Public should remain diligent duringpandemic: health unit

By Sue Tiffin

Staff reporter

Haliburton County’s total confirmedcases of COVID-19 that are unresolved remain at one after a new caseappeared – the first since April – last week. Currently there arealso two community high-risk contacts in Haliburton County reportedin the June 8 data of the Haliburton Kawartha Lakes Pine Ridgedistrict health unit down from five last week.

“High-risk contacts are defined asasymptomatic individuals who are known to have been in contact with aconfirmed or probable case” Chandra Tremblay HKPR managercorporate services communications and IT told the Echo. “Thesepeople would have been identified when the health unit spoke with theconfirmed case and they identified people they were in contact withduring their infectious period.”

Tremblay said the high-risk contactsare then contacted by health unit staff and asked to get tested andself-isolate.

“Health unit staff will work with thelocal assessment centre to ensure they are prepared for the person toarrive for testing and that supports are then put in place for theperson to remain in self-isolation for 14 days” said Tremblay. “Ifthe high-risk contact person’s test comes back as a positive theywill become a confirmed case and that will be reflected in the healthunit’s numbers. If the person remains in self-isolation for 14 daysand remains asymptomatic or their test comes back as negative after14 days they are no longer captured as a high-risk contact that thehealth unit is following and do not need to remain inself-isolation.”

The eight confirmed cases of COVID-19in Haliburton County – seven which were deemed resolved by April 25– were Haliburton County residents with any positive tests ofpeople within the county who have a permanent residence elsewherebeing added to the data of the health unit of their permanentaddress.

“The person is not required to returnto their permanent residence to self-isolate if they are alreadylocated at a secondary residence or someone else’s residence inHaliburton County” said Tremblay. “Our staff would work with theperson and the staff from their home health unit to ensure they areable to remain in isolation and have the supports required so theywould not need to venture out into the community – someone to pick upgroceries medications etc.”

As has been previously reported in theEcho Tremblay said the province has expanded the testing strategyenabling increased testing and with that there will be additionalcases of positive asymptomatic people confirmed.

Last week Dr. Norm Bottum of theHaliburton Highlands Family Health Team responded to the Echo’s question about what the public should know at this time.

“The message is COVID-19 is notgoing away and will continue to appear periodically” he said. “Wedon’t know when or where usually so we all have to do our part tominimize picking up or spreading the virus i.e. social distancehand washing wear a mask when shopping.”

Tremblay said it is important for thepublic to recognize that many people who have the virus do not havesymptoms.

“This makes it important for peopleto continue to follow public health measures of maintaining physi-

cal distancing wearing a mask whenthey are out and unable to guarantee they can remain six feet fromothers washing their hands frequently and staying home if they areill” she said. “We have been lucky to not have a large number ofconfirmed cases in Haliburton County unlike other areas of theprovince but we need to continue to be diligent to stop the spread.”

“It is not the most sick patients wehave to worry about they will be sick at home or in hospital”said Bottum. “It is the least sick who minimize their symptoms andcontinue to be active in our community and unaware.”

Last week the new confirmed case ofCOVID-19 – the first in Haliburton County since seven peoplerecovered in April – was rumoured to have been hospitalized butBottum said that was untrue though there has previously been ahospitalization amongst the positive local cases and peoplerequiring oxygen therapy can be admitted to a local hospital.

“If they are unstable and possiblyheaded for intubation they would be referred to an intensive careunit with capacity to accept i.e. not always Peterborough” saidBottum.

Tremblay asked that besides remainingdiligent the public prepare for another possible influx of COVID-19infections.

“People also need to prepare for ananticipated second wave of the virus in the fall” said Tremblay.“The province public health and local health partners are puttingplans in place in anticipation of the second wave which could be achallenge given the fall is typically the beginning of the influenzaseason.”