COVID-19 Vaccines

Vaccines are safe and proven effective to protect against diseases – and now they are available in the fight against COVID-19. Please read further for more information about COVID-19 vaccine approval and availability.


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COVID-19 Vaccine Approval

Health Canada has approved COVID-19 vaccines for use in Canada. These include the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and a vaccine developed by Moderna. Health Canada has determined COVID-19 vaccine – like any others – meets its strict safety and quality requirements for regulating and approving vaccines.

Creating a new vaccine can take years. However, the progress on COVID-19 is happening quickly for many reasons, including: advances in science and technology; international collaboration among scientists, health professionals, researchers, industry and governments; and increased funding to find a vaccine.

Vaccine Availability

The local Health Unit is working closely with the Province, local hospitals, health care partners, and long-term care and retirement homes to prepare for a safe and orderly rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in this region. It’s expected the first doses of COVID-19 vaccine will arrive locally in early February.

Due to limited supplies of COVID-19 vaccines currently available in Ontario, the Province has outlined a three-phase approach to provide vaccines to people.

In Phase One, priority is being given to offer vaccines to high-risk groups first, including residents/staff of long-term care homes and other health care workers. Priority is also being given to provide COVID-19 vaccines first to parts of Ontario with the highest COVID-19 infection rates.

As the supply of COVID-19 vaccine increases, the Ontario government will move to Phase Two of vaccine distribution — likely in the spring and summer — making it more widely available, including in Northumberland County, Haliburton County and the City of Kawartha Lakes. During Phase Two, the following groups will be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine:

  • Older adults, beginning with those 80 years of age and older and decreasing in five-year increments over the course of the vaccine rollout.
  • Individuals living and working in high-risk congregate setting.
  • Frontline essential workers (e.g., first responders, education workers, food processing industry);.
  • Individuals with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers.
  • Other populations and communities facing barriers related to the determinants of health across Ontario who are at greater COVID-19 risk.

In Phase Three, starting in late summer, COVID-19 vaccines will be widely available for anyone who wants to receive one.

While the COVID-19 vaccine will not be mandatory in Ontario, you are strongly encouraged to get one when it is available. COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and will be free to everyone. When a large percentage of people become vaccinated or immune to COVID-19, the spread of the virus will slow down or stop.

What To Do Right Now

Until COVID-19 vaccines are widely available, you must continue to:

  • Stay home if sick.
  • Only leave home for essentials like groceries and medical matters.
  • Avoid all non-essential travel.
  • Wear a mask or face covering that covers your nose, mouth and chin when inside public places.
  • Practise physical distancing by staying 2 metres (6 feet) apart from anyone outside your immediate household
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Practise other COVID-19 prevention measures.
Additional Resources

Learn more on COVID-19 vaccine distribution, development and safety:

Winter Activities and COVID-19

IMPORTANT NOTE: As of Jan. 12, 2021, the Province has announced a second State of Emergency in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19. The Ontario government’s order means people must stay at home except for getting essentials and follow these restrictions and public health measures.

Exercise is one of the reasons people can go out. If you are taking part in outdoor activities, try to find trails or rinks near your home and follow all public health measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19.

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In General
  • Do not go out if you are feeling sick. Stay home instead and use Ontario’s online COVID-19 Assessment Tool for further direction.
  • Stay close to home by accessing nearby trails, hills and parks . Avoid all non-essential travel.
  • Follow COVID-19 guidelines, especially practising physical distancing.
  • NEW: Wearing a mask or face covering is now recommended outdoors when you can’t physically distance more than two metres from others outside your household. 
  • If possible, only do outdoor activities with people in your immediate family/household. If you are out with others, ensure you stay 2 metres apart.
  • The new limit on outdoor gatherings is no more than five people.
  • Obey any municipal gathering limits that may be in place at the hill, rink or trail that you use. It’s always important to keep apart from others outside your immediate household.
  • Wear appropriate helmets and safety gear.
  • Dress in layers to stay warm. Layer up based on the current weather conditions.
  • Download the free ParticipACTION app to access resources/suggestions on how to be active in the winter months.
Outdoor Skating
  • Follow all COVID-19 guidelines and directions when using a municipally-run outdoor skating rink. For municipalities, the following COVID-19 Guidance for Outdoor Ice Surface/Rinks and Outdoor Skating Trails is provided for your use.
  • For your own outdoor rink:
    • During the state of emergency, only allow members of your immediate family/household to use it.
    • Wear proper-fitting helmets when skating. Do not share equipment.
Tobogganing
  • Tobogganing is allowed, but only in areas and on hills where it is permitted. Avoid doing any risky manoeuvres such as sliding down the hill head-first.
  • Only toboggan with those in your immediate family or household.
  • Ensure you practise physical distancing at the tobogganing hill by staying at least 2 metres (6 feet) apart from others (excluding those in your own household)
  • If the tobogganing hill is too busy to maintain physical distancing, come back at another time when there are less people there.
Skiing
  • Cross-country skiing is allowed on designated trails. It’s best to only cross-country ski with people in your own immediate family or household. Try to pick trails close to your home.
  • Ensure you stay at least 2 metres (6 feet) apart from others outside your immediate household.
  • Wear proper helmet and safety gear.
  • Do not linger or socialize in parking lots.
  • Under the provincial COVID-19 shutdown, ski hills are closed.
Snowmobiling
  • Do NOT travel to places outside your region. Only use designated and available snowmobiling trails in your area. Visit the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) website for more trail information and openings.
  • Wear proper helmet and safety gear.
  • Ideally, only snowmobile with members of your immediate family/household.
  • If traveling in groups with people outside your household, practise physical distancing by staying at least 2 metres apart. Do not share food with each other and do not congregate on trails. Remember that the current limit on outdoor gatherings is only five people (failure to follow this could lead to fines).
  • Follow OFSC Ride Smart 2021 protocols to stay safe during COVID-19.
  • Plan ahead. Be aware that food may not be readily available during provincial COVID-19 shutdown. There may also be no places to warm up or use washrooms during your day.
Snowshoeing
  • Snowshoeing is allowed, but try sticking close to home. Go snowshoeing in your backyard or use parks/trails near your home.
  • Follow all COVID-19 guidelines that may be posted for trail use.
  • Limit snowshoeing with only those in your immediate family or household.
  • Practise physical distancing by staying 2 metres (6 feet) apart from others (except those in your immediate household)
Winter Trail Use
  • Follow guidelines for trail use.
  • Only use trails with people in your immediate family or household.
  • Do not gather in groups on the trail
  • Do not linger or socialize in parking lots
  • Maintain a 2-metre physical distance from other trail users.
Ice Fishing
  • Ice fishing is still allowed.
  • Rentals of ice huts is permitted. Ice huts should be large enough to allow for physical distancing.
  • Anyone renting ice huts needs to be screened for COVID-19 beforehand and provide contact information (in case contact tracing is needed).
  • Ice huts must only be used by members of a single household, and cannot be used overnight.
  • Any rental equipment (fishing rods) must be properly cleaned and disinfected between uses.
  • Maximum outdoor gathering limit is 5 people under the current State of Emergency. 
  • NEW: It’s now recommended that masks or face coverings be worn outdoors if you can’t maintain physical distancing.
Parks and Playgrounds
  • Stick to parks and playgrounds near your home.
  • While parks and playgrounds are allowed to open during the provincial COVID-19 state of emergency, please check with your local municipality to see if you can still access them.
  • Ensure you practise physical distancing by staying 2 metres (6 feet) apart from others (except those in your immediate household).

Provincial COVID-19 State of Emergency

Current Situation

On Jan. 12, 2021, the provincial government announced a second State of Emergency is in effect in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19. The Ontario government’s order means people must stay at home except for getting essentials.

These measures are in effect for the time-being. The Province will monitor key public health indicators around COVID-19 to determine whether or not to extend the emergency. Read on for further details.


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Key Highlights

In response to rising COVID-19 cases locally and across Ontario, the Province is declaring a State of Emergency. Strict measures are in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and lessen the impact on hospitals, long-term care homes and other health care services. Failure to follow these restrictions could lead to tickets or fines.

Stay-at-Home Order

This order takes effect on Jan. 14, 2021. It requires everyone to stay at home, with the goal of reducing people’s mobility and contact with others outside their household in order to cut rising COVID-19 rates in Ontario. Do not gather with anyone outside your immediate household and only leave your home for:

  • Groceries, medicine and other essentials
  • Accessing health care services
  • Assisting others
  • Exercise (including walking the dog)
  • Essential work. NOTE: Businesses and organizations must ensure that any employee who can work from home does work from home.
  • School and child care.
  • Getting items and services needed for the health and safety of animals.
  • Gathering for a wedding, funeral, or religious service.
  • Other exemptions as outlined in the Stay-at-Home regulation (O.Reg.11/21).

NOTE: Anyone who lives alone will still be able to spend time (have close contact) with one other household to reduce the impacts of isolation.

Anyone not complying with the stay-at-home order could face fine or prosecution.

If you must leave your home to go out for essentials, ensure you follow all public health measures such as: staying 2 metres apart from others and wearing masks/face coverings (ensuring they cover your nose, mouth and chin; scarves and bandanas are insufficient).

For more on the Stay-at-Home order, read these FAQs.

