Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/Sept. 30, 2020
To all members of the Hastings and Prince Edward Communities,
As many of you may be aware, earlier this week Premier Doug Ford declared that Ontario has entered the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, we have seen an increased number of COVID-19 cases in our region over the past few weeks. This second wave is not unexpected, and HPEPH is continuing to work with community partners to protect our region and enforce protocols that have been put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
We have been very fortunate to see very few cases in our region over the summer months, and I would like to express my appreciation to community members for the steps they have taken to help prevent the spread locally. Your efforts helped us keep infection rates low during the first wave of the pandemic, and I am calling on you today to continue to remain vigilant and redouble your efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as we enter the second wave.
As we begin to see more cases locally, there is an increase of potential exposure for all residents. We expect that we will see additional cases in our catchment area over the coming weeks, and we have confirmed local transmission in our region over the past few days. The pandemic is not over, and we must all remain vigilant about the steps we can take to protect the most vulnerable in our community. As we work together to prevent the spread, please do your best to:
- Stay within your local area and consider postponing visits from friends or relatives that live outside of our region;
- Wear a face covering in situations where physical distancing may not be possible;
- Be diligent with social distancing and hand washing efforts;
- Comply with restrictions on social gatherings;
- Reduce your social circle and avoid close contact with anyone outside of your social circle;
- Stay home if you feel unwell;
- Get tested if you are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to COVID-19.
While it is imperative that we all remain cautious and practise the steps mentioned above, the community can be reassured that public health has processes in place to identify and respond to cases of the virus. When HPEPH receives confirmation of a case of COVID-19, it is typically possible to identify all close contacts of the confirmed case directly within 24 hours and advise these close contacts of testing and isolation requirements. If a situation arises where it is not possible to identify or reach all close contacts of a case, HPEPH will take steps to advise the general public of potential exposure, which may include advising of the specific locations of cases.
Right now, our system has the capacity to respond to any cases or violations of current restrictions efficiently, which helps us protect our entire community and those who are most at risk. It will take a continued effort on the part of all of us to ensure this capacity continues.
We’re all working hard to keep our community safe and I want to thank each and every member of the community for making responsible choices to protect your own health, and the health of those around you.
For more information and answers to many common questions about COVID-19, please visit the HPEPH website.
Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO
Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
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.