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County preparing in case of move to COVID-19 level orange

Prince Edward County is preparing to take further action if the municipality moves from yellow-protect to orange-restrict under Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework.

“We are not there yet, but we need to start making plans with cases of COVID-19 still increasing in the Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) region,” said Mayor Steve Ferguson. “It is vital that we protect our vulnerable populations and our health-care system capacity. One key way we can do that is by limiting as much as possible interaction among people who don’t live together.”

(UPDATED) Green (prevent) weekly incidence rate is < 10 per 100,000 and percentage of positivity is < 0.5

Yellow (protect) weekly incidence rate is 10 to 24.9 per 100,000 or positivity .5-1.2 per cent

Orange (restrict) weekly incidence rate is 25 to 39.9 per 100,000 or percentage positivity is 1.3-2.4 per cent.

Red (control) weekly incidence rate is < 40 per 100,000; positivity < 2.5 per cent.

Lockdown is adverse trends after eating red/control such as increasing weekly case incidence or test positivity.

All municipal buildings, town halls, and museums would close to the public under orange-restrict for at least 28 days, at which time the municipality would re-evaluate the measures. The municipality would continue to provide essential services in-person by appointment only. Other non-essential services such as acquiring a burn permit or making a payment can be accessed through the County’s website or by mail.

Should the province and the local public health unit move the HPEPH region to orange-protect, the County would take extra precautions and close all recreation facilities including the walking track at the Wellington and District Community Centre. The municipality would pause team sports, practices, and training in municipal facilities. This measure would go beyond the provincial requirements under orange-restrict.

“We understand these measures will be disappointing for some, but we believe it’s the right thing to do given that we are in the middle of the second wave of this pandemic and the County remains in a declared state of emergency,” Mayor Ferguson stated. “We managed to keep the case count low during the summer despite the record tourism numbers, but now as people move indoors and the case numbers are rising all around us, we have to take extra measures to protect the health and safety of our community.”

The County is encouraging people to find safe ways to get outside and stay active this winter. The Millennium Trail remains open, and the municipality is exploring the feasibility of adding more outdoor rinks working with local recreation committees. The municipality clears sidewalks in towns and hamlets throughout the winter to ensure people can walk and get exercise.

Private businesses, churches, and outdoor markets would be permitted to remain open under orange-restrict as long as they are following the measures set out in the provincial response framework.

Prince Edward County Public Library branches would continue to stay open should the region move to orange-restrict, offering curbside pick-up and with limited in-person access. Service updates will be posted on the library website.

People must wear a mask or face covering when inside an enclosed public space or at an outdoor market when physical distancing is not possible. Residents should also follow HPEPH’s advice to protect themselves and others:
Stay home when you are ill
Wash your hands often and clean frequently touched surfaces
Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Gary Mooney says:

    The increase in Covid-19 cases in recent weeks is happening everywhere in Ontario, in fact everywhere in Canada. Nothing to do with tourists visiting the County. In the Quinte area, the increase is partially due to outbreaks in workplaces — e.g. P&G in Belleville, and Walmart in Quinte West.

    Looking at recent number, it looks like we may escape the move to Orange level.

  2. SM says:

    Consult the Hastings Prince Edward Covid Dashboard. Between May 1 and September 30, the County had a total of 2 cases. Between October 1 and December 8, the County had a total of 5 cases. Interestingly the latter 5 cases arose in the last month. I am not wild about dodging around the hoard of tourists either, but the tourist covid threat has just not panned out in reality. The bulk of the cases that Hastings Prince Edward Public Health reported between May and September were travel related.

  3. CountyProud says:

    I’m seeing many many Quebec vehicles in town and at the grocery stores lately. They must be staying somewhere and I can only assume it is at private rentals (by owners who don’t live here or apparently care about the community)

  4. angela says:

    In some ways we have ourselves partly to blame for our current problems. A few years ago the potential impact of tourism on the county was evident but anyone who dared question its importance was firmly told that it provided jobs (seasonal, minimum wage, part-time jobs) and was the salvation of the county. When locals heard of how much there was to be made with vacation rentals they jumped on the band wagon to make a killing. We should have spoken out to council loud and clear a long time ago about the ridiculous number of vacation rental houses, many owned by outsiders, and voiced what turned out to be very real concerns. The writing was on the wall but we ignored it. Now we are a playground for tourists and always will be. Along with those coveted dollars they bring to a certain sector of the county, they could bring Covid to the rest of us.

  5. Ign says:

    With all due respect it’s completely tenuous to draw a causal link between summer tourists and December Covid numbers! Looking for every opportunity, no matter how obscure, to bash tourist and the businesses that reply upon them isn’t credible!

  6. Lisa says:

    This is not good enough. By not minimizing tourists this past summer the Municipality put our health at risk. The record high tourist numbers is making what was once a special place to live and visit into a theme park.
    Why hasn’t there been a complete halt on all private rentals to allow our communities to rightfully heal?

  7. Michelle says:

    The arenas do not need to be shutdown. That is open space with adequate distancing and recreation is more important than bars and high end restaurants.

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