Other Public Health Restrictions
  • Outdoor organized public gatherings and social gatherings are further restricted to a limit of five people with limited exceptions. The old limit had been a maximum of 10 people.
  • Individuals MUST wear a mask or face covering in the indoor areas of businesses or organizations that are open for shopping (with limited exceptions for age and medical reasons).
  • NEW: Wearing a mask or face covering is now recommended outdoors when you can’t physically distance more than two metres. 
Business Openings/Closures
  • Most non-essential retail stores can continue to be open for curbside pickup or delivery. However, these non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, can only be open from 7 am to 8 pm.
  • Restricted hours of operation do not apply to grocery stores (including other retailers that primarily sell food), pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants for takeout or delivery. These essential businesses can remain open for in-person shopping, but must continue to follow all public health control measures, including capacity limits (maximum of 50%) and ensuring customers wear masks/face coverings and practise physical distancing.
  • Discount retailers and big-box stores that sell groceries can open for in-person shopping, as well as curbside pickup and delivery. However, they MUST ensure customers stay at least two metres apart and limit themselves to a maximum 25% capacity.
  • Restaurants/bars can remain open for takeout, drive-through and delivery. No indoor dining is allowed.
  • Non-essential construction is further restricted, including below-grade construction, exempting survey.
  • All gyms, fitness clubs and recreational facilities remain closed.
  • Outdoor recreational amenities such as ice rinks, parks, playgrounds, tobogganing hills, trails (including for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing) and basketball courts can stay open, provided users follow all public health guidelines (e.g. physical distancing, capacity limits).
  • Ski hills remain closed.
  • All concert venues, theatres and cinemas are closed, including for drive-in or drive-through events.
  • Public libraries can open for contactless curbside, delivery and pickup.
  • Museums and cultural amenities remain closed.
  • Businesses must have COVID-19 safety plans in place and make them available upon request. This sample COVID-19 Safety Plan for Community Partners, Businesses and Service Providers may be of use.
  • All businesses or places that are open must do frequent cleaning and disinfecting to ensure areas open to the public are kept in sanitary conditions.
  • Workplaces must do COVID-19 screening for any workers or essential visitors entering the work premises. The screening tool should ask if staff or visitors have any COVID-19 symptoms. This screening tool could be done electronically or using a paper-based resource like the sample provided here. The Ministry of Health also has an online COVID-19 Screening Tool for Employees and an online COVID-19 Screening Tool for Customers that may be of use.
Religious Services, Weddings and Funerals
  • No more than 10 people are allowed inside (or outside) for weddings, funerals and other religious services
  • For both indoor and outdoor ceremonies, those attending MUST ensure physical distancing, wear masks or face coverings that cover their nose, mouth and chin, and follow proper health and safety rules.
  • Virtual services are permitted, and encouraged especially due to Stay-at-Home order.
  • Drive-in services, rites or ceremonies are permitted, subject to certain conditions.
Schools and Child Care Centres
  • Teacher-led remote learning continues for students in southern Ontario. Schools in northern Ontario will remain open.
  • All schools in the COVID-19 hot spots of Toronto, Windsor-Essex, Hamilton, York Region and Peel Region will not return to in-person instruction until at least Feb. 10, 2021.
  • By Jan. 20, the Chief Public Health Officer of Health will advise when in-person learning for students in southern Ontario (including Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes) can resume in schools.
  • New COVID-19 health and safety measures will take effect when in-person learning resumes in schools. These measures include:
    • Masks and face coverings must now be worn by Grades 1-3 students. Requirements are also in place for mask use outdoors.
    • Enhanced screening protocols
    • Expanded targeted testing
  • Child care centres for non-school aged children will remain open.
Increased Enforcement
  • Increased education and enforcement checks/inspections for workplaces will be carried out by Ministry of Labour inspectors to ensure compliance with all COVID-19 safety rules
  • The Province is giving increased enforcement powers to the Ontario Provincial Police, local police forces, municipal bylaw officers, and provincial workplace inspectors to issue tickets to individuals who do not obey the stay-at-home-order or do not wear a mask or face covering indoors. Businesses and companies could also be penalized for failing to follow the rules/orders.
  • Anyone who does not obey the new emergency orders could face a ticket, fine or prosecution under the Reopening Ontario Act or the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to key questions about Ontario’s State of Emergency and Stay-at-Home order:

Why is the Province issuing a stay-at-home order while also permitting curbside pickup at stores?

This question assumes every person in Ontario has easy access to online shopping or that there is a big-box retailer in their community. This isn’t the case for many Ontarians who live in rural and remote areas.

Over the past year, we’ve learned a lot responding to this pandemic, including the fact that what may be essential to someone in a small community and how they buy that item may not be essential to someone in downtown Toronto, who can easily buy items online for delivery. The Government of Ontario determining what retailers may be considered essential risks cutting off many Ontarians who don’t live in Toronto or an urban centre from access to necessary goods.

What is an essential item?

The Government of Ontario cannot determine what is essential for every person in this province, each with their own unique circumstances and regional considerations. Legally defining what is essential risks cutting people off from goods that may legitimately be necessary for their health, well-being and safety.

What is an essential trip?

The Government of Ontario cannot determine what is essential for every person in this province, each with their own unique circumstances and regional considerations. That said, we have provided broad categories that people should consider before leaving home: food; health-care services, including medication; exercise; or work (where someone’s job cannot be done at home).

What is essential work?

The Stay-at-Home order does not define what work or jobs are essential. Rather, it now mandates that anyone who can work from home must now do so. For example, someone working in retail obviously can’t do their job from home and would be permitted to go to work.

If you do leave home for essential work, get a letter from your employer. This can be used as proof of employment in case you are asked.

Why hasn’t the Province defined who can or should work from home?

The Government of Ontario cannot review tens of millions of job descriptions to determine who can work from home. As such, it is relying on the best judgment and common sense of employers to determine who can do so.

At this time, if your workplace is permitted to be open and you are unable to work from home, you can leave home for work so long as your presence is required in the workplace. The Ontario government mandates that if you are able to work from home, you must.

If you believe you should be working from home, contact the Ministry of Labour to file a health and safety complaint.

Why can people still gather in groups of five outdoors?

The outdoor gathering limit of five is in recognition of the fact that some people live alone and may require the company or support of others for their mental and physical well-being. Anyone gathering outside is expected to adhere to physical distancing measures and are now strongly urged to wear a mask.

Can people leave home to exercise? Can I go to my local playground, ice rink, trail or basketball court?

Yes, exercise is considered an essential reason for leaving your home. What that means will be unique to each individual person: some may wish to go for a walk around the block, while others may wish to go to a local basketball court with their household to shoot some hopes.

Under current regulations, outdoor recreational amenities are allowed to open. This includes parks, playgrounds, basketball courts, skate parks, Frisbee golf locations, ice rinks, tobogganing hills, trails for snowmobiles/cross country skiing/snowshoeing dogsledding and others. Anyone using these outdoor amenities must maintain 2 metres physical distance from others. No team sports can be practised or played in these venues.

Please check further with your local municipality to understand what recreational amenities are open in their community. Watch for posted signs that may give further direction on use.

Can I go ice-fishing?

Yes, ice fishing is allowed. Rentals of ice huts is also permitted. Huts should be large enough to allow for physical distancing. Anyone renting huts should be screened for COVID-19 beforehand and provide contact information (in case contact tracing is needed). Ice huts can only be used by members of a single household, and cannot be used overnight.

Any rental equipment such as fishing rods should be cleaned and disinfected between uses. The maximum outdoor gathering limit is five people.

Can someone living alone still join up with another household?

Yes, they can exclusively join one other household. This is to support their mental health and well-being, as well as to ensure those requiring support continue to have access to essential caregivers.

Can I drop off my child to a grandparent for care?

Yes. Under the regulation, people can leave home to attend, obtain or provide child care. This can include dropping off a child at a grandparent or similar relative.

Can I leave home to care for an older family member, such as a parent or grandparent?

Yes. In this circumstance, you would be allowed to provide care or support.

Is there a time limit for how long people can leave their homes?

No. That said, we’re asking Ontarians to use their best judgment when leaving their home for essential reasons. They should limit the number of stores they go to and spend as little time outside their home as possible.

Is there a limit on the number of times someone can leave their home in a day?

No. That said, we’re asking Ontarians to use their best judgment when leaving their home for essential reasons. They should limit the number of stores they go to and spend as little time outside their home as possible.

Can people travel to their cottages or secondary residences?

Right now, we are asking people to stay home and only leave their home for essential purposes, which could include emergency maintenance at a secondary residence. In the spirit of the Stay-at-Home order, we are not recommending inter-provincial travel.

Can places of worship be open during the State of Emergency?

Yes. Religious services, weddings and funerals are still allowed — with restrictions. Click here for more details.

What should I do if I have been in contact with someone who is positive for COVID-19?

Public health reaches out to anyone who is considered a high-risk contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19. Public health staff will give you direction on what to do next.

If you are reporting a potential exposure, stay at home to isolate and monitor for symptoms. The Health Unit recommends you go for testing at least 5-7 days after your last exposure, or sooner if COVID-19 symptoms develop. For further guidance, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577m ext. 5020.


