Local COVID-19 Testing & Assessment Centres

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COVID-19 Assessment Centres

Below are locations of the specific COVID-19 Assessment Centres in Northumberland County, Haliburton County and the City of Kawartha Lakes. Please note that all COVID-19 Assessment Centres are now by appointment only (no walk-ins are allowed). Effective immediately, you are only asked to use these assessment centres if you are:

  • Showing COVID-19 symptoms
  • Have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus, as informed by your public health unit or exposure notification through the COVID Alert app
  • A resident or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by your 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.
City of Kawartha Lakes

Ross Memorial Hospital (RMH) COVID-19 Assessment Centre

As of Oct. 19, the RMH COVID-19 Assessment Centre will be moving inside Ross Memorial Hospital. It will be located in the former Admitting area on the south side of the hospital. Testing continues to be done on an appointment-basis only. To get tested:

  • Visit the Ontario COVID-19 website to see if you qualify for testing under the current provincial guidelines.
  • Call 705-328-6217 or request an appointment online.
  • Do not leave multiple messages or submit multiple forms
  • Appointments are available Monday to Friday from 9:30-5:15 pm
  • You will receive a call back within 1-2 business days

When arriving for your appointment:

  • Arrive to the hospital at your appointment time.
  • Park in the short-term parking lot at the south side of the hospital, entering from Kent St. (There is no charge for parking for those visiting the assessment centre. All other patients should use short or long term parking on the North side of the hospital.)
  • Wear a mask
  • Bring your health card and identification
  • Proceed to the South Entrance (follow signage for COVID-19 Assessment Centre)
  • Maintain physical distancing from others awaiting testing
  • Your results should be available online within 72 hours of testing. If unable to access your results online, or to book an in-home test, call (705) 328-6217.

If symptoms are severe, including difficulty breathing, chest pain, confusion or losing consciousness, you should be seen in the Emergency Department immediately.

Northumberland County

Northumberland Hills Hospital (NHH) COVID-19 Assessment Centre

NHH’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre is now located within the hospital at 1000 DePalma Drive, adjacent to the Emergency Department. A dedicated entry/exit is available.

NHH’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre is now operating on an appointment-basis only. Walk-ins will no longer be accepted due to high demand for COVID-19 testing services. To book an appointment, call 905-377-7783. The assessment centre is open daily from 8 am to 4 pm.

PLEASE NOTE: The assessment centre will be relocating very soon from the hospital building to a new trailer space located next to the hospital. Watch for more details.

The NHH COVID-19 Assessment Centre will screen patients, test (if deemed appropriate) and direct patients to proceed as required. Through a temporary arrangement with the Northumberland Family Health Team, the Community Health Centres of Northumberland, and local primary care physicians, the NHH COVID-19 Assessment Centre is now able to offer patients the option to see a primary care provider (family physician or nurse practitioner) in addition to receiving a COVID-19 test.  Learn more details by calling the centre.

Trent Hills COVID-19 Assessment Centre

The centre is open Mondays to Thursdays from 9 am to 5 pm (closed Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays). To book an appointment for COVID-19 test, call the local Assessment Centre directly at 705-395-1801. Please do not go to the Assessment Centre without first calling to book an appointment. Please do not call Campbellford Memorial Hospital either.

As of Sept. 1, the Trent Hills COVID 19 Assessment Centre will be located at Campbellford Memorial Hospital on the basement level in the former paramedic bay and offices. Access to the site will be a drive-through, drive-up centre. All visitors are to remain in their cars, and Assessment Centre staff will provide assessment/testing to you while you remain in your vehicle.

For days the Assessment Centre is not available, contact the HKPR District Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020.

Haliburton County

Haliburton County COVID-19 Community Assessment Centre

To book an appointment for testing, call the Haliburton County COVID-19 Community Assessment Centre at 705-457-1212 (press 6) during regular business hours.

