Medical Officer of Health Strongly Recommends Masking Indoors to Protect Children

Medical Officer of Health Strongly Recommends Masking Indoors to Protect Children
Deemed a ‘triple threat’ COVID-19, RSV and influenza are actively circulating in all communities.

PORT HOPE, ON (November 15, 2022) – The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit’s (HKPR District Health Unit) Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Natalie Bocking, is strongly recommending that residents within the City of Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton County and Northumberland County wear masks at indoor public settings, including schools and childcare centres, in an effort to combat COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

“The focus has shifted from COVID-19 to the earlier than normal rise of RSV and influenza, where we are seeing higher numbers of seriously ill children than had been expected,” said Dr. Natalie Bocking, Medical Officer of Health and CEO for the HKPR District Health Unit. “Therefore, I support and strongly recommend wearing your mask at indoor public settings, including schools and childcare centres. It’s our children, the very young and vulnerable, that require our collective action right now.”

As announced by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore during a press conference yesterday, COVID-19, influenza, and RSV are actively circulating across all communities within Ontario. All three respiratory illnesses are contributing to pediatric hospitals across Ontario dealing with an unprecedented surge of sick children in recent weeks. The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto announced on Friday that it would be ramping down surgeries to redeploy staff to those areas.

The majority of those currently affected by RSV and influenza are children aged four and under who are not able to mask properly. By wearing a mask at indoor public settings, as well as schools and childcare centres, and if/when respiratory symptoms are noted, we can protect the most vulnerable in our community during this challenging respiratory virus season.

Children under five years of age are most susceptible to respiratory viruses, and by decreasing spread of viruses among the adult population, we decrease the exposure to young children. To help lessen the surging demand on our pediatric healthcare system, the HKPR District Health Unit strongly recommends the following preventative measures:

  • Wear a mask at indoor public settings, social settings and in schools and childcare centres
  • Children aged two to five years old should also wear a mask when supervised and if they can tolerate it
  • Staying up to date on vaccinations, including getting your flu shot as soon as possible
  • Screening for respiratory symptoms daily
  • Practice good hand hygiene and regularly clean high touch surfaces, which is especially important for RSV and flu viruses
  • Stay home if you are sick

“Vaccination against influenza remains especially important during this respiratory season,” says Dr. Natalie Bocking, Medical Officer of Health, and CEO for the HKPR District Health Unit. “Children six months of age and older, pregnant individuals, families and caregivers with young children, healthcare workers and elderly, and those with underlying health conditions should get their flu shot as soon as possible.”

Locally, there are many ways to get the flu vaccine:

  • Dozens of pharmacies in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes can provide flu vaccine to anyone two years of age and older. High-dose flu vaccines for people 65 years of age and older are also available at pharmacies. A complete list of local pharmacy locations providing flu vaccines is available at www.hkpr.on.ca.
  • Contact your primary care provider to see about getting the flu vaccine. Children six months to two years old can only get their flu shot from a doctor, nurse practitioner or local public health unit.

The HKPR District Health Unit is providing immunization clinics for children under the age of five years who do not have a family doctor. Clinics are by appointment only. To schedule a time, call the HKPR District Health Unit at 1.866.888.4577, ext. 1507.

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For media inquiries contact:

Ashley Beaulac, Manager of Communications, HKPR District Health Unit, 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1212, abeaulac@hkpr.on.ca,

HKPR District Health Unit Announces Members of the 2022-2026 Board of Health

HKPR District Health Unit Announces Members of the 2022-2026 Board of Health
New members bring wealth of experience to the Board of Health.

PORT HOPE, ON (January 19, 2022) –

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge, District Health Unit (HKPR District Health Unit) has announced new members to the HKPR District Health Unit’s Board of Health effective immediately, with David Marshall being appointed Chairperson and Olena Hankivisky appointed Vice-chair for the Board of Health.

The Board of Health consists of elected officials from the funding municipalities (The City of Kawartha Lakes, County of Haliburton, and Northumberland County) and provincial appointees. HKPR District Health Unit welcomes new and returning members to comprise the 2022-2026 Board of Health, including:

  • David Marshall, Chairperson – Provincial Appointee
  • Olena Hankivsky, Vice-chair – Northumberland County
  • Bob Crate – Northumberland County (returning)
  • Tracy Richardson – City of Kawartha Lakes (returning)
  • John Logel – Northumberland County
  • Mike Perry – City of Kawartha Lakes
  • TBD – County of Haliburton

The Board of Health ensures that HKPR District Health Unit’s strategic, business and operational plans, policies and activities are consistent with the Ministry of Health’s policy directions as communicated by the Minister of Health. On behalf of the Board of Health, the Medical Officer of Health manages the delivery of public health programs and services in agreement with the mission, vision and values of the HKPR District Health Unit.

“Strengthening partnerships with local community agencies and municipalities will be a focus for the Board of Health this term,” says David Marshall, Chairperson for the HKPR District Health Unit. “We will work together to increase the awareness of the role of public health and the programs and services provided within the HKPR district areas, so we can work together to improve the health of our communities.”