Additional Resources

If you have further questions, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577 ext. 5020, or email: covid19@hkpr.on.ca



Media/Blogs

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Blogs

Media Releases

Acting Medical Officer of Health Urges Vigilance to Stop the Spread of COVID-19 – Friday, Jan. 7, 2021

Feed the Need – Safely Donate to Area Food Banks and Support Programs During COVID-19 – Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020

Province Moves Local Health Unit Region into Yellow Protect Level – Friday, Dec. 4, 2020

Customers Should Self-Monitor for COVID-19 After Outbreak Declared at Tim Hortons in Colborne – Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020

Outbreak Declared at Canadian Centre for Addictions in Port Hope – Saturday, November 28, 2020

Health Unit Declares Outbreak at Cameco Fuel Manufacturing in Port Hope – Friday, November 27, 2020

Health Unit Lifts COVID-19 Outbreak at Northumberland Hills Hospital – Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020

Partnership Helps Deliver Food Supplies to Students in Need, Even During COVID-19 School Closures – Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020

Health Unit Provides Update on Local COVID-19 Outbreaks – Friday, Nov. 13, 2020

Health Unit Declares COVID-19 Outbreak at Warkworth Long-Term Care Home – Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020

Health Unit Survey Asks How COVID-19 is Affecting You – Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020

Health Alert Issued After Numerous Suspected Overdoses in Kawartha Lakes – Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020

New Medical Officer of Health Appointed – Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020

No-Cost Quit-Smoking Resources Can Help Break Tobacco Habit – Monday, Oct. 19, 2020

Take Precautions This Thanksgiving Weekend to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 – Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020

COVID-19 Leads to Cancellation of Low-Cost Rabies Vaccination Clinics, but People Still Urged to Protect Their Pet from Rabies – Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020

Update on Local COVID-19 Outbreaks – Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020

COVID-19 Contributes to Death of Northumberland Resident – Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020

Beware of Bats Inside Homes, Health Unit Advises – Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Update on Local COVID-19 Outbreaks – Friday, Aug. 28, 2020

Local Health Unit Issues Order to Agricultural/Farm Operations that Employ Migrant Workers – Thursday, July 9, 2020

Local Health Unit Issues Requirement for Mask Use in Commercial Establishments – Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Latest Update on Local COVID-19 Outbreaks – Thursday, July 2, 2020

Beach Water Testing Program Resumes This Summer – Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Latest Update on Local COVID-19 Outbreaks – Thursday, June 18, 2020

Health Unit Provides Update on Local COVID-19 Outbreaks – Friday, June 12, 2020

Health Unit Support for Expectant Parents, New Parents and Families Still Available During Pandemic – Monday, June 8, 2020

Two More COVID-19 Outbreaks Declared Over in Area – Monday, June 1, 2020

One Local COVID-19 Outbreak Declared Over – Sunday, May 31, 2020

Health Unit Provides Update on Local COVID-19 Outbreaks – Thursday, May 14, 2020

On Hold – Local Residents Strongly Discouraged from Organizing Garage/Yard Sales During COVID-19 – Friday May 8, 2020

Outbreak Declaration Removed at Case Manor Due to Lab Error – Thursday May 7, 2020

Recent Outbreaks in Area Long-Term Care and Retirement Homes – Tuesday May 5, 2020

Guidelines for Community Gardens – Let’s Get Growing Safely – Monday May 4, 2020

Retesting to Be Conducted After Lab Error May Have Created Inaccurate COVID-19 Results – Friday May 1, 2020

Health Unit Issues Order – Tuesday April 14, 2020

HKPR District Health Unit Reports Confirmed Case of COVID-19 in Haliburton County – Wednesday April 1, 2020

Working Together to Protect Vulnerable Residents at Bobcaygeon Long-Term Care Home – Thursday March 26, 2020

Community Transmission of COVID-19 – Wednesday March 25, 2020

COVID-19 Contributes to Death of CKL Resident – Sunday March 22, 2020

Three Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in Area Nursing Home – Friday March 20, 2020

Updates from the Local Health Unit – Thursday March 19, 2020

Medical Officer of Health Activates Emergency Response Plan – Tuesday March, 17, 2020

Positive COVID-19 Case in CKL – Saturday, March 14, 2020

First Local Positive COVID-19 Case Reported – Friday, March 13, 2020

Local Health Partners Continue to Work Together in Preparation for Potential COVID-19 Cases – March 2, 2020

Working Together to Prevent Spread of Seasonal Illness and Novel Coronavirus – Jan. 30, 2020


Follow us for COVID-19 Updates

You can find and follow updates on COVID-19 in your local community via the following HKPR resources:

If you have questions about COVID-19, you can contact the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577 x5020 or email at info@hkpr.on.ca

For Employees

COVID-19 has changed many things, including how we work. No matter where and how you are working, it’s important to follow key preventive measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.


IMPORTANT NOTE: As of Jan. 12, 2021, the Province has announced a second State of Emergency in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19. The Ontario government’s order means people must stay at home except for getting essentials and follow these restrictions and public health measures.


Key messages:
  • Stay home if you are sick or have been directed to self isolate by the Health Unit.
  • Plan for physical distancing whenever and wherever possible. Avoid sharing work stations, tools or equipment. If you have to share items, clean and disinfect all commonly touched surfaces before you touch them. Allow for lots of space between you and other people, especially in lunch rooms and other common areas. Stay at least 2 metres (6 feet) apart whenever possible. 
  • If staff/workers are performing tasks indoors that require them to be less than 2 metres from an unmasked or improperly masked individual without a barrier (e.g. Plexiglass, partition, wall), appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be worn, including proper protection for eyes, nose and mouth. At a minimum, this would include a medical mask and eye protection (NOTE: This is also a requirement of the Ministry of Labour). Please refer to this COVID-19 Eye Protection guidance resource for more information.
  • Use appropriate PPE when needed.
  • Ontario is now requiring that non-medical masks or face coverings be worn inside public places. Employees who work with the public are covered by this. Learn more on how to ensure a mask fits properly and when you can temporarily remove a mask.
  • Practice good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.  Wash your hands, or use hand sanitizer when you can’t wash. 
  • Clean and disinfect your work stations, and all commonly-touched surfaces often.
  • If you are carpooling to work with another person, ensure physical distancing on the drive. Stick to two people per vehicle. The second person should sit in the back, passenger-side seat to ensure proper distance from the driver. Masks should be worn on the trip. The only exception to this two-person limit is if travelling in the same vehicle with people from your own household.
  • Review these workplace video resources for more information. 
  • Communicate and share credible and evidenced based information with coworkers and customers. 
  • Take care of your mental health.

Workplace health and safety resources:

Visit the Ontario government website for a full list of sector-specific guidelines to reopen workplaces. You can also go to these Ontario health and safety associations for more COVID-19 health and safety advice tailored to your workplace: 

You have a right to a safe workplace – now more than ever during COVID-19. Learn about your rights during COVID-19 and discover resources/supports that can help reduce the risk of illness for you and others in your workplace.


Latest Updates

What if There is a Case of COVID-19 in My Workplace?
Employees/Co-workers
  • Anyone with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 must NOT go to work and should self-isolate at home. If contact with a positive case is confirmed, further directions will be provided by the Health Unit
  • Physical distancing rules at work mean employees should not be in close contact with each other. If, however, an employee is identified as being a close contact of a co-worker who is confirmed or suspected of having COVID-19, the person should immediately take Ontario’s online COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to see what further care is needed. They can also call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000. The employee may also be contacted by the Health Unit with further directions on what to do, including self-isolating or self-monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Employers are strongly urged to support the COVID-19 instructions your employees have received from any health care provider. This protects the health of your workers and customers
  • Encourage everyone at work to continue following physical distancing rules (staying 2 metres or 6 feet apart from others) and regularly wash hands with soap and water
  • Continue to frequently clean and disinfect commonly touched or shared surfaces at work, including tools, equipment and workstations.
Customers/Clients
  • Follow direction from the Health Unit about any extra precautions that are needed to reduce the risk of illness. These directives can include: getting employees/staff who were in close contact with the customer/client to self-isolate or self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, increasing cleaning and disinfecting at your workplace, and other measures
  • Continue to keep employees and customers safe:
    • Follow provincial rules that specify how your business/workplace can operate (for example, only offer curbside pickup, limit number of people in store, etc.).
    • Ensure a 2-metre (6-foot) distance is kept between people.
    • Reduce overcrowding.
    • Increase your online or phone services
    • Offer curb-side delivery
    • Make hand sanitizer available for customers at entry and exit points.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can an employee come to work if someone in their household has developed symptoms of COVID-19?

It is recommended that the symptomatic household member be tested for COVID-19 and self-isolate while awaiting test results.

If the employee has no symptoms, they can continue to work and self-monitor for symptoms, unless alternative direction has been provided by public health.

What should I do if an employee at my workplace develops symptoms of COVID-19? Should I send everyone else home? Should I close?

The employee with symptoms should be isolated from others, sent home immediately and advised to seek medical assessment and testing for their symptoms. Other employees can continue to work and should self-monitor for symptoms. It is not a requirement to send all other employees home and/or close unless advised by public health.

If one of my employees tells me that someone in their household travels regularly outside of Canada for work (e.g. a truck driver), can my employee still come to work?

Yes. Household members are not required to quarantine or self-isolate in this case but should self-monitor for symptoms.

Someone in an employee’s household has been identified as a contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19. Can the employee still come to work?

The employee can go to work but should self-monitor for symptoms.