PLEASE NOTE: if your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 and alert the dispatcher to your symptoms.

The Haliburton County COVID-19 Community Assessment Centre is staffed by health care providers who will complete a phone assessment and advise as to appropriate next steps, which may include self-monitoring instructions, self-isolation instructions, or further assessment and testing in the drive-through facility. The Centre is for all residents of Haliburton County, regardless of whether you have a family doctor.

COVID-19 Testing at Pharmacies

As of Friday, Sept. 25, the Ontario government is expanding COVID-19 testing to some pharmacies in the province. This testing at pharmacies will be free, by appointment only, and available ONLY to people who are not showing COVID-19 symptoms. Pharmacies will also be doing COVID pre-screening of anyone seeking a test. A complete list of Ontario pharmacies offering the COVID-19 testing is available here.

Use of Non-Medical Masks and Face Coverings Within Indoor Public Spaces

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is updating its original instruction from July 13 on the use of non-medical masks or face coverings in indoor public spaces in the area. These updated instructions take effect at 12:01 am on July 17, 2020, and include most commercial establishments/services and indoor public places in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes.

IMPORTANT NOTE: As of now, the Ontario government is also mandating the use of face coverings in all public indoor settings across the province, such as businesses, facilities and workplaces, with limited exemptions, including corrections and developmental services.

The revised Health Unit instructions have been updated under the authority of the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act and apply to all persons responsible for operating a place of business or facility that is indoors and open to the public currently permitted to operate under Ontario Regulation 263/20 – Rules for Areas in Stage 2 and Ontario Regulation 364/20 – Rules for Areas in Stage 3. The aim of the directive is to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in this region.

For more details, please read the Health Unit’s updated Fact Sheet on Required Use of Non-Medical Masks and Face Coverings Within Indoor Public Spaces. You can also view additional FAQs below, as well as posters, policy and resources to assist you with compliance.

Please Note: This order applies to non-medical masks and face coverings. Medical masks are different and must only be used by health care workers.


Who is Affected?

If you own, operate or are responsible for a business or facility that is indoors and open to the public and currently operating under Stage 3 of the provincial Framework for reopening, you must have policies in place to inform people about the need to wear a mask or face covering before entering your establishment. Certain exemptions do apply on the use of masks in these indoor settings.

The Health Unit’s updated instructions apply to any places of business or facilities that are indoors and open to the public and used for the purposes of offering goods or services for sale or use. These establishments include: a mall or other structure containing commercial premises, and currently include the following:

  • Retail stores, convenience stores, malls/plazas, restaurants, personal service settings, grocery stores and bakeries, gas stations, indoor farmers’ markets, areas of mechanics’ shops/garages/repair shops, which are open to the public

Other indoor public places are also covered by this order, including: 

  • Churches/places of worship, public libraries, real estate open houses, personal care services (relating to the hair or body), food courts, fitting rooms, driving instruction services, sports and recreation facilities (like gyms, yoga/dance studios, and fitness facilities), children’s camps, movie theatres, performing arts centres, casinos/bingo halls/gaming establishments, and racing venues, cultural centres (museums, art galleries, etc.).

What establishments are NOT included in this instruction?

Establishments that do not fall under the definition of a commercial establishment are: 

  • Schools, child care centres, business offices that are not open to members of the public, professional offices where clients receive purchased services (e.g., lawyers’ offices) that are not open to members of the public, hospitals, independent health facilities, offices of regulated health professionals.

Are churches/places of worship covered under these updated instructions?

Yes, churches or places of worship are now included in the updated instructions for requiring mask use. Attendees to religious services/rites or ceremonies must wear masks at all times, with a secured physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from others. For additional directions on mask use and COVID-19 prevention measures in places of worship, click here.

Why is this instruction on masks being updated (on July 17) so soon after it took effect (on July 13)?

