For Municipal Partners

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
Online Bulletin for Municipal Partners

September 29, 2020

To ensure everyone has current information during this quickly evolving outbreak, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health will be providing regular COVID-19 updates.

For more information please review our website or call 613-966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803.



  • Hastings and Prince Edward Counties has 54 cumulative lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19, for a total of 2 active cases, with 47 having recovered and 5 deceased. Nearly 36,000 tests have been completed to date.
    • There are no local long-term care facilities experiencing COVID-19 outbreak; additional outbreak details can be found online.More information is available on our website
  • In Canada, there are 155,301 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 13,416 active cases. To date, there have been 9,278 COVID-19 related deaths and more than 7,220,108 individuals tested.

Summary of cases of COVID-19: Ontario, Jan. 15, 2020 to Sept. 28, 2020




Number of Cases



Change from previous day’s report (new cases)


1.1 increase




Change from previous day’s report


0.7 increase

Total number of deaths



Total tests completed



Total test completed in the previous day



Currently under investigation



Summary of Cases in Ontario Schools - Updated Sept. 29


Number of New Cases

School-related cases (total)


School-related student cases


School-related staff cases


Individual(s) not identified


Current number of schools with a reported case


Current number of schools closed




Canada Signs Agreement for Rapid COVID-19 Tests and Analysers

  • Today the Government of Canada announced that it has signed an agreement with Abbott Rapid Diagnostics ULC to purchase up to 7.9 million ID NOW rapid point-of-care tests, pending Health Canada authorization of the tests.
  • If authorized, these tests would be deployed to provinces and territories to support them in ramping up surge capacity for COVID-19 testing.
  • Under the agreement with Abbott, the Government of Canada is also purchasing up to 3,800 analyzers, which are the devices that perform the test and deliver the rapid results.

COVID-19 Vaccines

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the government has signed an agreement with AstraZeneca to secure up to 20 million doses of its viral vector vaccine candidate AZD1222.
  • He also announced Canada's participation in the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility, which includes committing some $220M to this global procurement mechanism so that it can procure up to 15 million vaccine doses for Canadians; an additional $220M will support the purchase of doses for low- and middle-income countries.

Recovery Benefits

  • Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced last Friday the introduction of Bill C-2 to support workers not eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) and provide income support through three new temporary Recovery Benefits including:
    • Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) of $500 per week for up to 26 weeks, to workers who are self-employed or are not eligible for EI and who still require income support.
    • Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) of $500 per week for up to two weeks, for workers who are sick or must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19.
    • Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) of $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household, for eligible Canadians unable to work because they must care for a child under the age of 12 or family member because their school, day-care or care facility is closed due to COVID-19 or because the child or family member is sick and/or required to quarantine. Canadians will be able to apply for the CRB, CRSB, and CRCB through the Canada Revenue Agency for one year up until September 25, 2021. This legislation is pending Parliamentary approval. More details about the eligibility criteria can be found online.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's National Address on COVID-19

  • In his televised address last Thursday, following the Throne Speech, Prime Minister Trudeau warned viewers "in our four biggest provinces, the second wave isn't just starting, it's already underway,' indicating "we're on the brink of a fall that could be much worse than the spring."
  • He added "it's all too likely we won't be gathering for Thanksgiving, but we still have a shot at Christmas."
  • The Prime Minister emphasized that "together we have the power to get this second wave under control" and the future is in our hands. He urged Canadians to wear masks in public, get the flu shot this fall, and download the government's COVID Alert app, emphasizing that "this is the time for all of us as Canadians, to do our part for our country, as government does its part for you."


Ontario Investing $52.5M in Health Care Workers

Premier Doug Ford announced that the province is investing an additional $26.3 million to support personal support workers (PSWs) and supportive care workers, including:

  • $14 million to continue training PSWs in the home and community care and long-term care sectors;
  • $10.3 million for the new Personal Support Worker Return of Service Program, to recruit and retain recent graduates to work in long-term care homes and in the home and community care sectors. This program will provide a $5,000 incentive to 2,000 recent graduates for a six-month commitment to work in these settings;
  • $1.3 million to train 160 supportive care workers to provide basic home support services; and
  • $700,000 in accelerated PSW training for 220 students with prior health experience to practice in Ontario.