When can an employee return to work if they have been sick with COVID-19?

Health Unit staff will provide detailed direction to all positive cases and their close contacts on self-isolation requirements and return to work.

When can an employee return to the workplace if they have been sick, but do not have COVID-19?

If the individual was tested for COVID-19 and the result was negative, the recommendation is to wait for 24 hours after symptoms resolve before returning to the workplace, unless otherwise advised by public health.

How do I protect myself, my employees and my customers from COVID-19?

Remember these key public health measures:

  • Self-monitor for symptoms daily, and stay home if you are sick
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer
  • Cough/Sneeze into elbow or tissue, put tissue in garbage and wah hands right away
  • Keep at least 2 metres physical distance from others
  • Wear a mask when indoors in public spaces, and anytime keeping 2m physical distance is not possible
  • Regularly clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces
  • Post signage to remind employees, customers and visitors of all of the above
  • Self-isolate if you develop symptoms
  • Stay within your social circle


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IMPORTANT NOTE: As of Jan. 12, 2021, the Province has announced a second State of Emergency in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19. The Ontario government’s order means people must stay at home except for getting essentials and follow these restrictions and public health measures. Know your rights as an employee when it ...
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Protect yourself, your staff and customers from COVID-19. Here's what to do: Provide hand sanitizer and tissues at all entrances and work stations Encourage employees to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water. If soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.Encourage everyone at work ...
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Follow us for COVID-19 Updates

You can find and follow updates on COVID-19 in your local community via the following HKPR resources:

If you have questions about COVID-19, you can contact the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577 x5020 or email at info@hkpr.on.ca

For Employers

IMPORTANT NOTE: As of Jan. 12, 2021, the Province has announced a second State of Emergency in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19. The Ontario government’s order means people must stay at home except for getting essentials and follow these restrictions and public health measures.

The State of Emergency will affect the way many businesses/workplaces open and operate. Please click here to find out how it will impact you.

On This Page:
Key messages
  • If staff/workers are performing tasks indoors that require them to be less than 2 metres from an unmasked or improperly masked individual without a barrier (e.g. Plexiglass, partition, wall), appropriate Personal Protective Equipment must be worn, including proper protection for eyes, nose and mouth. At a minimum, this would include a medical mask and eye protection (NOTE: This is also a requirement of the Ministry of Labour). Please refer to this COVID-19 Eye Protection guidance resource for more information.
  • Ensure employees are equipped with the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needed to do their jobs. For a directory of Workplace PPE Providers, click here.
  • Reinforce physical distancing whenever and wherever possible:
    • Allow staff to work from home if possible.
    • Avoid face-to-face meetings.
    • Avoid sharing work stations, tools or equipment.
    • Alter shifts and stagger breaks.
    • In lunch rooms and other common areas, use floor markings to show 2-metre distance between chairs. Ensure 2 metre distance is also maintained between co-workers when they remove masks to eat or drink.
  • Offer delivery or curbside pick up for customers and clients.
  • Practise good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette always. Remind employees to wash their hands frequently with soap and water. Provide hand sanitizer and ensure access to handwashing facilities and soap.
  • Clean and disinfect work stations, and all commonly touched surfaces often.
  • Ontario is now requiring that non-medical masks or face coverings be worn inside public places. Employees who work with the public are covered by this. Provide education to workers on proper mask fit and when a mask can temporarily be removed.
  • Recommend safe carpooling among employees. Ensure physical distancing on the drive to work. Stick to two people per vehicle. The second person should sit in the back, passenger-side seat to ensure proper distance from the driver. Masks should be worn on the trip. The only exception to this two-person limit is if travelling in the same vehicle with people from your own household.
  • Develop a plan to effectively manage employee absence and ensure that everyone stays home if they are sick.
  • Consider employee and visitor screening strategies. Place posters at entrances and employee common spaces. You may also want to get staff to complete a health screening questionnaire before each work shift. The survey would ask if staff have any COVID-19 symptoms. Such a questionnaire could be done electronically or using a paper-based questionnaire sheet like the sample provided here. The Ministry of Health also has a COVID-19 Screening Tool for Workplaces to use.
  • Train employees on key public health measures to prevent COVID-19. These workplace videos can help.
  • Regularly communicate and share credible and evidenced based information with employees and customers. Provide ongoing updates and let them know what you are doing to keep them healthy during the pandemic.
  • Support your employee’s mental health. Put in place policies that support employees who need to be absent from work due to illness or being in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case. Remind staff of their Employee and Family Assistance Program if your workplace has one. You can also share these Mental Health supports.
  • Develop a plan on what to do if a person who is sick visits or comes to work at your business.
  • Support any COVID-19 instructions your employees have received from a health care provider. This protects the health of your workers and customers.
Workplace health and safety resources

Visit the Ontario government website for a full list of sector-specific guidelines for reopening. You can also go to these Ontario health and safety associations for more COVID-19 health and safety advice tailored to your workplace:

Latest Updates
What if There is a Case of COVID-19 in My Workplace?
Employees/Co-workers
  • Anyone with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 must NOT go to work and should self-isolate at home. Employees should not return to work until the required self-isolation period is over. Further direction on this will be provided by the Health Unit.
  • Employees are responsible to report COVID-19 illness to their employer if it is likely to cause illness to another person in the workplace. If an employee discloses they have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or have been exposed to someone with the virus, confirm they are self-isolating.
  • Physical distancing rules at work mean employees should not be in close contact with each other. If an employee is identified as being a close contact of a co-worker who is confirmed or suspected of having COVID-19, the person should immediately take Ontario’s online COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to see what further care is needed. They can also call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000. The employee may also be contacted by the Health Unit with further directions on what to do, including self-isolating or self-monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Employers are strongly urged to support the COVID-19 instructions your employees have received from any health care provider. This protects the health of your workers and customers.
  • Employers should also put in place policies that support employees who need to be absent from work due to illness or being a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case.
  • The Health Unit does not recommend that employers require clearance testing or doctor’s notes for employees to return to work.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that may have been touched by an employee with COVID-19 as soon as possible. Continue to frequently clean and disinfect commonly touched or shared surfaces at work, including tools, equipment and workstations.
  • Encourage everyone at work to continue following physical distancing rules (staying 2 metres or 6 feet apart from others) and regularly wash hands with soap and water
  • Toronto Public Health has developed a COVID-19 Decision Guide for Workplaces to help determine when it is safe for employees to return to work. The Guide is included here for your information.
Customers/Clients
  • Follow direction from the Health Unit about any extra precautions that are needed to reduce the risk of illness. These directives can include: getting employees/staff who were in close contact with the customer/client to self-isolate or self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, increasing cleaning and disinfecting at your workplace, and other measures
  • Continue to keep employees and customers safe:
    • Follow provincial rules that specify how your business/workplace can operate (for example, only offer curbside pickup, limit number of people in store, etc.).
    • Ensure a 2-metre (6-foot) distance is kept between people.
    • Reduce overcrowding.
    • Increase your online or phone services
    • Offer curb-side delivery
    • Make hand sanitizer available for customers at entry and exit points.
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IMPORTANT NOTE: As of Jan. 12, 2021, the Province has announced a second State of Emergency in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19. The Ontario government’s order means people must stay at home except for getting essentials and follow these restrictions and public health measures. Know your rights as an employee when it ...
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Stay Connected

You can find and follow updates on COVID-19 in your local community via the following HKPR resources:

If you have questions about COVID-19, you can contact the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020, or email at info@hkpr.on.ca

Employee Health and Safety During COVID-19

IMPORTANT NOTE: As of Jan. 12, 2021, the Province has announced a second State of Emergency in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19. The Ontario government’s order means people must stay at home except for getting essentials and follow these restrictions and public health measures.

Know your rights as an employee when it comes to health and safety during COVID-19.

Resources/Legislation

All levels of governments are taking steps to support/protect people affected by coronavirus. The following resources can help you understand your rights. (Information is current at the time of this posting; please check official government websites for the most recent updates):   

Ontario Human Rights Commission FAQs 
Explains your rights during COVID-19 in series of questions and answers.

The Ontario government has also set out health and safety protections for workers during COVID-19. Some of the protections include: 

  • The Employment Standards Amendments Act (Infectious Disease Emergencies), 2020 sets out: 
    • Job-protected leave to employees in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19, and to those who need to be away from work to care for children at home due to school/daycare closures
    • Employees will not be required to provide a medical note. 
    • Measures are retroactive to January 25, 2020.
  • As well, in a declared emergency, employees have the right to take an unpaid, job-protected leave if they are unable to perform job duties due to an emergency or other circumstances.  The Employment Standards Act Guide is being updated as more information becomes available.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act also:  

  • Gives workers the right to refuse work they believe is unsafe to them or co-workers. Workers who feel they are endangered by workplace violence may also refuse work.
    • Sets out a specific procedure that must be followed in any work refusal. 
    • If you have identified a health and safety issue at your workplace, contact your manager or supervisor, your Joint Health and Safety Committee representative, and/or your union representative.  
For Additional Complaints/Concerns
  • If you’re unable to resolve concerns, or want to report a workplace health and safety incident, critical injury, fatality, or work refusal, call the Health and Safety Contact Centre at the Ministry of Labour to report your issue.  You can speak to a representative at 1-877-202-0008.
  • For less urgent health and safety issues, file an online complaint now.  The Health and Safety Contact Centre will review and respond in due course. 
  • If you’ve been fired or punished for exercising your rights under the Ontario Health and Safety Act, you can file a reprisal complaint with the Ontario Labour Relations Board.
Business Questions
Additional Resources:

Download and print resources below:

Image of Attention Staff AODA compliant poster – click to download
Image of Attention Staff AODA compliant poster – click to download

Attention Staff
Poster

Prevention

Resources

IMPORTANT NOTE: As of Jan. 12, 2021, the Province has announced a second State of Emergency in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19. The Ontario government’s order means people must stay at home except for getting essentials and follow these restrictions and public health measures.

