For Municipal Partners

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
Online Bulletin for Municipal Partners

May 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.

Updates

Epidemiological

  • Hastings and Prince Edward Counties have 43 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 183 probable cases, with 32 lab-confirmed cases having recovered and 5 deceased.
    • Approximately 6,833 COVID-19 tests have been conducted, with a 0.7% positivity rate.
    • Facilities experiencing COVID-19 outbreak can be found online.
    • More details are available on our website hpePublicHealth.ca.
  • In Canada, there are 85,092 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 resulting in 6,453 deaths. To date, over 1,479,838 individuals have been tested.

Summary of cases of COVID-19: Ontario, January 15, 2020 to May 24, 2020

  Number    Percentage
Number of cases 25,904 N/A
Change from Sunday report (new cases) 404 1.6 increase
Resolved 19,698 76.0
Subset of all cases that are reported to be long-term care residents 4,862 18.8
Subset of all cases that are reported as a health care worker associated with long-term care outbreaks 1,678 6.5
Total number of deaths 2,102 8.1
Deaths reported for residents in long-term care homes 1,323 62.9
Deaths reported for health care workers in long-term care homes 4 0.2
Demographics    
Male 11,149 43.0
Female 14,526 56.1
19 and under 845 3.3
20-39 6,565 25.3
40-59 7,906 30.5
60-79 5,313 20.3
80 and over 5,260 20.3
Testing    
Total tests completed 619,539 N/A
Total tests completed in the previous day 8,170 N/A
Currently under investigation 3,883 N/A
Hospitalizations    
Number of patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19 859 N/A
Number of patients currently in ICU with COVID-19 148 N/A
Number of patients currently in ICU on a ventilator with COVID-19 114 N/A

Note: 229 cases did not specify male or female. 15 cases had an unknown age.

  • There are 25,904 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario reported to date.
    • 43% of cases are male, 56.1% are female.
    • 40.8% of cases are 60 years of age and older.
    • Greater Toronto Area public health units account for 64.8% of cases.
    • 12.6% of cases were hospitalized.
  • 2,102 deaths have been reported (please note there may be a reporting delay for deaths).
  • 295 outbreaks have been reported in long-term care homes.

Federal

Testing and Contact Tracing

  • Friday, Prime Minister Trudeau's comments centred around the three areas of focus that are needed in order to safely reopen the economy. While the Prime Minister praised Canadians for doing a great job following public health measures, he stressed that we are "not out of the woods yet". The three areas of focus include:

      1. Need to continue scaling up testing to quickly identify and isolate new cases

  • Procurement of reagents and swabs continues for ramped up testing.
  • While Canada has the capacity to conduct around 600,000 tests per day, the country is not operating at that capacity as some regions aren't seeing as much of a need to increase testing.
  • The federal government has concluded that we need to be ready with this capacity in case there is a surge.

      2. Need to accelerate ability to do contact tracing

  • Federal resources are available to assist provinces and territories who are facing backlogs, surges, or challenges; federal employees are already helping in Ontario and are ready to help elsewhere.
  • Federal employees are being trained to assist with contact tracing to make 3,600 contact tracing calls per day, 7 days/week; Statistics Canada has an additional 1,700 interviewers ready to go who can make up to 20,000 calls/day.
  • Digital tracing is also being examined. To be effective in tracking people travelling across the country, one single contact tracing and notification app would be needed for the whole country.
  • Google and Apple are expected to make an announcement in June about a new digital tracing app that requires less battery power.

      3. Need to make sure that information collected across jurisdictions is shared

  • With some regions being hit harder than others, in order to safely move around freely, an increased ability to pinpoint and isolate the virus quickly will be needed.
  • The federal government has indicated it is available to support, facilitate and fund testing, contact tracing, and data collection.

Task Force for a Resilient Recovery

  • This federal task force of independent finance, policy and sustainability leaders is looking at how to build long-term economic recovery in Canada that supports jobs, infrastructure and growth and keeps Canada competitive in the economy of the 21st century.
  • The fourteen task force members are backed by eight expert advisors and research organizations, including the Smart Prosperity Institute who have submitted to them The Resilient Recovery Framework to potentially use in their assessments.

Accessing Federal Benefits

  • A new online tool is now available to help people navigate the various federal supports. By going to www.canada.ca/coronavirusbenefits and answering a series of simple questions, the tool generates a list of benefits for which an individual may be eligible.

Provincial

Supporting Hospitality and Skilled Trades Sectors

  • Labour, Training and Skills Development Minister McNaughton noted that hospitality workers and skilled tradespeople have been among those hit hardest by this pandemic. He announced Ontario's first Virtual Action Centre, an online counselling and training portal, to support laid-off and unemployed hospitality workers; he also announced specific supports for apprentices.
  • The provincial government is investing nearly $2 million to open this Virtual Action Centre in partnership with UNITE HERE Local 75. This virtual job training resource will provide up to 7,000 unemployed workers in the hospitality sector with access to a wide range of services and supports online and over the phone, including:
    • Stress management and mental health resources through video conferencing.
    • Immediate health and safety online training for workers who return to work at designated quarantined sites.
    • Technical skills online training.
    • Online training to upgrade English language and digital skills.
    • Peer group facilitation and employment preparation through videoconferencing.
    • The government is providing an Ontario Tools Grant of $2.5 million in 2020-2021 and $7.5 million in 2021-2022 and ongoing to support eligible apprentices (e.g. in motive power, construction and industrial and service sectors) so they can purchase the equipment they need to start their careers.
    • The government is also forgiving more than $10 million in outstanding loans owed by apprentices for tool purchases made at the beginning of their careers.