The province is investing an additional $26 million to support nurses, including:

  • $18 million for Ontario's Nursing Graduate Guarantee program, which provides full-time salary and benefits for over 600 nurses with a focus on recruiting in areas of need such as long-term care homes and acute care settings; and
  • up to $8 million to add over 800 nurses to the health system in areas of need across the province.

The province is supporting frontline workers, families and caregivers by:

  • investing $200,000 to improve the algorithm for the Ontario Matching Portal so that employers can get faster matches to best meet their needs;
  • expanding training, tools and resources available to frontline workers across the social services sector; and
  • continuing to update visitor policies for congregate care settings, including long-term care, that promote family and caregiver involvement to support better care and reduce isolation.

New Province-Wide Public Health Measures

The Ontario government has amended order O. Reg 364/20 to tighten public health measures in order to reduce the risk of transmission and limit future outbreaks of COVID-19. This province-wide order, effective Saturday, September 26 at 12:01 am:

  • Applies new restrictions to restaurants, bars and other food and drinking establishments (including nightclubs) by prohibiting the sale of alcohol after 11 pm and the consumption of alcohol on the premises after 12:00 am until 9:00 am (including employees); such establishments are required to close by 12:00 am and remain closed until 5:00 am except for takeout or delivery;
  • Closes all strip clubs across the province.
  • Requires businesses or organizations to comply with any advice, recommendations, and instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health on screening for COVID-19, including screening individuals who wish to enter their premises.

Efforts to Reduce Health Service Backlogs

Premier Doug Ford announced a $741M investment to help clear the backlog of surgeries and build more capacity in the healthcare system to effectively manage surges and outbreaks in COVID-19 cases. Details of the plan include:

  • Investing up to $283.7M to support additional priority surgeries including cancer, cardiac, cataract and orthopedic procedures.
  • Extending diagnostic imaging hours at health care facilities for MRIs, CT scans, and other critical procedures.
  • Adding an additional 139 critical care and 1,349 hospital beds and alternate health facilities to support more surgical procedures.
  • Initiating a centralized waitlist and program to optimize the use of operating rooms, increase the number of surgical procedures in hospitals by hundreds on average per year and improve patient flow by leveraging available surgical capacity in each region.

Expanding COVID-19 Testing and Contact Management:

Premier Ford announced a $1.07B investment to:

  • Expand COVID-19 testing locations, options and capacity.
  • Add 1,000 more case and contact management staff to reach a total of 3,750 such staff, including some 500 Statistics Canada employees this month.
  • Have better health behaviour information to track adherence to public health measures and understand how to better communicate the importance of following public health measures.
  • Quickly identify, manage and prevent outbreaks, including a new, customized case and contact management digital system for rapid identification of cases and enhanced infection control measures in congregate settings and isolation facilities.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said the province is working with Ontario Health, local public health units, hospitals and pharmacies to expand testing locations "based upon local needs." She indicated that "this will include more testing in new locations, such as your doctor's office and at-home for certain home and community care clients."

On the question of rapid COVID-19 tests, Premier Ford said that he is aware of seven different tests being evaluated by federal health regulators and urged Health Canada to tell him when one of them will be approved.

Updated COVID-19 Testing Guidelines

The province released new testing guidance to prioritize publicly-funded testing resources for school children and others with symptoms of COVID-19 and shift away from untargeted asymptomatic testing.

Effective immediately, Ontarians should only seek testing at assessment centres if they are:

  • Showing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus, as informed by their public health unit or through the COVID Alert app.
  • A resident or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by their local public health unit.
  • Eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care.