Health is in your hands when it comes to COVID-19. Click on the links below for information on how to prevent the spread of the virus.


Physical Distancing

IMPORTANT NOTE: As of Jan. 12, 2021, the Province has announced a second State of Emergency in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19. The Ontario government’s order means people must stay at home except for getting essentials and follow these restrictions and public health measures.

Practise physical distancing as much as possible anytime you’re outdoors or in the community. This is important to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Tips for Physical Distancing:
  • Keep a minimum two-metre (six-foot) distance between yourself and others. That’s roughly the length of a hockey stick.
  • When out in the community, practise physical distancing every step of the way!
  • With more businesses and services reopening, the Health Unit is now instructing the use of non-medical masks or face coverings inside all public places. Click here for more specifics on this instruction.
  • Get outside to exercise and be active, but try to maintain a physical distance of at last 2 metres (6-feet) from others. This is especially true as more parks and outdoor recreational amenities reopen.
  • Greet people with a wave, bow or nod, instead of handshake or hug. After being outside, wash your hands with soap and water.
  • During the province-wide COVID-19 shutdown, do not gather with a group for a celebration or event. Instead, try to connect with family or friends by phone or online.
  • Work from home if possible. Talk to your supervisor, manager, or employer about options. Cancel in-person business meetings. Instead, look at teleconferencing or video chat options.
  • If you are sick, avoid visits to care facilities like long-term care homes, retirement homes, supportive housing, and hospices. Stay home and use Ontario’s online COVID-19 Screening Tool to see what additional care you may need.
  • Sanitize/wash your hands when entering or exiting building. Avoid long lineups. Use tap to pay instead of handling money.
  • Do NOT use public transit if you are sick. Self-isolate at home right away.
  • If you must use public transit, wash hands often, keep a two-metre distance between other passengers, wear a non-medical mask and aim to travel in non-peak hours.

Remember: While you may not feel sick, and while these measures may seem inconvenient, they are important to reduce the spread of COVID-19.


Additional Resources:

Download and print resources below:

Support at Home

Resources

IMPORTANT NOTE: As of Jan. 12, 2021, the Province has announced a second State of Emergency in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19. The Ontario government’s order means people must stay at home except for getting essentials and follow these restrictions and public health measures.

During COVID-19, take steps to create a ‘home safe home.’ Reduce the spread of illness, while also supporting everyone’s physical and mental health. Scroll down for more information, supports and resources to help fight COVID-19.


COVID-19 and Large Gatherings/Events

IMPORTANT NOTE: As of Jan. 12, 2021, the Province has announced a second State of Emergency in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19. The Ontario government’s order means people must stay at home except for getting essentials and follow these restrictions and public health measures.

Under the State of Emergency, a Stay-at-Home order is also in effect. This means you cannot gather with anyone outside of your household to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Please follow these measures and put off any large gatherings until further notice.

Places of Worship during COVID-19

IMPORTANT NOTE: As of Jan. 12, 2021, the Province has announced a second State of Emergency in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19. The Ontario government’s order means people must stay at home except for getting essentials and follow these restrictions and public health measures.

During the State of Emergency:

  • Weddings, funerals and religious services are still allowed. A maximum of 10 people are allowed inside (or outside) for these types of services.
  • People can leave home to attend a wedding, funeral or religious service that follows all public health measures.
  • Anyone attending an indoor and outdoor ceremonies MUST ensure physical distancing, wear masks or face coverings that cover their nose, mouth and chin, and follow proper health and safety rules.
  • Virtual services are permitted, and encouraged especially due to Stay-at-Home order.
  • Drive-in services, rites or ceremonies are permitted, subject to certain conditions.

On This Page:


Use of Non-Medical Masks Face Coverings During Religious Services

Everyone must wear a mask at all times when indoors attending a place of worship. The only exceptions are anyone who:

  • Is younger than two years of age;
  • Has a medical condition that inhibits their ability to wear a mask or face covering
  • Is unable to put on or remove a mask or face covering without help from another person.
  • Needs to temporarily remove their mask or face covering while in the indoor area, as it may be necessary for the purposes of health and safety.
  • Is being reasonably accommodated in accordance with the Human Rights Code.
  • Performs work for the business or organization, is in an area that is not accessible to members of the public, and is able to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres (6 feet) from every other person while in the indoor area.
Weddings and Funerals

During the province-wide COVID-19 State of Emergency, a maximum of 10 people are currently allowed inside (or outside) for weddings, funerals and other religious service For both indoor and outdoor ceremonies, those attending must follow proper health and safety rules.

General COVID-19 Preventive Tips for Places of Worship
  • Maintain physical distancing by staying two metres (six feet) apart at all times.
  • Strongly urge anyone who is feeling sick to stay home and not attend a service.
  • Encourage everyone to wash their hands. Ensure hand-cleaning stations and alcohol-based sanitizer dispensers are available at entrances to your place of worship. 
  • Ensure everyone wears a mask or face covering at all times, including when seated during the worship service.
  • Stop shaking hands or hugging.  
  • Remind people to cough/sneeze into their sleeves. 
  • Discourage group singing. Use audio or video recordings instead.
  • Review the sharing of items during special religious sacraments/rites, at least while COVID-19 continues to circulate. You may want to consult further with your parish/diocese/denomination/national body. 
  • Maintain a clean and safe space through regular cleaning and disinfecting. High-touch surfaces should be cleaned twice a day or following each service (whichever is more frequent).
  • Have a traffic flow plan in place, such as one-way enter/one-way exit.
  • Encourage members/parishioners who are more vulnerable to COVID-19 (including those over age 70 and people with compromised immune systems) to take part in virtual services or hold a dedicated service solely for this group.
  • Consider keeping a record of all attendees for contact tracing in case of a COVID-19 outbreak.
Stay Connected to Members/Congregants in Other Ways
  • Encourage members/congregants to stay at home and only go out for essentials (like groceries or prescriptions)
  • Continue to offer virtual or live-streamed services
  • Keep in touch by phone or via social media/email/text. Share credible information – like what’s on this website on how people can protect themselves from COVID-19. 
  • Adults aged 70 years and older or people with compromised immune systems may be at higher risk of COVID-19. Think about ways that you can reach out to these individuals by phone or electronical means. See if you can assist with essential errands (e.g. groceries, pharmacy pick-up), keeping in mind the importance of protecting your own health by practising physical distancing.
Additional Resources:

Download and print resources below:

Reducing Harm When Using Drugs

IMPORTANT NOTE: As of Jan. 12, 2021, the Province has announced a second State of Emergency in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19. The Ontario government’s order means people must stay at home except for getting essentials and follow these restrictions and public health measures.

Washing hands, covering your cough, self-isolating, and practising physical distancing are all needed to slow the spread of COVID-19. If you currently use substances or other drugs, there’s added urgency to be safe. Not only is it important to avoid overdoses and reduce the risk of infections like HIV and hepatitis, you also need to reduce harm from COVID-19.  

Please note: During COVID-19, if you need harm reduction supplies, please order ahead if possible by calling the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 3000. Ring or knock at the office door when you come to pick up and the order will be brought to the door for you. 

General Tips (For Those Not Self-Isolating/Showing No COVID-19 Symptoms) 
  • Do not share supplies (cigarettes, joints, pipes, injecting equipment, containers for alcohol, utensils, and other supplies). Use your own mouthpiece and keep it only for YOUR use 
  • Avoid handshakes, hugs, kisses and other close contact 
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before preparing, handling or using drugs. Prepare your own drugs 
  • If you cannot wash your hands with soap or use hand sanitizer, use alcohol-based hand wipes 
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use tissues. Throw tissues away immediately and wash your hands 
  • It’s strongly recommended you clean surfaces with soap and water, alcohol wipes, bleach or hydrogen peroxide before preparing drugs 
  • If you share a washroom with others, clean and disinfect surfaces like knobs, taps, and flushers. Use soap and water, bleach, hydrogen peroxide or alcohol-based wipes (70%) after every use. Do not mix different types of cleaning solutions 
  • Buddy up if using drugs, but be safe! COVID-19 is passed by droplets, so you must stay 2 metres (six feet) – roughly the length of a hockey stick – from your buddy to avoid passing the virus  
  • Using with a buddy is safer than using drugs alone, but remember to keep your physical distance! Buddies may be able to bring food, harm reduction supplies, medicine, and substances so that you can stay well. You can also be a buddy to others who need support. Check in on your buddies regularly and have them do the same for you  
  • Carry naloxone and have an overdose plan. If necessary, you can perform chest compressions. Do not do rescue breathing due to COVID-19 concerns  
  • If you must use drugs by yourself, call a buddy to have him/her regularly check in on you 
If Isolating (With or Without COVID-19 Symptoms)  
  • Do not leave your home! Ask a buddy to pick up supplies including naloxone from harm reduction sites or outreach workers. Arrange to have the supplies dropped off at your door, being sure to practise physical distancing  
  • Try to have the substances you need to stay well. Know that carrying large amounts may land you in trouble with the law. Consider alternatives to your drug of choice, especially if supplies are difficult to get and you face withdrawal symptoms 
  • Have a backup plan and be cautious of new supplies you may need to get  
  • Try to have the medications you need. Refills may be available through your pharmacist or by phone without having to see your doctor. If you’re feeling sick and require medications, call your pharmacy in advance 
  • Health Canada is working on exemptions to ensure access to OAT (Opioid Agonist Therapy) and other medicines 
  • For more information, contact your health care provider  
Responding to an Overdose During COVID-19 

