Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
Online Bulletin for Municipal Partners
March 25, 2020
To ensure everyone has current information during this quickly evolving outbreak, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health will be providing regular COVID-19 updates over the next several weeks.
For more information please review our website or call 613-966-5500.
- The definition of "prolonged contact" for individuals undergoing risk assessment for COVID-19 with HPEPH has been clarified, where "prolonged" is considered at least 15 min within 2 metres of an ill person (15 minutes is not cumulative, but in one instance).
Status of Cases in Ontario (Ministry of Health)
|Negative || 24,458 |
|Currently under investigation || 10,489 |
|Confirmed positive || 671 |
|Resolved || 8 |
|Deceased || 9 |
|Total number of patients approved for COVID-19 testing to date || 35,635 |
- In Canada the total number of confirmed cases is 1,959, with 27 deaths.
Mandatory 14-day quarantine for all travellers returning from outside Canada:
- Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said this morning that all travellers returning to Canada (save designated "essential workers") will have to enter a mandatory 14-day quarantine as of midnight tonight, to try to slow the spread of COVID-19. Under the Quarantine Act, if a designated quarantine officer believes that a traveller has refused to isolate themselves, they can ask a peace officer to arrest the traveller and bring them into quarantine.
Social Distancing and Federal Services:
- Prime Minister Trudeau stressed the urgent need for Canadians to practice social distancing (also now being refered to as "physical distancing"), emphasizing that "Our actions now will determine how long this will go on, so stay at home".
- Parks Canada is suspending motor vehicle access to national parks, historic sites and marine conservation sites starting today.
- The Public Health Agency of Canada noted that a significant number of new cases in the last few days are from community transmission, with nearly equal numbers of Canadians having acquired COVID-19 through community transmission as travel. The community transmission is predominantly from close-contacts, mainly those sharing homes with lab-confirmed cases.
Federal Aid Package:
- After hours of negotiations, the House of Commons has adopted a modified version of the federal governments' $82 billion aid package to bring direct financial aid to Canadians and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Both Conservative and NDP House members were concerned that the bill gives unprecedented spending authority to the Finance Minister while Parliament's role is ill-defined. The modifications include removing the Liberals' ability to raise taxes unilaterally and shortening the period in which the government can take emergency spending measures without Parliament's approval from two years to six months.
Reduction in Electricity Rates:
- Electricity rates will be reduced to the off-peak rate for families, small businesses and farms over the next 45 days for those that pay based on time-of-use.
- This reduced price will be available 24/7 to all time-of-use customers and will be applied automatically to electricity bills.
- The Ontario Energy Board's winter ban on disconnecting electricity users has been extended to July 31st.
School and Business Closures:
- Schools will not reopen April 6th; the government needs to see how the pandemic is unfolding before determining a return date; more information will follow as to how the Ministry of Education will further support students with virtual learning. Premier Ford emphasized that keeping kids safe was his number one priority.
- Premier Ford noted that the list of essential services released late Monday night can be modified with services added or taken off as needed, and that the government won't hesitate to shut down further services, noting that "we will do everything we can to slow down the virus".
- The province has launched a toll-free line 1-888-444-3659 to provide support to Ontario businesses who have questions about the province's recent emergency order to close at-risk workplaces following recommendations by Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health.
- Premier Ford reminded workers that should they feel unsafe, they have the right to leave their workplace.
Safety of Residents in Long-term Care:
- The province issued an order to ensure personnel can be deployed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care homes.
- This temporary order gives long-term care homes the ability to free-up staff, identify staffing priorities, and develop, modify and implement redeployment plans similar to the powers provided to hospitals.
- Ontario is also increasing long-term care bed availability to ensure homes are able to provide isolation rooms.
- The Premier admonished those that are not following social distancing and urged people to do the right thing by staying home; he emphasized that "we must all make sacrifices to get through this and put our collective well-being above of all else".
Testing and Medical Equipment/Personnel:
- The province is targeting to undertake 5,000 tests a day by the end of the week by drawing on all labs across the province.
- A provincial diagnostics coordination network is being established immediately, lead by Ontario Health, to provide integrated coordination of resources, procurement and test routing. They will also be evaluating innovative testing approaches in the next 2 days.
- The Ministry of Health is developing guidance from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) regarding the appropriate use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for non-health care workers. Efforts continue to pursue all options to secure additional supplies and equipment, with a priority focus on masks and ventilators, in the quantities needed to meet current and projected demands, including significant procurements. Progress is being made as federal and provincial governments mobilize to source and find innovative approaches.
- Home Depot donated more than 20,000 masks and other organizations are providing their medical supplies to the province.
- The Ministry of Health is launching a volunteer website to mobilize available workforce capacity towards the provincial response to COVID-19. The website focuses on health care providers, former health care providers who are retired, or on inactive status with their regulatory college, and other types of volunteers.
- Belleville General Hospital is now accepting donations of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Drop off instructions: PPE donations can be dropped off between 8 am-4 pm. Please bring the donations to the back Sills entrance, located at the south east corner of the Sills building (currently the only accessible staff entrance). Doors may be locked but security staff will be available at the site and will accept donations.
- Effective 9:00 a.m. on Thursday March 26, 2020, Addictions and Mental Health Services HPE is expanding services to include an “Addictions and Mental Health Pandemic Helpline” for the residents of Hastings and Prince Edward Counties, who are experiencing difficulties coping with their mental health or substance use issues as a result of the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic. This helpline will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and those wishing to connect with a professional can do so, by calling 613-967-4737.
- Highland Shores Children's Aid will continue to operate, although non-essential meetings have been cancelled until at least April 5 and most staff are working from home. Tami Callahan, Executive Director of Highland Shores Children's Aid stated “We continue to provide Child, Youth and Family Services (CYFSA) and court-mandated services at this time, but if you visit any one of our offices, you will be asked screening questions prior to entry if entry is deemed necessary by staff." Anyone with concern about the safety or well-being of a child or youth under 18 should immediately call Highland Shores, 24/7, at 1-800-267-0570.
- A list of Public Health service interruptions is available on our website to assist the public determine what services they can access while public health offices are closed to the public.
- Although public-facing services are currently suspended at HPEPH offices. Home water testing bottles can be dropped off at the Belleville office, Monday to Thursday, between 8:30 am and 4 pm and at the North Hastings office, Tuesday and Thursday, bewteen 8:30 and and noon.
- There has been a recent increase of overdoses in the Belleville area. Harm reduction and naloxone supplies are available at the Belleville and North Hastings offices between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm.
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