With the move to Stage 3 on July 17, more businesses and services are reopening in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes. The Health Unit’s revised instructions are meant to provide additional clarity and direction for mask use in these newly-opened establishments.

Wearing non-medical masks or face coverings inside public places is another way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in this area. As we move into Stage 3 reopening and more businesses and public spaces open and people increase their contacts, the risk of a rapid rise in infections and outbreaks is ever-present. Although the number of cases of COVID-19 in the Health Unit area is declining, the risk of ongoing spread remains as the reopening process continues.

Increasing scientific evidence supports wearing a mask when in enclosed public spaces as an important measure in reducing COVID-19 transmission, while the risk of rising rates of infection continues. Together with physical distancing, hand and cough hygiene, and staying home when ill, the use of a non-medical mask or face covering in a commercial establishment is an additional public health measure that may help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.

What areas of a place of business or facility that is indoors and open to the public are subject to the non-medical mask and face covering requirements?

  • Any areas in which customers interact with one another or with staff members

OR

  • Any areas that are open or accessible to members of the public

Except where: The area is outside, whether or not the area is covered (e.g. a restaurant patio)

Are there exemptions on the use of non-medical masks and face coverings in certain settings (E.g. restaurants, sports/recreational facilities, places of worship, etc.)?

Non-medical masks and face coverings must be worn in most indoor places and situations. Generally, this applies when patrons/customers are ‘roaming’ around inside the business/facility and are not yet ‘in place’ (i.e. seated) with a secured distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from others. The only exceptions to mask use in indoor public spaces are in following instances:

  • In restaurants/food courts, patrons eating inside must wear a mask until seated. Masks must be worn upon entry and exit, and if patrons get up to walk around the restaurant (including to use the washroom). Patrons eating on an outdoor patio do not need to wear masks.
  • In sports and recreation facilities (like gyms and fitness clubs), masks must be worn at all times  in change rooms, washrooms and waiting areas. The only exception is when people take part in a specific activity or sport.  
  • In cinemas/movie theatres, performing arts centres, and casinos/bingo halls/gaming establishments, people must wear masks in all public spaces. The only exception is when patrons are seated with a secured physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from others.
  • For indoor weddings, funeral services or religious services/rites or ceremonies, attendees must wear masks until seated with a secured physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from others.

What happens if patrons don’t wear a mask?

People who are responsible for a place of business or facility that is indoors and open to the public and currently operating during Stage 3 should have a policy to ensure public is informed of the requirement to wear a mask or face covering that covers their nose, mouth and chin when entering or remaining in an indoor public space.

People in an enclosed public space who remove their mask for extended periods of time, will receive a verbal reminder of the requirement to wear a mask under these instructions.

Who is exempt from this instruction?

The following people are exempt from the instruction to wear a mask while inside a commercial establishment. Please note: a person refers to any customer, patron, employee, or visitor who enters the premises:

  • The Person is a child under the age of two years; or a child under the age of 5 years either chronologically or developmentally and he or she refuses to wear a face covering and cannot be persuaded to do so by their caregiver
  • The Person is unable to remove their mask without assistance
  • For any other medical reason, the Person cannot safely wear a non-medical mask or face covering such as, but not limited to, respiratory disease, cognitive difficulties or difficulties in hearing or processing information
  • For any religious reason, the Person cannot wear a non-medical mask or face covering or cannot cover the face in a manner that would properly control the source.

Do I have to disclose my medical condition if I don’t wear a mask?

No one is required to disclose a medical condition or reason why they are exempt from wearing a mask. All a person has to say is that: “I am not able to wear a mask.”

People who are responsible for a place of business/facility that is indoors and open to the public should respect this answer. For privacy reasons, owners/operators are not allowed to ask specifics on why someone cannot wear a mask. All that owners/operators are required to do is make patrons and members of the public aware of the mask use requirement.

It is recognized there are a variety of reasons why a person cannot wear a mask and people are asked to continue to be kind to each other and support everyone in the community as we work together to stop the spread of the virus. 