If using a naloxone kit, refer to the Five Steps to Respond to an Opioid Overdose sheet inside. Take these extra precautions too:  

  • Stimulate: try and rouse the person, encourage them to take breaths 
  • If no response: call 9-1-1, give naloxone and perform chest compressions. DO NOT try doing rescue breathing 
  • When using a naloxone kit: put gloves on, but do not use the faceshield/breathing barrier for rescue breaths (not advised given COVID-19 situation) 
  • After responding, properly remove gloves and throw them in the garbage. Wash/clean hands thoroughly 
  • If chest compressions are needed, place a towel or a piece of clothing over the person’s nose and mouth to protect yourself from droplets 

Reminder: The Good Samaritan Act offers legal protection for someone to help in an emergency. The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act protects anyone on scene of an overdose from being charged for possessing/using drugs 

Additional Resources  

Service Providers Working With Vulnerable Clients

IMPORTANT NOTE: As of Jan. 12, 2021, the Province has announced a second State of Emergency in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19. The Ontario government’s order means people must stay at home except for getting essentials and follow these restrictions and public health measures.

It’s essential to slow the spread of COVID-19, especially to vulnerable clients. If you are a service provider working with vulnerable clients, you can access link/resources below to protect the health of staff, volunteers and clients.  

General Tips

For Homeless Shelters and Service Providers 

For Food Banks/Food Program Providers 

If you are feeling ill, stay at home and away from others

Practise Physical Distancing: 

  • Change the layout of your centre so there is enough space for staff, volunteers and clients to maintain physical distance
  • Remove client wait areas. Get people to wait outdoors (weather permitting). Use pylons or tape spaced 2 metres apart to guide clients on where to stand in line. 
  • Mark or assign work stations so that staff/volunteers can maintain a 2-metre distance apart.
  • Limit the number of clients in the centre at one time.
  • Stagger arrivals and departures to reduce client contact.
  • Allow staff and volunteers to fill out any forms or paperwork on behalf of clients. (NOTE: Clients must be able to view and verbally verify the information documented is correct. Staff and volunteers cannot sign on behalf of a client.)  
  • Extend hours or open on additional days so clients can be spread out.  

Practise Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette 

  • Wash hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer often. Do this before and after receiving items and making packages for delivery.
  • Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer (60-90% concentration) and tissues at all entrances and work stations.
  • Remind staff, volunteers and clients to sneeze or cough into the bend of their elbow or into a tissue. Used tissue must be thrown  into the trash. Wash or sanitize hands after.

Wear Masks/Face Coverings

  • Wear a mask or face covering. NOTE: Face coverings must be worn inside public spaces.
  • Develop a policy and protocols for your organization on mask use.
  • Educate staff and volunteers on proper use and disposal of masks.

Increasing Cleaning and Disinfecting

  • Increase surface cleaning and disinfecting on high-touch surfaces (E.g. doorknobs, light switches, all phones, counters, handles on cabinets, fridges, utility or grocery carts, pens, computers stations, etc.) 
  • Use only disinfectants that have an 8-digit Drug Identification Number (DIN). The DIN means a product is approved by Health Canada for use in this country. Click here for a specific list of hard-surface disinfectants that are known to be effective against COVID-19. Chlorine bleach may also be used as a disinfectant.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions for the safe use of products for cleaning or disinfecting. This includes ensuring disinfectants are left on surfaces/items for the proper length of time to be effective.  

Food Distribution Considerations: 

  • Contact the client ahead of time to arrange a delivery/pickup time.
  • Let staff and volunteers handle the food for clients. Pre-pack food boxes or bags based on clients’ wishes and pass out food at the door. Food boxes or bags may need to be smaller or lighter for easier delivery/carrying.
  • If delivering packages for clients:
    • Wash or sanitize hands before the delivery.
    • Drop off the package at the client’s door without entering their home.
    • If staff/volunteer must enter the home, put on a mask before entering.  Avoid touching surfaces in the client’s home.  Maintain 2m distance from other people in the home. Wash or sanitize hands when leaving the client’s home. 

Additional Resources

Download and print resources below:

Fact Sheet: Take Care of Yourself and Each Other – Public Health Ontario

Apartments and Multi-Unit Dwellings

IMPORTANT NOTE: As of Jan. 12, 2021, the Province has announced a second State of Emergency in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19. The Ontario government’s order means people must stay at home except for getting essentials and follow these restrictions and public health measures.

If you own or manage a multi-unit building, it’s important to protect your tenants from COVID-19. Proper screening, cleaning, physical distancing and other measures are essential to reduce the spread of illness. Here’s what you need to do:

Screening

Handwashing and Respiratory Etiquette

Cleaning and Disinfecting

  • Increase cleaning and disinfecting, especially in common areas. High-touch surfaces (like doorknobs, light switches, phones, elevator buttons, stairwells, shared washrooms and garbage facilities) should be cleaned and disinfected at least twice per day, and when visibly dirty.
  • Be careful when handling waste, and ensure you wash hands thoroughly afterwards with soap and running water. Line garbage cans with plastic bags if possible and avoid direct contact with soiled items in the garbage
  • For Shared Laundry Rooms: Both sick and healthy households need to use laundry rooms to wash dirty laundry.  Clean and disinfect the machine controls frequently.  You may also need to put up limits to the number of people in the laundry room at a time, to ensure physical distancing. Put up this poster for tips on using shared laundry facilities.

Mask Use

  • The Ontario government is now mandating that face coverings/non-medical masks MUST be worn in common areas, hallways, lobbies, etc. when you cannot keep 2 metres (6 feet) apart from others.

Physical Distancing

  • Promote physical distancing in your building. Urge people to keep 2 metres (6 feet) apart – roughly the length of a hockey stick. Put up this poster in all common areas to send a clear message.
  • Put in place measures at your building to reinforce physical distancing. Stagger times to use laundry facilities, limit the number of people gathering in shared spaces, and move furnishings like chairs further apart to create more space.  
  • Limit capacity on elevators to ensure physical distancing. Post a sign indicating no more than two or three people should use the elevator at once. 

What to do If Tenants/Residents Show COVID-19 Symptoms

  • Individuals in a private unit who show COVID-19 symptoms MUST self-isolate for the required period and not leave home, unless they need medical care. If possible, check in with them by phone, email or text. Offer to get food/supplies and leave items at their doorway, ensuring no close contact.
  • If someone with COVID-19 symptoms lives in a shared space, support them to safely self-isolate by ensuring they stay in a separate room, use a separate washroom (if possible) and keep a 2 metre distance from others. If this isn’t possible, review this link 
  • If someone experiences severe COVID-19 symptoms, seek immediate medical care. 
  • Be a good neighbour. Check in on people who may need assistance with getting groceries if they are self isolating. This reduces the need for them to leave their apartment.

COVID-19 and Daycares

IMPORTANT NOTE: As of Jan. 12, 2021, the Province has announced a second State of Emergency in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19. The Ontario government’s order means people must stay at home except for getting essentials and follow these restrictions and public health measures.

During the Province’s State of Emergency, all child care centres for non-school aged children will remain open. 


Licensed child care centres are now open and operating at full capacity, but under strict protective measures due to COVID-19.

On This Page:


For Child Care Providers

Child care providers must follow various COVID-19 prevention measures to protect children in their care. These measures include:

  • Ensuring all child care staff and other adults wear medical masks and eye protection (i.e. face shields) at all times while inside the child care premises, including in hallways
  • Conducting frequent and thorough cleaning and disinfecting of the facility. Frequently-touched surfaces such as doorknobs, water fountains, light switches, tabletops, electronics and toilet/faucet handles should be cleaned and disinfected at least twice a day as they are most likely to become contaminated.
  • Carrying out daily COVID-19 screening of children, staff and visitors before they can enter a childcare facility
  • Maintaining attendance records to allow for COVID-19 contact tracing and coordination if needed
  • Encouraging frequent hand washing and proper hand hygiene for children and staff
  • Following clear and rigid case management protocols should a staff member or child become ill or test positive for COVID-19.

For specifics on what is required, child care providers should consult the following resources:

Ontario Government

HKPR District Health Unit


For Parents

Return to Child Care Protocol for Children with COVID-19 Symptoms

Screening Your Child for COVID-19 Symptoms


Health Unit Support

The Health Unit is working with local licensed child care centres to ensure they follow proper protocols to protect the safety of children, families and staff during the pandemic. If you have questions or concerns, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5006.


