For Municipal Partners

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
Online Bulletin for Municipal Partners

March 23, 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.



  • All travel outside of Canada is now considered impacted. Anyone who has returned from travel outside the country is being advised to self-isolate for 14 days and to contact the HPEPH information line if symptoms develop.
  • Hastings Prince Edward Public Health currently has 3 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in individuals who have returned from travel outside the country. These individuals are in self-isolation and being monitored by health authorities. HPEPH is posting numbers of new lab-confirmed cases in HPE directly on the COVID-19 web page, and no longer issuing individual media releases for travel-related cases.

Status of Cases in Ontario (Ontario Ministry of Health)

Negative   19586
Currently under investigation   8417
Confirmed positive   489
Resolved   8
Deceased   6
Total number of patients approved for COVID-19 testing to date   26420


  • The Canada-United States border closed on Friday night (March 20th) for non-essential travel
  • Irregular immigrants crossing the border will be sent back on both sides of the border
  • Efforts are being made to help those stranded abroad
  • In mobilizing industry to produce medical supplies, three Canadian companies have been hired to create needed masks, ventilators, protective gear, diagnostic testing, etc.
  • Additional discussions are underway with other industries to determine how they can retool to meet growing healthcare needs.
  • Some 11.3 million N95 masks have been procured along with 550 ventilators and additional personal protective gear.
  • Approximately 500,000 applications for Employment Insurance have been received this week and that number is expected to grow.
  • A $50 million public information campaign is being launched to fight COVID-19 misinformation with knowledge.
  • Mental Health First Aid Canada developed an 8-minute webinar and a Mental Health First Aid COVID-19 Self-Care & Resilience Guide that are useful for mental and emotional health during COVID-19.


  • Today,  Premier Doug Ford announced the closure of all non-essential workplaces, effective Tuesday, March 24th at 11:59 p.m. Businesses that can continue operations with employees working remotely, or through other contingency measures, are being given approximately 36 hours to prepare and adapt. Essential services may continue their operations to maintain supply chains and ensure the people of Ontario have access to necessities, including groceries, medicines and other essential products. Ontairo students will not be returning to school on April 6. More information will be shared from the province in coming days.
  • To support health care and front line workers, the province plans to exempt certain child care centres from the order to close; workers will be able to access safe, local emergency child care with strict measures in place.
    • Once emergency child care centres open, a list of locations will be made available on
  • The Ontario Government launched the first phase of Learn at Home and Apprendre à la maison, a new online portal so students can continue their education while schools are closed; the portal includes made-in-Ontario math, literacy and STEM resources.The Ministry of Education is working with TVO and TFO to roll-out further education programming on their broadcast channels.
  • The three-month waiting period for Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) coverage has been waived, as was the cost of COVID-19 services for uninsured people who do have OHIP coverage; no one will be discouraged from seeking screening or treatment for COVID-19 for financial reasons.
  • Ontario is amending Regulation 778 under the Ministry of Correctional Services Act to:
    • issue temprary absences beyond the current 72-hour maximum for those serving intermittent sentences so they will not have to report to a correctional facility every weekend
    • allw for early release of those inmates who are near the end of their sentence and are considered low risk to reoffend; this does not apply to those inmates convicted of violent crimes
    • allow the Ontario Parole Board to conduct hearings by electronic or written means
  • These measures build on those announced March 13th to grant intermittent inmates, those who serve time on the weekends, temporary absences from custody, and temporarily halting of personal visits.
  • There has been an increase of 3,000 lab tests a day up from 1,000 tests as the province moves towards a target of 5,000 tests a day; provincial labs are running 24/7 shifts.
  • There is still no consideration for a "lock-down," rather Dr. Williams advises the continuation of social distancing and personal hygiene.
  • All those returning from travel, health care workers or others, must self-isolate for 14 days.


  • The Tyendinaga Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte Council passed a resolution on March 21st that all restaurants on the territory are ordered to close any in-dining activity in support of the necessary measures to reduce the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus; HPEPH will be working with local partners to support the implementation of this resolution.
  • The City of Belleville has taken a number of measures to help reduce stress for residents, these include:
    • Deferring the remaining tax instalment payment dates
    • Waiving all property tax and water bill administrative fees, late payment fees and interest charges
    • Operating transit for essential services and extending March passes through to April
    • Extending March parking permits until April 30th
    • Waiving late charges for overdue items at the Belleville Public Library
  • Quinte Immigration Services has announced that they are operating 24/7 with all staff working from home, using a new telephony system to allow for remote interaction between staff and clients; check out their website for more details.

Public Health

  • In reaction to today's provincial announcement, Public Health will support the mandate that all non-essential business close by end of day Tuesday, March 24. The list of what constitutes essential and non-essential services and stores will be released by the government on Tuesday.
  • The Public Health Agency of Canada has created a useful resource illustrating the difference between Self- Monitoring, Self- Isolation, and Isolation. The pdf version can be printed and shared.
  • The method of COVID-19 transmission remains unchanged, despite recent confusion. COVID-19 is only transmitted via droplets, it is not an airborne virus.

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