The requirement to have people wear masks within a place of business or facility that is indoors and open to the public is not meant to stigmatize people who are unable to wear a mask due to medical reasons or their age.

No one should be denied service if they cannot wear a mask.

Why can’t mask use be a voluntary decision?

Although there has been information and messaging shared on the public health benefits of wearing a mask when physical distancing is a challenge, many people will still not wear a mask. Many of the people who are now testing positive for COVID-19 are asymptomatic and do not realize they are ill. If they do not wear a mask in public, they can easily spread the virus to other, more vulnerable people within the community.

These instructions to wear a mask within a place of business or facility that is indoors and open to the public are meant to serve as a reminder to everyone who can wear a mask, that they should be doing so to help protect others.

Where can I find a mask if I can’t afford to buy one?

We are working with our community partners to connect people in need with masks. People can call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020, to learn more about accessing a mask. Another option is to use what you have at home – if someone cannot afford a non-medical mask, they are requested to use a bandana or scarf as a face covering.

Are places of business or facilities that are indoors and open to the public required to purchase masks or have them on hand for customers?

No, under the instructions issued by the Health Unit, places of business or facilities that are indoors and open to the public are not required to provide non-medical masks or face coverings to customers. If a customer does not have a non-medical mask, they can wear other face coverings, including a bandana or scarf.

How is this being enforced?

Every owner/operator of a place of business or facility that is indoors and open to the public will have a policy requiring members of the public wear a mask or face covering when entering public areas of the enclosed public space.

Employees and operators will provide a verbal reminder to any customer entering the premises without a mask that the customer should be wearing a mask as a result of this directive.

Implementation of the policy will be enacted and enforced in ‘good faith’ and will be primarily used as a means to educate people on mask use in public spaces. 

No one should be denied service if they cannot wear a mask.

Public Health Inspectors from the HKPR District Health Unit, as well as municipal bylaw and local police officers will be involved in providing additional education and enforcement to operators of commercial establishments.

What are the fines?

As per the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, those who do not comply with the above noted requirements may be liable for a fine of $750 – $1,000 for an individual owner/operator of a commercial establishment, to a maximum of $100,000 or in the case of a corporation, not more than $10,000,000 for each day or part of each day on which the offence occurs or continues.

Are both businesses and customers subject to fines?

As noted above, implementation of the policy will be enacted and enforced in ‘good faith’ and will be primarily used as a means to educate people on mask use in public spaces.

As per the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, those businesses that do not comply with the instructions may be liable for a fine of $750 to $1,000 for an individual, to a maximum of $100,000, or in the case of a corporation, not more than $10,000,000 for each day or part of each day on which the offence occurs or continues.

What would be the best way for store owners to address the issue if patrons don’t have or refuse to wear a mask for both reasons that are legitimate and those that are not?

People who are responsible for a place of business or facility that is indoors and open to the public are asked to use their “best effort” to ensure patrons and members of the public wear a mask while in the commercial premise. This means offering a verbal reminder to the patron that mask use is required within the establishment or a verbal reminder about mask use if the person removes the mask while in the premise. 

No one should be denied service if they cannot wear a mask.

For privacy reasons, if you are someone who is responsible for a place of business or facility that is indoors and open to the public, you cannot ask patrons the reasons they cannot wear a mask. All you are required to do is make patrons and members of the public aware of the mask use requirement.

Do people need to wear masks when on a restaurant patio? Do the servers need to wear masks?

No, customers do not need to wear a mask while on a restaurant patio as this is outside and is an exception to the instructions issued by the Health Unit. Servers who are interacting with the customers in the commercial establishment are required to wear face masks.

Do people need to wear a mask while at a hotel or bed and breakfast?

Hotels and Bed and Breakfasts offer services and would be considered commercial. This would be limited to areas that the hotels/B&Bs interact with the public, like the reception area, but not in private rooms or during outdoor dining. Masks are also not required when swimming in an indoor or outdoor public pool or using a public spa.