Additional Resources

COVID-19 and Schools

IMPORTANT NOTE: As of Jan. 12, 2021, the Province has announced a second State of Emergency in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19. The Ontario government’s order means people must stay at home except for getting essentials and follow these restrictions and public health measures.

The State of Emergency has the following impact on schools in Ontario:

  • Teacher-led remote learning continues for students in southern Ontario. Schools in northern Ontario will remain open for now.
  • All schools in the COVID-19 hot spots of Toronto, Windsor-Essex, Hamilton, York Region and Peel Region will not return to in-person instruction until at least Feb. 10, 2021.
  • By Jan. 20, the Chief Public Health Officer of Health will advise when in-person learning for students in southern Ontario (including Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes) can resume in schools.
  • Teacher-led remote learning continues for students in southern Ontario. Schools in northern Ontario will remain open.
  • All schools in the COVID-19 hot spots of Toronto, Windsor-Essex, Hamilton, York Region and Peel Region will not return to in-person instruction until at least Feb. 10, 2021.
  • By Jan. 20, the Chief Public Health Officer of Health will advise when in-person learning for students in southern Ontario (including Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes) can resume in schools.
  • New COVID-19 health and safety measures will take effect when in-person learning resumes in schools. These measures include:
    • Masks and face coverings must now be worn by Grades 1-3 students. Requirements are also in place for mask use outdoors.
    • Enhanced screening protocols
    • Expanded targeted testing

Schools are running with additional preventive measures in place to protect against COVID-19. The Health Unit is working closely with local school boards and other public health units to ensure a safe return for all students, staff and families.

On This Page

For School Board Staff

Click on the following resources for guidance on safe school reopening during COVID-19:

Protocols For Individuals/Schools with COVID-19
Guidance/Checklists for Reopening Schools
Student Nutrition Programs – Guidance and FAQs
For School Bus Drivers/Operators

For Parents
Return to School Protocol for Students with COVID-19 Symptoms
Screening Your Child for COVID-19 Symptoms
Provincial Resources

Guidance documents and resources:

Local School Board Resources

Learn how your local school board is working to support a safe return to class:


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.


Additional Resources

Click on the following for additional support:


Changes to Health Unit Services in Schools Due to COVID-19

Due to the pandemic, the following services in schools are being impacted:

  • School-Based Immunization for Grade 7/8 students will not take place this fall due to COVID-19. Normally, the Health Unit provides vaccines for Hep B, HPV and Meningococcal. You can still ensure your Grade 7/8 student is vaccinated for these illnesses, as the Health Unit is offering appointment-based clinics at its offices (with full COVID-19 prevention measures in place). Book your child’s vaccination appointment by calling 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1507.
  • Dental Screening for students in schools has been postponed until further notice. If your child has a toothache or cavity AND you are unable to pay for dental treatment, the Healthy Smiles Ontario (HSO) program may be able to help pay for dental care costs. For help to enroll your child in the HSO program, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1247.
  • Vision Screening for SK students has been cancelled for the 2020/21 school year. It’s recommended you call an optometrist to book a FREE eye examination for your child. To find an optometrist in your area, visit the College of Optometrists of Ontario or call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1216.

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For Students

Check out these resources to help stay safe at school during the pandemic:

About COVID-19
Washing Hands
Fighting Germs
Wearing Masks
Mental Health Support

Holidays, Family Gatherings and Celebrations

IMPORTANT NOTE: As of Jan. 12, 2021, the Province has announced a second State of Emergency in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19. The Ontario government’s order means people must stay at home except for getting essentials and follow these restrictions and public health measures.

On This Page


Key Message: Stay Safe, Stay Home

While get-togethers with family and friends for special holidays or celebrations are not unusual, you are being asked to put these festivities on hold during the provincial State of Emergency. No matter where you live in Ontario, you must:

  • Avoid all unnecessary travel in and outside Ontario.
  • Avoid gatherings for holidays or special celebrations.
  • Only celebrate in-person with those in your immediate household. If you live alone, you can celebrate with one other household.
  • Celebrate virtually or connect by phone with other family and friends. Do not attend/organize big parties, large family dinners and similar-style festivities. These are not allowed under the province-wide COVID-19 shutdown.

General Tips for Holidays, Celebrations and Family Gatherings
  • Stay home if sick. Use Ontario’s online COVID-19 assessment tool to help determine if you need further care.
  • Avoid non-essential trips to any other part of Ontario.
  • Limit your contact to only those in your immediate household. If you live alone, you can celebrate with one other household.
  • Follow food safety tips if preparing a meal for your immediate household.
  • Do NOT visit visit loved ones whom you do not live. Instead, connect virtually with family and friends. Pick up the phone or chat via social media and/or video-conferencing. Consider using these platforms to hold a virtual holiday party/celebration. If technology is not your thing, send a card or write a letter to a loved one.
  • Look after your mental health and that of your loved ones, especially people who may be alone and feel cut off from others.
  • Avoid the “3 C’s” – closed spaces, crowded places and close faces. 
  • Practise physical distancing as much as possible. Keep a 2 metre (6-foot) distance from anyone who is outside your household.
  • Wear a mask or face covering inside public places. Ensure face coverings are tightly fitted to cover the nose, mouth and chin (scarves and bandanas are insufficient). NEW: Wearing a mask or face covering is now recommended outdoors when you can’t physically distance more than two metres from others outside your household. 
  • Shop online, by telephone or use curbside pickup/delivery. Support local businesses as much as possible. Please note that many businesses will be operating differently (or temporarily closed) due to Ontario’s State of Emergency.

COVID-19 Q&A

COVID-19 (or the novel coronavirus) is a new, but serious illness. Read these FAQs for additional information on how to stay safe. If you still have questions, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020, or email info@hkpr.on.ca.

IMPORTANT NOTE: As of Jan. 12, 2021, the Province has announced a second State of Emergency in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19. The Ontario government’s order means people must stay at home except for getting essentials and follow these restrictions and public health measures. For specific information and FAQs regarding the State of Emergency, click here.


Learn About COVID-19
If You Feel Sick
Protect Yourself From COVID-19
Stay Safe in Your Home
Stay Safe at Your Work
Stay Safe in Your Community
Mask Use in Commercial Establishments

How many COVID-19 cases are there locally?

Click here for the latest COVID-19 data in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes.


How does COVID-19 spread?

COVID-19 is spread mainly from person to person through close contact. This can occur if respiratory droplets and aerosols created when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, shouts, or talks are passed on to others. The droplets vary in size from large droplets that fall to the ground rapidly (within seconds or minutes) near the infected person, to smaller droplets, sometimes called aerosols, which linger in the air under some circumstances.  

Human coronaviruses cause infections of the nose, throat and lungs. They are most commonly spread from an infected person through:

  • respiratory droplets that are spread when you cough or sneeze
  • close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms of COVID-19 range from mild to severe. You may not know you have symptoms of COVID-19 because they are similar to a cold, flu or other conditions.

Call 9-1-1 if you are experiencing any of the following serious symptoms:

  • Severe difficulty breathing (struggling for each breath, can only speak in single words)
  • Severe chest pain (constant tightness or crushing sensation)
  • Feeling confused or unsure of where you are
  • Losing consciousness

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever (feeling hot to the touch, a temperature of 37.8 degrees Celsius or higher)
  • Chills
  • Cough that is new or worsening (continuous, more than usual)
  • Barking cough, making a whistling noise when breathing (croup)
  • Shortness of breath (out of breath, unable to breathe deeply)
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Runny, stuffy or congested nose (not related to seasonal allergies or other known causes or conditions)
  • Lost sense of taste or smell
  • Pink eye (conjunctivitis)
  • Headache that’s unusual or long lasting
  • Digestive issues (nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain)
  • Muscle aches
  • Extreme tiredness that is unusual (fatigue, lack of energy)
  • Falling down often
  • For young children and infants: sluggishness or lack of appetite.

In certain cases, complications from COVID-19 can include serious conditions: like pneumonia or kidney failure, and in some cases, death.

The majority of COVID-19 cases are mild and most people who get it will recover on their own.

If you start to feel unwell, you should go home and isolate. Use the Ministry of Health self-assessment tool to help determine if you need to seek further care or call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020. 


When it comes to COVID-19, what does ‘asymptomatic’ mean? And does it matter? 

Asymptomatic is a term to describe people who may have been exposed to, or have, COVID-19, but do not have any symptoms. 

Most often, COVID-19 is spread by people with symptoms. However, the virus can also be spread by individuals who have COVID-19 but are asymptomatic. Because they do not show any obvious signs of the virus, these individuals may be unaware they have COVID-19 and can infect others without knowing it.  

To prevent COVID-19, be sure to practise physical distancingregularly wash hands with soap and water, follow respiratory etiquette, and do proper cleaning and disinfecting of common surfaces

If you’ve been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or you begin to feel unwell, isolate immediately and use Ontario’s COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to see what additional care you need. 


What is the risk of getting sick and who is most vulnerable?

COVID-19 is a serious health threat. Given the surge in the number of cases locally and in Canada, the risk is high and it’s essential to take steps to slow the spread. You can be exposed to COVID-19 anywhere and in any place. During the province-wide COVID-19 shutdown, you are strongly urged to stay home, only going out for essentials like groceries and medical matters.

