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Advice on living with COVID-19 as cases increase

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is seeing increasing rates of COVID-19 in the community and reminds residents that learning to live with COVID-19 does not mean the pandemic is over.

Friday, April 8 HPEPH tallied 464 active cases in high-risk settings and one death related to the virus. Public Health also reported an outbreak this morning, involving one resident and one staff member at H.J. McFarland Home. The Whispering Pines unit is under quarantine and all 19 residents have been placed on contact and aerosol precautions.

“The pandemic is not over, so as we move into this new phase of living safely with COVID-19 please continue to be cautious and reasonable,” said Dr. Ethan Toumishey, Medical Officer of Health and CEO at HPEPH. “While many restrictions have been lifted, we are relying on the public to make responsible choices and respect those who remain at higher risk of complications from COVID-19.”

Toumishey urges residents to remain cautious and continue to take realistic action to reduce the transmission as the virus continues to circulate.

“While not unexpected, positive PCR test results have been steadily increasing in eligible local workers over the month of April. This reflects a steady increase in the overall community, reinforcing that precautions must be maintained,” said Toumishey.

He recommends staying up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations you are eligible for, including fourth doses for individuals 60+ and other eligible groups. https://www.hpepublichealth.ca/vaccine-booking/

Stay home if you are sick – even if symptoms are very mild

Take a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) if possible, or a PCR test if eligible.

If you test positive or have not tested but have symptoms, you should stay at home for at least five days or as otherwise advised by current isolation guidance.

People can be infectious for up to 10 days, so it is important that for an additional five days you wear a mask when outside the house and avoid vulnerable individuals and high-risk settings like hospitals and long-term care.

A negative RAT does not exclude COVID-19. If you receive two negative RAT taken 24-48 hours apart AFTER your symptoms develop, they are less likely to be caused by COVID-19, however you still must stay home until your symptoms are improving for 24-48 hours.

If you are a close contact – you are required to take extra precautions. These include:
Isolating, if required.
Wearing a mask for a minimum of 10 days after your exposure to the symptomatic/positive person – even if isolation is not required.
Monitoring closely for symptoms of COVID-19 and isolating immediately if symptoms develop.

It is strongly recommended people continue to wear a well-fitted three-layer mask or use a medical mask in all public indoor settings.
Respect those who remain at higher risk of complications from COVID-19 by wearing a mask to help to protect those at a higher risk.

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