Is it mandatory that employees working in retail stores are required to wear masks?

Yes, while in areas that are servicing the public.

Are staff and customers still required to wear a mask if there is a plexiglass barrier between them?

Yes, a barrier is not sufficient to stop the droplet transmission of the virus. When both parties are wearing a mask, it protects both the staff and the customer from the potential spread of the virus.

Can I remove my mask or face covering if physical distancing is not a concern in the establishment or enclosed public space I am visiting?

Members of the public are permitted to temporarily remove a mask for the following reasons:

  • Receiving services (including eating or drinking when dine-in services are allowed), 

OR

  • While actively engaging in an athletic or fitness activity including water-based activities.

Ensure you wash your hands using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after removing your mask or face covering.

What should store owners and staff do if a customer does not/cannot wear a mask?

Owners/operators and staff of commercial establishments are asked to use their “best effort” to ensure patrons and members of the public wear a mask while in the commercial premise. This means offering a verbal reminder to the patron that mask use is required within the establishment or a verbal reminder about mask use if the person removes the mask while in the premise.

No one should be denied service if they cannot wear a mask.

I work in a hot commercial kitchen/warehouse. Do I need to wear a mask?

If you work in a commercial establishment, a mask should be worn when interacting with the members of the public inside. You are not required to wear a mask if you do not interact or serve members of the public, but it is still recommended that you wear a mask if you cannot maintain a physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from a co-worker.

Who do I call if I want to report a business not requiring customers to wear a mask?

To report a non-complying business, or for more information on the Health Unit’s instructions to places of business or facilities that are indoors and open to the public to require the use of masks by patrons, call the Health Unit toll-free at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020.

Can a person be refused service for not wearing a non-medical mask or face covering?

The implementation of the policy should be enforced in “good faith” and any person not wearing a mask will receive a verbal reminder from the staff of the establishment.

No one should be denied service if they cannot wear a mask.

Where is the science/proof that masks work?

COVID-19 is a new virus and we are continuing to learn more about the virus, how it affects people and how it is spread. Evidence is showing that wearing a mask, together with staying home when sick, physical distancing, washing hands thoroughly and frequently, and covering coughs and sneezes is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of the virus.

Here is a paper from Public Health Ontario on the scientific evidence known at this point about masks.

Why was this not done in March when the pandemic started? Why now?

Although we have seen a decline in the number of COVID-19 cases in our area, we want to be sure we continue to see a decrease as we move towards the reopening of more businesses within the province. This is even more true as we enter Stage 3 of Ontario’s reopening plan. 

The risk for the ongoing spread of the virus remains as the process of reopening continues throughout the province. The use of non-medical masks or face coverings in public places, along with continued handwashing, physical distancing and staying home if sick, are some of the best public health measures to protect us from the virus.

How do I choose a non-medical mask or face covering?

In choosing a non-medical mask, ensure it is:

  • Made of 2+ layers of tightly woven fabric (such as cotton or linen)
  • Well-fitted with ear loops or ties
  • A comfortable fit against your face and allows you to breathe easily without having to adjust it
  • Large enough to completely cover the nose and mouth without gaping
  • Durable to allow you to frequently wash and dry it without losing its shape

Other options for non-medical masks include wearing a bandana or scarf, or making one out of a T-shirt or a bandana. The Public Health Agency of Canada also offers instructions on how to make a homemade face coverings.

Are face shields allowed?

A face shield is not a substitute for wearing a face mask as it does not filter respiratory droplets. A face shield may provide additional protection for the wearer against droplets expelled from another person, however these droplets may still be inhaled around the shield. Respiratory droplets expelled by the wearer may escape around the sides of the face shield, which therefore provides less protection to others. If you choose to wear a face shield, we recommend – if possible – to wear it in addition to a properly fitted cloth masks.