Generally anyone can be at risk of COVID-19, but in particular, older adults and people with compromised immune systems seem to be more vulnerable to the virus. They should take additional precautions.


Will the flu shot protect me from COVID-19?

No, the viruses are very different and distinct. The annual flu shot will not provide any protection against COVID-19 (though it is highly recommended to get an annual flu shot to prevent influenza, a serious infectious disease in its own right).


How long does the COVID-19 virus live on surfaces?

According to the World Health Organization, it’s uncertain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies suggest coronaviruses can live on surfaces from a few hours up to several days. Often, it’s based on conditions like type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment.

Current evidence shows the main way COVID-19 spreads is through person-to-person direct contact.

If you think a surface may be infected with the COVID-19 virus, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.


Due to COVID-19, is it safe to eat unpackaged fruit and vegetables? If so, how do I safely wash and eat these foods?

The rules for washing unpackaged fruit and vegetables are the same, even with COVID-19. That means, washing hands with soap and water before handling any food, then thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables under cold running water. To be extra careful, consider washing your hands with soap and water after you handle/wash unpackaged fruit and vegetables too.


What should I do if I get sick, or think I have symptoms of COVID-19, or been in contact with someone who does?

Anyone who begins to feel unwell with COVID-19 symptoms MUST go home and isolate immediately.  You should also use the Ministry of Health self-assessment tool to determine what further care you may need.


How do I isolate?

Read Response Here.


I have been in contact with someone (friend, relative, co-worker etc.) who was in contact with a COVID-19 case, but I have not had any direct contact with the positive case myself. Am I at risk of getting COVID-19? Should I self-isolate or get tested for the virus?

COVID-19 is mainly spread by direct person-to-person contact.  If you have not had direct or close contact with the person who tested positive for COVID -19, you do not need to isolate, but it is important to always monitor yourself for symptoms.  If you detect any symptoms, immediately isolate and call the Health Unit for further direction at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020.

If you had direct or close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19, you should immediately isolate (or quarantine) and follow further directions from public health staff including whether to get tested for COVID-19.

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Can I access COVID-19 assessment centres? Where are they located in the area?

Read Response Here.


What can I do if I’ve completed my period of isolation without showing symptoms?

Read Response Here.


I’ve been tested for COVID-19, so where can I get results?

You can go online to the Ontario government website to quickly access your test results. You’ll need to provide your health card number, name, date of birth and postal code to confirm your identity. If you’re experiencing problems with the online portal or do not have Internet access, contact the Assessment Centre where you got tested for further direction.


How can I protect myself?

Follow these steps to protect yourself and prevent the spread of COVID-19. These measures have extra meaning given the surge in COVID-19 cases locally and across Ontario (and the resulting provincial State of Emergency): 

  • Everyone should stay home unless there is an essential reason to go out. Going out for reasonable exercise is allowed.
  • Limit trips outside your home to only getting essentials such as food and medication, going out for medical appointments, or supporting vulnerable community members.
  • If going out, continue to follow important public health measures such as staying 2 metres apart from others and wearing masks/face coverings (ensure face coverings are tightly fitted to cover the nose, mouth and chin; scarves and bandanas are insufficient)
  • No indoor gatherings are allowed, except with members of your own household (people you live with)
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you have just washed your hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands. 
  • If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve or arm. 
  • Practise physical distancing by avoiding close contact with others outside your household. This means keeping a minimum distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from others. 
  • When going out in the community, keep COVID-19 precautions in mind at all times.
  • Avoid any travel within or outside Ontario.
  • Wear a non-medical mask or face covering inside public places, as directed by the Health Unit. 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.
  • NEW: Wearing a mask or face covering is now also recommended outdoors when you can’t physically distance more than two metres.
  • Stay home if you or a family member are ill. This is essential to prevent the spread of illness. This poster can give you additional information on how to help your family stay healthy.
  • If you are an older adult or someone with a compromised immune system, you may be more susceptible to COVID-19. Take extra precautions to protect yourself from the virus.
  • If you are ill and must visit a hospital emergency department, clinic or healthcare provider, call ahead or tell them right away when you arrive that you have a respiratory illness and wear a mask while waiting to be seen. 
  • If visiting people in hospitals or long-term care homes, check first with the facility to see what guidelines are in place. Be sure to follow instructions as directed.
  • Do not gather with anyone outside your immediate household. Large gatherings of people can spread COVID-19, so they are not currently allowed.
  • Watch these video resources on how your organization/workplace can prepare for COVID-19. These print resources may also be useful.
  • Be prepared by planning ahead, but do so within reason and recognizing that everyone is in this together.
  • Get the COVID-19 vaccine when one is available in your community.

Is there a vaccine available for COVID-19?

Health Canada has approved COVID-19 vaccines for use in Canada, saying they meet its strict safety and quality requirements. Click here for more details on COVID-19 vaccines, including when doses may be available in this area.

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What if I have just returned to Canada after travelling outside the country?

Read Response Here.


What is the best way to wash my hands?

Washing your hands properly and regularly can remove the germs that make us sick. We need to wash our hands many times through the day: before eating meals/snacks, before and after preparing food, after going to the washroom, after touching an animal, and after handling garbage. Wash your hands with clean, running water and soap. If soap and water is not available, or our hands aren’t visibly dirty, you can use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.


What is physical distancing?

Read Response Here. 


Should I wear a non-medical mask or face covering?

Masks or face coverings must now be worn inside all public places in Ontario, including businesses, facilities and workplaces, with limited exemptions for settings like corrections and developmental services.

Face coverings will not protect you from getting COVID-19. However when worn properly, non-medical masks can help to cover your mouth and nose to prevent your respiratory droplets from contaminating other people or landing on common surfaces.

When wearing a cloth mask/face covering, follow this Public Health Ontario fact sheet on how to properly wear and throw away masks. You can also watch this Health Unit video for further guidance on properly using/wearing cloth masks.

Be sure to save medical masks (like surgical and N-95 varieties) for health care providers and those providing direct care to someone with COVID-19.


Should I wear rubber gloves outdoors to reduce my risk of COVID-19?

Wearing rubber gloves out in public does NOT reduce your risk of COVID-19. Regular handwashing with soap/water and not touching your face offer more protection. Even if you wear gloves, you can still pick up COVID-19 if you touch your face with the dirty gloves, and this could then spread the contamination and infect you.

The fact is people don’t need to wear gloves unless they are providing direct care to someone infected with COVID-19.


How should I throw out disposable gloves, given the current COVID-19 situation?

Safely disposing of used gloves anytime is important to reduce the risk of illness, so casually tossing them aside when you’re done with them is not advised. When removing the gloves, it’s essential to avoid contamination of your hands and arms and clothing (etc.). Public Health Ontario offers a five-step process for safely taking off gloves  and encourages you to properly wash your hands afterwards.

Used gloves should be disposed of in a proper garbage can for safe disposal. Never stuff used gloves into your pocket or purse. Gloves should NEVER be re-used.


How can I cope with fears of COVID-19?

COVID-19 is affecting people in many ways. Taking care of yourself – and your mental health – is even more important now, so click here for resources.


Should I use public transit given the current COVID-19 situation?

During the province-wide State of Emergency, you must stay home and only go out for essentials like groceries or medical matters. If you are sick, do not ride public transit. Instead isolate at home, do not go out, and use the Ontario government’s COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to see what further care you may need.

If you need to out and are using public transit to get to your destination, consider these tips:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly after using any kind of public transportation.
  • Practise physical distancing. Aim to ride transit during off-peak hours to avoid crowds; avoid close contact with other passengers; and maintain a 2-metre distance apart.
  • Wear a non-medical mask or face covering.
  • If you use a taxi or rideshare service, sit in the back and open a window for air circulation.

Please remember that public transit agencies have implemented enhanced cleaning measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.


Is it safe to open mail and other packages?

There is no known risk of COVID-19 entering Canada on parcels or packages coming from other parts of the world.


What if I’m attending, or my group is organizing, an event/meeting with a large gathering of people?

Read Response Here. 


What is physical distancing at work?

Read Response Here.


What are my rights as a worker during COVID-19?

Read Response Here.


What supports/resources are available to help workplaces fight COVID-19?

Watch these video resources on how your organization/workplace can prepare for COVID-19. These print resources may also be useful.


What are the different COVID-19 colour restriction zones, and in which level is this area?

During the Province-wide State of Emergency and shutdown, Ontario’s colour-coded COVID-19 Response Framework is on pause. The Framework places different parts of the province into assigned categories for COVID-19 restrictions. These public health measures can be adjusted, tightened or loosened based on local COVID-19 trends and case counts. The HKPR District Health Unit region (including Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes) had been in the Yellow-Protect zone, but those measures are superseded by the stronger shutdown restrictions.

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COVID-19

Access local COVID-19 data, and information to reduce your risk of COVID-19.

Scroll down this page for resources and links on how to stay safe and protect yourself and others from COVID-19. If you need further help or guidance, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020, or email info@hkpr.on.ca.


Self-Isolation During COVID-19 – Class Order Under Section 22 (5.01.1) of the Health Protection and Promotion Act 

Community Updates

Cases of COVID-19 within the HKPR District area

Click here for the latest COVID-19 case counts in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes.


Additional COVID-19 Data Links
Resources

Featured Items

COVID-19 Content

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