Self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 daily and if required, only leave isolation to seek testing. If you learn that you are a high risk contact of someone who has COVID-19, you will need to be tested immediately.
  • Once your 14 days of isolation are over, use curbside pickup to get supplies whenever possible and practice all other public health measures including physical distancing, wearing a mask, washing your hands and staying home if you are ill.

With the Stay at Home order in effect, residents and individuals wishing to visit HPEC are reminded that all non-essential travel must be avoided. This includes travelling over the upcoming Victoria Day Weekend. Please remain mindful of the progress that has been made to lower rates in the region. You can help protect this progress by avoiding any non-essential travel and limiting close contact to only those within your immediate household.

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Media Contacts:

Emily Tubbs, Communications Specialist
etubbs@hpeph.ca

Maureen Hyland, Communications Specialist
mhyland@hpeph.ca

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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.