If I can’t wear a mask, can I wear a face shield?

A face shield would not be considered an equal substitute for a face mask as it does not provide filtering capacity. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) supports the use of face shields as a “better than nothing” alternative to face masks if there is a shortage of non-medical masks or for populations who are not able to properly wear non-medical masks, such as individuals with a respiratory condition that prevents them from wearing a mask. The WHO makes note that face shields are inferior to face masks at preventing the spread of an infection through droplets and at a minimum should extend below the chin and cover the sides of the face. 

How to Properly Use a Non-Medical Mask or Face Covering

  • Wash your hands immediately before putting it on and immediately after taking it off (use good hand hygiene while wearing it too)
  • Masks should fit snugly, but comfortably against your face (non-gaping) allowing you to breathe without restriction. Masks should be secured with ties or ear loops and have multiple fabric layers
  • Do not share cloth masks with others
  • Remember not to touch or rub your eyes while wearing it
  • Avoid moving, adjusting or touching your mask while using it, as it could become contaminated on the outside.
  • Change face coverings if they get slightly wet or dirty
  • Wash the cloth mask after each use as it can get damp or dirty:
  • Put it directly into the washing machine or a bag that can be emptied into the washing machine and then disposed of
  • Cloth masks can be laundered with other items using a hot cycle, and then dried thoroughly.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water after putting the mask into the laundry.
  • Homemade masks that cannot be washed should be thrown out in a properly lined garbage bin as soon as they get damp, dirty or crumpled. Do not throw used masks on the ground or in a shopping cart. Immediately after wash your hands with soap and water.

Watch this How to Use a Cloth Mask Video for additional tips. 


Additional Resources

Posters For Businesses/Commercial Establishments

Sample Policy For Businesses – Mask Use in Commercial Establishments

How to Use/Wear a Cloth Mask Video – HKPR District Health Unit Video

COVID-19 and Schools/Daycares

Children and students will soon be returning to class and daycare this fall. The Health Unit is working to support the safe reopening of schools and licensed child care centres in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes. Read further for more details and resources.


On This Page


Child Care Centres
Overview

The Ontario government is allowing licensed child care centres to open/operate at full capacity as of September 1. Below are specific measures that must be in place:

  • All child care staff must wear masks at all times
  • Frequent cleaning must be done at child care centres
  • Children and staff must be screened before they can enter a childcare facility
  • Attendance records must be maintained to allow for contact tracing and coordination with local public health authorities
  • Frequent hand washing and proper hand hygiene is a must for children and staff
  • Clear and rigid case management protocols must be developed should a staff member or child become ill or test positive for COVID-19.
Additional Resources

Schools
Overview

In-class instruction at Ontario schools will resume this fall, with additional protective measures put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Parents will also have the option of having their child learn at home. Among the Province’s plan for safely reopening schools:

  • Students in Grades 4 to 12 will be required to wear a face covering indoors on school property. Reasonable exceptions on the requirement to wear a face covering will apply. Face coverings will be available for students who need one
  • Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 will be encouraged, but not required to wear face covering in indoor spaces.
  • School-based staff who are regularly in close contact with students will be required to wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including face coverings.
  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting in all school settings.
Provincial Back to School Plans

Click below for more specifics on the provincial government’s plan for the safe reopening of schools:

Local Back to School Plans

For more information about back-to-school reopening plans in your area, contact your local school board:

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I have my child tested for COVID-19 before they return to school?

Testing your child before returning to school is generally not recommended if they do not have COVID-19 symptoms, unless they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

What if my child shows symptoms before going to school or while at school?

As per the Ministry of Education Guide to Reopening Ontario Schools, all students and staff must self-screen every day using a checklist before arriving at school. If a student or staff member is experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, they must stay home from school and should seek testing and appropriate medical attention.