Reopening the Economy

  • When asked about the indicators being relied on for reopening (e.g. looking at hospital capacity instead of number of cases), Premier Ford said that he is looking to the health table for those directives and noted that we have a "great public health system here in Ontario".
  • Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Williams, later explained that hospital indicators are but one indicator, and there are many others being considered to guide the public health directives.
  • Premier Ford held a short media briefing Sunday morning to ask Ontarians for their help in tackling COVID-19 by getting tested and maintaining social distancing.
  • He emphasized the best defence against the virus, until we have a vaccine, is to ramp up testing and he encouraged those who have symptoms, or are worried or think they may have been exposed to the virus to visit one of the province's 129 assessment centres.
  • Premier Ford reminded Ontarians that the only way we can continue to open up the economy is "if we see the number of cases going down... we need to work together to stop the spread... we can't let up now... the stakes are too high".

Elective Surgeries

  • In response to questions about hospitals resuming elective surgeries, Health Minister Elliott explained that hospitals are preparing and submitting readiness assessments and applications which are being reviewed on a regional basis. Hospital leaders need to ensure they have the required measures in place, including sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) for elective surgeries, which need to be obtained independently of pandemic PPE supplies.

Digital Tracing

  • While Alberta is currently employing a voluntary app for digital tracing, Premier Ford noted that it only has an 11% uptake and that other jurisdictions are also seeing a low update of digital tracing apps.
  • Ontario is doing contact tracing manually, thanks to over 2,000 contact tracers who are out on a daily basis as a result of combined efforts of the Ministry of Health, Public Health, and the federal government. Additionally, hundreds of people have come forward to help, including medical students.
  • While Ontario is actively looking for a digital app, it would need to address issues of privacy.

Testing and the Role of Public Health

  • The Premier emphasized the importance of testing and indicated increased advertising will occur to encourage people who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 to get tested.
  • When asked about testing among children, Health Minister Elliot noted that when warranted, the province would look at testing children along with other segments of the population, particularly as children may exhibit different symptoms of COVID-19; such testing would only be done with parental permission.
  • The COVID-19 Command and Testing Strategic Tables are encouraging facilities such as long-term care homes, retirement residences, and some acute care hospitals to repeat testing and expand testing to asymptomatic staff.
  • Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Williams took a moment to offer some clarification on the role of public health in testing. He explained that:
    • While Public Health coordinated the long-term care survey, the testing is carried out by assessment centre staff and other staff recruited by Ontario Health.
    • Public Health is focusing on case contact management, outbreak management, and if outbreaks occur in long term care and retirement residences, public health would be coordinating the testing of all staff and residents in those facilities.
    • Hospitals that have outbreaks are under the authority of the Ontario Hospitals Act to undertake their own surveillance and response to outbreaks.

Local

  • The Quinte West Public Library is excited to announce the first stage in its phased reopening of library services as directed by the province. The Library‚Äôs return bins in Trenton and Frankford will reopen on Monday, May 25. The Library will quarantine all returned library material to ensure that the COVID-19 virus cannot be transmitted when the material goes out to the next borrower. The return bins will be open for drop off of materials Monday to Friday 8:30-4:30. In addition, as of June 1, the library will begin a new curbside pick-up service.
  • The City of Belleville advises that, starting June 1, residents will be allowed to place one bag of garbage without tags at the curb for pick-up on collection day. All other bags collected will require bag tags. Until June 1, residents will be allowed to place up to two bags of garbage without tags at the curb for pick-up. Starting July 1, the City will resume regular collection requiring tags for all bags placed at the curb.
  • The Tweed visitor information centre will remain closed for the season. Anyone with visitor information questions are requested to email info@tweed.ca or visit the website www.tweed.ca.
  • Food for Learning reminds students of the importance of eating healthy, whether in the classroom or learning from home. Food for Learning continues to support students during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing families with grocery gift cards to purchase food while learning continues at home. Those looking for support in providing nutritious breakfast, lunch and/or snacks to their children, are asked to contact the Principal where they attend school.
  • Public Education and Awareness about violence against women and children is a part of the Three Oaks commitment to the promotion of equality and the end of violence. Training and Education Coordinator, Kristin is offering Virtual Public Education sessions. Those interested in having Three Oaks participate in a virtual staff meeting, are requested to email Kristin at kristinh@threeoaks.ca or call 613-242-6524.

Public Health

  • Following Premier Ford's announcement this past weekend asking more people to seek COVID-19 testing, residents of Hastings and Prince Edward Counties are requested to avoid going to a local assessment centre without an appointment.
    • Individuals without symptoms of illness who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 are encouraged to call their local assessment centre directly to book an appointment for testing:
      • For Bancroft, Belleville, or Trenton assessment centres, call 613-961-5544 (to avoid long distance charges in the Bancroft area, call 613-332-2825 ext. 2222).
      • In Picton, call 613-813-6864.
    • Individuals with symptoms of illness or questions about COVID-19 are encouraged to contact their health care provider, the HPEPH COVID-19 information line at 613-966-5500/1-800-267-2803, or Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000.

We want to ensure this bulletin is as useful as possible. Please send your questions, comments and suggestions to klarose@hpeph.ca

Contact Information: 

To give us your comments: klarose@hpeph.ca

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