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County prepping for COVID-19 potential impact

With waves of international news about the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and its declaration from the World Health Organization Wednesday as a pandemic illness, Prince Edward County is preparing for potential impact.

Throughout Canada, social distancing has begun with some closures of schools, restriction of access to hospitals and nursing homes, the cancellation of sporting events, company employees working from home and the ask of people to curtail non-essential travel.

Prince Edward County has announced the municipality continues to monitor the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and its potential impacts on the community.

“The municipal Emergency Management Control Group (EMCG) met for the first time today to discuss and plan for COVID-19 and flooding preparedness,” said Mayor Steve Ferguson. “From these meetings will come the plans to deal with these threats as well as public updates.”

It is in the process of implementing enhanced cleaning measures in its buildings and recreation facilities to prevent community spread of the virus.

The County is also receiving updates from Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) and the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC).

The new virus, originating in Wuhan, China in December 2019, is a unique strain of a common virus. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) are examples of coronaviruses. Symptoms have ranged from mild cold-like to severe illness with fever, cough, difficulty breathing and pneumonia. There is no vaccine and no drugs to treat it. Coronaviruses spread through droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or through contact such as touching and shaking hands. Most people recover without requiring treatment and some who are infected develop no symptoms.

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health reported its first case of COVID-19 in the region March 11. An individual at Canadian Forces Base Trenton tested positive, having arrived March 9 aboard the flight of Canadians repatriated from the Grand Princess cruise ship off California.

People returning from areas under a travel health advisory for COVID-19 are asked to monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days after leaving the affected area

The Prince Edward Family Health Team is not performing COVID-19 tests at this time. Anyone who has returned from international travel within the past 14 days, with upper respiratory infections, or flu-like illnesses, to call Public Health at 613-966-5500 or Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000.

Public Health will advise if you need to be tested for COVID-19, and where to go for your test. People in respiratory distress, or otherwise seem critically ill, should call 911.

H.J. McFarland Memorial Home, the municipality’s long-term care facility, is actively screening all staff, visitors, and volunteers given that the residents are a vulnerable population more susceptible to severe illness.

People entering the Home will be asked a series of questions (e.g. Do you have a fever? Do you have a cough? Have you recently travelled outside the province?)

Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to many other respiratory illnesses, which include fever, cough, and respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. HPEPH reminds the community of key ways to prevent the spread of all respiratory infections:
Wash your hands frequently
Cough and sneeze into the bend of your arm, not into your hands
Avoid touching your nose, mouth, or eyes with your hands
Clean objects and surfaces that many people touch, such as: doorknobs, phones, light switches, ATM PIN pads, touchscreens, and television remotes
Eat healthy foods and stay physically active to keep your immune system strong
Get plenty of rest or sleep
Get your influenza vaccine
Stay home when you are sick, and avoid contact with other people until your symptoms are gone
If you suspect you are sick, avoid visiting people in long-term care, or individuals with health concerns

For general information about COVID-19, visit the HPEPH website https://hpepublichealth.ca/. Additional information is available on the Ministry of Health website.

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Lorie Easton says:

    Does anyone know what other nursing homes in the area are doing to protect the vulnerable seniors? I’m particularly interested in knowing about Hallowell House. Are the procedures mandated by public health authorities or voluntary?

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