If a student or staff member feels sick, or develops symptoms while at school, schools will follow the following protocol:

  • Students or staff who develop COVID-19 symptoms will immediately be separated from others, and the family will be contacted to arrange pick-up.
  • Staff and students with symptoms will be directed to seek medical advice including the recommendation of testing for COVID 19 as appropriate or as advised by their medical provider. Check out local COVID 19 Assessment Centre locations, and book an appointment for COVID- 19 testing.
  • Siblings/staff of ill individual can remain in school until further medical advice is received and should self-monitor for symptoms.  
  • Staff and/or students who receive an alternative diagnosis than COVID-19 can return to school once they are symptom-free for 24 hours.

Can I go to work if I don’t have any symptoms but my child is ill and we are waiting on results from their COVID-19 test?

If your child is symptomatic and has been tested for COVID-19, you and your family, including siblings, should self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. You can continue to go to school and/or work if you have no symptoms.

  • If while self-monitoring symptoms of COVID-19 develop, self-isolate and be tested for COVID-19 (and no longer attend work and school).
  • If any members of your household test positive for COVID-19, you will be contacted by Public Health directly with more detailed advice.

What if there is a positive case in my child’s school?

If a COVID-19 positive case is identified in a school, staff from the Health Unit will provide further instructions on who else in the school may need testing and/or monitoring/isolation at that time. Staff/children who are being managed by public health (e.g. confirmed cases of COVID-19, household contacts of cases, etc.) must follow the instructions provided by the HKPR District Health Unit on when they can return to school.

What if a parent/guardian tests positive for COVID-19?

Parents/guardians are not required to report their test results to their school, however it is recommended. Members of your household are required to self-isolate and should not attend work or school. If your child is at school, your child should be picked up immediately. Staff from the HKPR District Health Unit will be in contact with you for assessment and provide further direction.

Who will declare an outbreak at the school?

The Heath Unit will declare an outbreak after identifying two or more lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in students and/or staff (or other visitors) in a school with an epidemiological link where at least one case could have reasonably acquired their infection in the school (including transportation and before/after school care).

Examples of reasonably having acquired infection in school include:

  • No obvious source of infection outside of the school setting; OR
  • Known exposure in the school setting

HKPR District Health Unit staff will work closely with the school to determine close contacts of the case and will provide direction on isolation and facilitate testing.

Resources for Parents/Caregivers

Help prepare your child for what awaits them in September. Talking to students about the enhanced COVID-19 safety measures at school this fall can help reduce anxiety and ease the transition. So can getting kids to practise COVID-19 prevention measures like handwashing or wearing a mask. Click on the following resources for more details:

Resources for Children

Check out these kid-friendly resources to help prepare for back to school:

About COVID-19

Washing Hands

Fighting Germs

Wearing Masks

Hot Weather – Beat the Extreme Heat

During extremely hot weather, it’s important to protect your health by taking precautions to beat the heat. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, coping during a heat wave can be more complex. That’s why it’s essential to maintain a 2-metre (6 feet) distance from others, cover your cough and wash hands frequently — especially if cooling off in an indoor space.

Read on to learn about tips to avoid heat-related illness during COVID-19.

Heat-Related Illnesses

Heat-related illnesses such as dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke can be very dangerous, especially for infants, older adults, and people with chronic diseases. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • heavy sweating
  • muscle cramps
  • headache
  • fainting
  • paleness
  • weakness
  • tiredness
  • dizziness
  • nausea

If you experience any heat-related illness or symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. But remember, if you have symptoms of COVID-19, please call ahead if possible to inform health care providers or first responders so they can take appropriate preventive measures

Warnings Issued Ahead of Heat Waves

The Health Unit will issue public warnings in the lead-up to extremely warm conditions in its region:

  • A heat warning will be issued when day-time temperatures are forecast to be 31°C or higher, with a minimum day-time low of 20°C or higher, for two consecutive days. A heat warning is also issued if the humidex will be 40°C or higher for two consecutive days. 
  • An extended heat warning is issued when the same conditions apply, but the heat event is expected to last for three or more days in a row. Notifications will be posted on the Health Unit’s Facebook pageTwitter page, and website.