COVID-19 Testing in Pharmacies

  • Starting September 25, Ontario is offering COVID-19 testing in 60 participating pharmacies across the province. [There are currently no participating pharmacies in HPEC].
  • Pharmacies may choose to provide testing for Ontarians who have no COVID-19 symptoms; Individuals will be able to visit select pharmacies by appointment only, they will be pre-screened and then tested at no charge.
  • Three hospitals will be offering saliva testing (i.e. Women's College, Mount Sinai and University Health Network-Toronto Western). The saliva-based test will be conducted alongside existing testing (i.e. nasal-pharyngeal) to assess its accuracy.

Ontario Set to Employ the Largest Number of Labour Inspectors in Province's History

  • The Ontario government is launching a recruitment campaign to increase its team of frontline health and safety inspectors by 98.
  • The hiring of these new workers will see the number of active inspectors in the province increase from 409 to 507, an increase of 24 per cent. Training is set to begin later this fall.
  • Recruitment of the inspectors will begin in early October 2020. Applicants will have one month to apply.

Ontario Launching Largest Flu Immunization Campaign in Province's History

The campaign is part of the province's comprehensive plan to prepare the health system for a second wave of COVID-19. The plan, entitled Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19, sets out a series of steps to prevent, identify and respond to any outbreak scenario this fall.

  • Given the size and complexity of the Keeping Ontarians Safe plan, the province will release details over the coming days.
  • The province is investing almost $70 million to purchase flu vaccines to deliver a robust and expanded campaign this year.
  • Ontario has implemented several measures, such as:
    • Ordering 5.1 million flu vaccine doses in partnership with the federal government and other provinces and territories, 700,000 more than the approximated usage last year. This includes 1.3 million highdose vaccine doses for Ontario seniors, especially those with pre-existing health conditions.
    • Prioritizing early distribution of the flu vaccine for vulnerable populations in longterm care homes, hospitals and retirement homes.
    • Improving access by allocating highdose flu vaccines for seniors to participating pharmacies.
    • Investing an additional $26.5 million to purchase additional flu vaccine doses if required and made available through the national vaccine bulk procurement program.


  • QHC has created an online pre-registration form for clients attending the Belleville and Trenton CACs. People are being asked to pre-register before attending any CACs - it is now mandatory in Picton. Please see the HPEPH Getting Tested page for more information.
  • The HPEDSB issued a letter to families with COVID-19 updates and a reminder that parents will need to decide between virtual and in-person schooling for the rest of Semester 1 by 3:00 pm on September 30.
  • The ALCDSB reminds families that the next date to change between virtual and online learning models for elementary students is Tuesday, October 13, 2020. The school board will be accepting requests to change learning delivery starting on Monday, September 28 through an online survey and must be completed by October 5.

Public Health

  • September 30 is Orange shirt day, a day to honour the Indigenous children who were sent to residential schools in Canada by reflecting on what we have done and continue to do to make steps towards reconciliation. HPEPH encourages everyone to review the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action and to wear Orange on Wednesday.
  • This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the availability of low-cost rabies clinics. However, the Quinte Animal Hospital is offering 2 days of low-cost rabies vaccinations for dogs only (cost $40 cash). Please review the clinic poster for more information.
    • Clinic Dates: Saturday, October 3 & Saturday, October 17
    • Time: 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm (first come, first served)
    • Location: Quinte Animal Hospital, 71 Murphy St., Trenton.
  • To support COVID-19 response this fall, HPEPH staff are being temporarily reassigned to respond to COVID-19 enquiries and operational demands. The HPEPH response to COVID-19 includes ongoing community monitoring, providing up-to-date information to the public and health care providers (including dedicated COVID-19 phone lines), responding to community enquiries, and providing infection control support to our schools, long term care facilities and the community. HPEPH will continue to provide select public health services, prioritizing those with the highest community need. These include:
    • Seniors oral health emergencies

    • Healthy Babies Healthy Children screening

    • Health hazard and drinking water emergencies

    • Control of communicable and infectious diseases

    • Reproductive health supports

    • Childhood immunizations

We will be reaching out to our community partners to share our plan and ask that they provide supplementary support to our priority populations during this time, to ensure that community needs continue to be met while we temporarily scale back some of our regular services. While our service delivery is changing to redeploy staff to pandemic preparedness, meeting local public health needs continues to be our top priority.

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