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Physical Distancing Efforts Must Continue Over Long Weekend

Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/April 8, 2020 – 9am

With a long weekend approaching, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is urging residents to make every possible effort to practise physical distancing, which is the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19. Recognizing that holidays are often an opportunity to socialize with family and friends, HPEPH is reinforcing the critical need to physically distance yourself from anyone who does not live in your immediate household. These efforts will protect you, those you love, and the rest of our community from the spread of the virus.

Physical distancing means only leaving home for essential reasons, such as getting groceries or prescriptions, no more than once a week. If you must leave home for these reasons, keep a minimum distance of two metres between yourself and others. During this challenging time, it is also important to check in with vulnerable individuals such as those who are elderly, sick, or in mandatory self isolation, to ensure they are able to meet their essential needs. This can be done safely by using technology, or leaving groceries and other essentials on the affected individual’s doorstep.

The provincial government has prohibited any gathering of more than five (5) people. HPEPH recommends that even in gatherings of five people or less, every effort should be made to keep two metres of distance between yourself and others, unless they live in your household, or are providing a critical service and have been appropriately trained in infection prevention and the use of personal protective equipment.

“I recognize that these restrictions can be challenging and frustrating, especially at a time of year when people typically gather together,” says Dr. Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO at HPEPH. “I want to remind residents that these restrictions are temporary and making every effort to distance yourself from others during this critical time will help prevent local spread of COVID-19, will reduce the number of people who get sick in our community, and ultimately will save lives.”

As the weather grows warmer, many of us are eager to enjoy the outdoors. However, it can be difficult to ensure that physical distancing is maintained while outdoors in public places. Residents are encouraged to make efforts to remain active in their home or on their property in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you choose to exercise in public spaces, ensure you do so only in locations where you can avoid being within two metres of others. This may mean you need to stop, cross the street, or limit your activities to a smaller area. It is important to note that individuals who have been identified as probable or confirmed cases of COVID-19, who have been identified as close contacts of a case of COVID-19, or who have recently returned from travel outside Canada, are legally required to stay on their own property.   

Visit the HPEPH website, hpePublicHealth.ca for current information and answers to many questions about COVID-19. Individuals who still have questions after reviewing web content can call the COVID-19 information line. The line can be reached at 613-966-5500, and will be available over the long weekend, Friday April 10 – Monday April 14 from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm.

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

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Audio clip for media use – Dr. Oglaza reinforces the need for physical distancing this weekend.

Media Contact:

Veronica Montgomery, Foundational Standards Manager
vmontgomery@hpeph.ca

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.