Tips to Beat the Heat (Including During COVID-19)

During any heat wave, but especially during COVID-19, the Health Unit advises people to:

  • Avoid going out in the sun or heat when possible.
  • Stay cool, and if possible, stay in an air-conditioned place.
  • If your home does not have air conditioning, seek a cool public location such as a municipal cooling center to cool down while following physical distancing rules during this time of COVID-19. To see if there is a cooling centre in your community, contact your local municipality.
  • If you have been instructed by a health care provider or the Health Unit to self-isolate due to COVID-19, do NOT visit a cooling centre. Instead, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020, for advice on how to create a personal plan to stay cool.
  • When outdoors, stay in the shade as much as possible. If you plan to go outside during a very hot day, do so early in the morning or evening when it is cooler.
  • Avoid outdoor sports and physical activity.
  • Wear loose-fitting, light clothing and a wide brimmed hat.
  • Currently, many people are wearing a face covering (or homemade mask) to reduce the spread of COVID-19. During high heat and humidity, wearing a mask can make breathing difficult. That’s why when outdoors, staying 2 metres (6 feet) apart is best. Reserve the mask for use indoors for short periods of time when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Drink lots of water, even if you don’t feel very thirsty. Avoid alcohol, coffee/tea and pop.
  • Check in regularly by phone or online with vulnerable family, friends, neighbours and others who could be affected by the heat. These include children, older adults, and persons with chronic illnesses, including those who may be self-isolating or limiting trips from home due to COVID-19. Make sure they are OK and are well-hydrated.
  • Eat light, cool foods, and avoid heavy meals that involve using the oven or other hot appliances.
  • Keep shades, drapes and blinds closed on the sunny side of your home, but keep windows open slightly. If you do not have air conditioning, use fans.
  • Keep lights off or turned low.
  • Take a cool bath or shower periodically, or cool down with cool, wet towels.
  • Never leave a child or pet in a closed, parked vehicle.

Additional Resources

Lyme Disease

It’s time for a ‘tick talk’ – a reminder to be on the lookout for blacklegged (or deer) ticks that may spread Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is a serious illness that, left untreated, can lead to recurring arthritis, neurological problems, numbness or paralysis.

Some blacklegged ticks carry the bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi) that causes Lyme disease. If this type of tick attaches to you, it will bite and feed on your blood. The longer an infected tick feeds, the greater your risk of getting Lyme disease.

Blacklegged ticks are present across Ontario, as is shown on the latest 2020 Lyme Disease Risk Map from Public Health Ontario. Wherever you live, work or play, reduce your risk of Lyme disease by avoiding blacklegged ticks that can spread illness.

Reduce Your Risk:

Fight Lyme disease by avoiding blacklegged ticks that can spread illness:

  • Lyme Disease Prevention Tips – Ontario Ministry of Health
  • Watch this short Health Unit video below on ways to prevent Lyme disease by avoiding blacklegged ticks that can spread illness.
Removing a Tick:

Testing for Ticks

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eTick website
  • NEW: The Health Unit no longer accepts blacklegged ticks for testing, but you can still identify ticks by using the free eTick website. To use the site:
    • Simply submit a photo of the tick you encounter
    • You’ll be notified within 48 hours if the tick is the type that may spread Lyme disease
    • You can then determine what additional care you need, including whether to see a health care provider.
  • If you would like to have a tick tested for the presence of Lyme Disease, there are several private labs that can test the tick for a fee:
When to Seek Medical Attention:
  • You experience symptoms of Lyme disease.
  • A blacklegged tick is attached for 24+ hours or is engorged (meaning it’s fed for some time)

For more assistance, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5006.

Additional Resources

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