While at last count there are at least 35 suspected cases of COVID-19 identified by Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health, the first and now second confirmed case has been announced by the local health unit.
HPEPH has announced Thursday afternoon that the first lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 has been identified in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties in an individual who has recently returned from travel outside of Canada.
This individual developed symptoms of COVID-19, sought medical care immediately, and remains in self-isolation at home. This case confirms that COVID-19 is in our community, reinforcing the need for all individuals to engage in social distancing, remain home if sick, and implement regular infection control practices.
On Friday at noon, HPEPH announced Ontario Public Health Laboratory tests have confirmed a second case of COVID-19 in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties, unrelated to the case announced Thursday or those in quarantine at CFB Trenton.
The individual recently returned from travel outside of Canada, developed symptoms of COVID-19, sought medical care, and remains in self-isolation at home.
Given the understanding that COVID-19 is now present in our community, effective immediately, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) will report new local lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the hpePublicHealth.ca website, rather than issuing individual media releases.
The information will be located on the main COVID-19 page and updated daily at 2 p.m.
“The best method for us to combat COVID-19 in our community is to stay home if possible, practice social distancing, avoid large gatherings, and remain diligent with handwashing and infection control practices” said Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO for HPEPH. “The responsibility lies with each of us to do everything we can to keep ourselves, our families and our neighbours healthy”.
In response to the increased need for community screening and information, the HPEPH COVID-19 information line is operating 8:30 am to 8:30 pm Monday to Friday, and 8:30 am to 4:30 pm on weekends. Callers are assessed for risk of COVID-19 based on their travel history, symptoms, and the Ministry of Health case definitions.
As announced by Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) on March 16, there are also probable cases of COVID-19 in our community. Probable cases are advised to self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days. A probable case is defined as a person with a fever (over 38 degrees Celsius) and/or a cough andany of the following within 14 days prior to onset of illness:
- travel to an impacted area, or
- close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, or
- close contact with a person with acute respiratory illness who has been to an impacted area.
“Testing is being prioritized based on Ontario Ministry of Health criteria and our local surveillance needs,” added Dr. Oglaza. “All cases are instructed to remain in self-isolation until they are no longer infectious as determined by public health”. Travellers returning from anywhere outside Canada have been directed to self-isolate for 14 days following their return and to contact HPEPH if they develop symptoms.”
An official with HPEPH confirmed to the Gazette that not all probable COVID-19 cases are being tested.
In response to the increased need for community screening and information, the HPEPH COVID-19 information line will be extending its hours. Effective today, the call line will operate 8:30 am to 8:30 pm Monday to Friday, and 8:30 am to 4:30 pm on weekends. Callers are assessed for risk of COVID-19 based on their travel history, symptoms, and the Ministry of Health case definitions.
The HPEPH website, hpePublicHealth.ca is continuously updated and contains current information and answers for many questions about COVID-19, infection control, and outbreak preparedness. 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.
Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19