HHHS expands acute care capacity separates facilities for COVID and non-COVID needs

The following is a press release from Haliburton HIghlands Health Services sent at 1:59 p.m.

As part of efforts to protect the health and safety of patients residents staff and community members in Haliburton County Haliburton Highlands Health Services (HHHS) has been exploring ways to separate its facilities for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 needs. The Acute Care Unit in Haliburton has been expanded from 15 to 21 beds for COVID related needs and a new 9 bed Acute Care Unit has been created at the Minden site for non-COVID related admissions.

It is important to first note that both the HHHS Minden and Haliburton sites are prepared to safely

accept patients whether they are presenting with respiratory illness or not. Staff are following strict

safety precautions in all HHHS facilities including screening everyone who enters either site using

personal protective equipment (PPE) and creating appropriate spacing for distancing between patients.

With the establishment of the Haliburton County COVID-19 Assessment Centre beside the HHHS

Haliburton site HHHS wants to ensure that community members who present to the Emergency

Department with potential or mild/moderate COVID-19 symptoms can be easily referred to the Centre for further assessment and testing if needed.

As well in an effort to maintain as much separation as possible between patients who have respiratory symptoms (cough shortness of breath difficulty breathing fever) and those who do not HHHS is now encouraging Haliburton County residents with respiratory symptoms who wish to visit an Emergency Department to go to the Haliburton site. Residents with no respiratory symptoms who wish to visit an Emergency Department should come to the Minden site. It is important for the public to know that no emergency will be turned away from either site. Care may be redirected between sites depending on care needs and COVID considerations.

Keep in mind that if you suspect you might have COVID-19 symptoms and are not experiencing an

emergency situation the first step to take is to complete the online self-assessment at Ontario.ca/coronavirus. If directed by the self-assessment you may then call the Haliburton Family

Medical Centre at 705-457-1212 (press 6) during regular business hours to book an appointment for

testing. Residents can also contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000. If you are in distress and

require an ambulance it is important that you tell the dispatcher any respiratory symptoms.