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Local COVID-19 cases increase; public health says take precautions

With seven lab confirmed and 219 probable cases in the region as of Monday, March 30, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health reminds residents that ongoing physical distancing will reduce the risk of community spread of COVID-19.

“Without confirmed lab results, it is difficult to estimate how many probable cases are truly COVID-19, however residents should recognize that there are increasing numbers of cases in the community, and take all necessary precautions to help prevent the spread,” said Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO in a HPEPH statement.

All lab-confirmed and probable cases are required to self-isolate for 14 days, or until 24 hours after their symptoms resolve, whichever is longer.

Contacts of COVID-19 cases are identified and managed according to their level of risk. Close contacts with a high-risk exposure are also required to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms following last exposure to the case. Other contacts may be directed to monitor for symptoms over a period of 14 days.

At this time, a probable case is a person exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 who has travelled to outside of Canada, has had close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, or has had close contact with a person who has acute respiratory illness and has travelled outside of Canada – 14 days prior to onset of illness.

As testing for COVID-19 is being prioritized based on Ontario Ministry of Health criteria, local surveillance needs, and available resources, it is not possible or necessary to conduct lab testing for all probable cases.

“Practising physical distancing is critical to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community, and everyone has a role to play by reducing their physical interaction with others.” said Oglaza. “Leave home only for essential reasons, such as getting groceries or prescriptions once a week or less, accessing health care services when needed, and helping vulnerable community members do the same. Limit your close contacts to those in your household, and if you must be in public, stay at least two metres away from others to protect yourself and those around you.”

For additional information, residents are encouraged to visit hpePublicHealth.ca. The HPEPH web site contains current information about COVID-19, including the number of local lab confirmed and probable cases, as well as answers for many frequently asked questions. Residents of Hastings and Prince Edward Counties who still have questions about COVID-19 after reviewing the online content can call the COVID-19 information line at 613-966-5500. The line is open 8:30 am to 8:30 pm Monday to Friday, and 8:30 am to 4:30 pm on weekends.

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

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