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Public Health says there is no community transmission of COVID-19

In a Facebook live video, Hastings-Prince Edward Public Health’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Piotr O’Glaza says COVID-19 is not being transmitted in the community in the area they serve.

There are now five confirmed cases of the virus, with one of them being in the Bancroft area, but O’Glaza says they are all linked to international travel. Three of the five came from travel, while the other two are from “close contact” with the other cases. “At this point, we do not have any evidence of community transmission,” he said during his address.

O’Glaza said that he’s gotten questions about why more information isn’t being released on confirmed cases. “In the interest of protecting people’s privacy, I’m not able to provide any comments on lab-confirmed cases,” he said. He says that whether or not you know where the person who has tested positive is, it shouldn’t change what you’re doing. “We don’t want people to behave differently whether there’s a confirmed case In the community or 100 kilometres away,” he added.

Throughout the 25-minute video, O’Glaza reiterated the importance of self-isolation. “As of yesterday, the Federal government has made this mandatory under the quarantine act,” he said. “Each of us must make the responsible decision to follow health authorities.”

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He talked about why social distancing is now being referred to as physical distancing. “The reason for that is we do not recommend people become socially isolated,” he said. O’Glaza says what is critical is being physically separated – at least two metres apart – and practicing other distancing guidelines set by health officials.

On top of self-isolation and physical distancing, O’Glaza says to avoid touching your face and to wash your hands with soap or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. He also suggested limiting the number of times you do go out. He said to plan ahead so any trips you do make to the grocery store are essential and you don’t have to make multiple stops throughout the week. “It’s going to support everyone’s effort to maintain physical distancing,” O’Glaza said.

“A number of people from larger communities might be choosing to go to their cottages,” O’Glaza said in his address, noting how it’s affecting smaller communities. “I encourage them to get supplies from where they reside.”

He also spoke about the worldwide shortage of test kits. O’Glaza said the government is working to make more, but there will never be an “infinite amount.” That’s why they are limiting tests to those who need it most. “That’s where we allocate our limited resources,” he said. Regardless, he said the recommendation for everyone is the same: self-isolate.

If you do notice symptoms, it’s recommended that you call the Bancroft Family Health Team at 613-332-1565 first and they will guide you on what your next steps are.

“Follow the new norms,” O’Glaza said. “It adds to our collective effort of preventing community spread.”

O’Glaza said he will be doing a weekly briefing on Hastings-Prince Edward Public Health’s Facebook page.

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