Mr. Marshall was originally appointed to the Board of Health for the HKPR District Health Unit in 2021 by the Lieutenant Governor through a recommendation by the Minister of Health when he applied to the Public Appointments Secretariat. He served as the Interim Chairperson from September 2022 until January 2023 and was officially appointed Chairperson by the new Board of Health members at their first meeting on January 19, 2023.

“With the support and leadership of our Board of Health, we remain committed to addressing health inequities focusing on client-centred approach to program and service accessibility.” says Dr. Natalie Bocking, Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer for the HKPR District Health Unit. “We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively and efficiently to serve the health priorities of our communities.”

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Media Contacts:

Ashley Beaulac, Manager of Communication Services, HKPR District Health Unit, 1-866-888-4577 ext. 1212, abeaulac@hkpr.on.ca or Maddie Forestell, Communications Officer, HKPR District Health Unit, 1-866-888-4577 ext. 1245, mforestell@hkpr.on.ca

Opioid Overdose Alert Issued for City of Kawartha Lakes, County of Haliburton, and Northumberland County

Opioid Overdose Alert Issued for City of Kawartha Lakes, County of Haliburton, and Northumberland County
HKPR District Health Unit seeing an increase in overdoses over the past 30 days

PORT HOPE, ON (January 9, 2022) – An opioid overdose alert is being issued for the City of Kawartha Lakes, County of Haliburton and Northumberland County after a noticeable increase in overdoses over the past 30 days, warns the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPR District Health Unit).

“The recent increase in overdoses is troubling, so we’re issuing the alert to inform the community to take precautions,” says Leslie McLaughlin, the Substances and Harm Reduction Coordinator with the HKPR District Health Unit. “Contributing factors for these local overdoses may include people using alone or a potentially contaminated or poisoned drug supply that is leading to more severe overdose reactions.”

The HKPR District Health Unit reminds anyone who uses drugs (or those who know someone who does) to follow these safety tips:

  • Test a small amount of drug before you use.
  • Never use alone. If you are alone, call the National Overdose Response Service (NORS) virtual safe consumption at 1-888-668-NORS (6677), or use a buddy system and call a friend.
  • Call 9-1-1 in the event of an overdose.
  • Avoid mixing your drugs.
  • Keep a naloxone kit on hand. You can get a naloxone kit at most pharmacies and needle exchange sites.

The HKPR District Health Unit’s opioid overdose alert automatically flags increases in overdoses for community partners and first responders, which triggers enhanced outreach efforts and distribution of naloxone kits. Naloxone is an emergency medicine that temporarily reverses the effects of an opioid overdose until the victim can get to hospital for treatment. Naloxone is recommended to be used in all suspected drug overdoses, due to the possibility of opioid contamination or poisoning.

Naloxone kits are also available for people who use opioids, as well as their family and friends. These can be picked up at Health Unit offices, local pharmacies, and other locations. Where to get a free naloxone kit | Ontario.ca

Anyone who sees a person overdosing is also urged to intervene. Call 9-1-1 and give the person naloxone. The Good Samaritan Act protects anyone trying to help in an emergency from possible legal repercussions. The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act also protects people on the scene of an overdose from being charged for possessing or using drugs. Signs of an overdose include very large or very small pupils, slow or no breathing, cold and clammy skin, blue or purple fingernails or lips, and snoring or gurgling sounds. Often in drug overdoses, it is also difficult to wake up the person.

For local opioid overdose incidents, visit the HKPR District Health Unit’s Opioid Overdose Report dashboard. People can also use the online submission form to anonymously report overdoses and drug-related information to assist in a quicker response to these incidents.

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Media Contacts:

Ashley Beaulac, Manager of Communication Services, HKPR District Health Unit, 1-866-888-4577 ext. 1212, abeaulac@hkpr.on.ca or Amanda Bray, Communications Officer, HKPR District Health Unit, 1-866-888-4577 ext. 1266, abray@hkpr.on.ca

 HKPR District Health Unit Launches Tobacco Enforcement Campaign 

 HKPR District Health Unit Launches Tobacco Enforcement Campaign 
 HKPR District Health Unit Launches Tobacco Enforcement Campaign 

Port Hope, ON (December 14, 2022) – The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPR District Health Unit) is launching a Tobacco Enforcement Campaign, in collaboration with public health units across Central East Ontario, beginning January 2023 to ensure compliance with the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 (SFOA).

The HKPR District Health Unit’s Tobacco Control Officers are designated as Provincial Offence Officers by the Province of Ontario with authority to enforce the SFOA and ensure that all local businesses, public places, schools and workplaces are following the SFOA requirements. This includes inspecting to ensure proper signage is posted, tobacco and vapour product retailers follow advertising regulations and youth are restricted from purchasing tobacco or vapour products.

“We have experienced a significant increase in non-compliance of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act amongst tobacco and vapour product retailers,” says Richard Ovcharovich, Manager of Health Protection with the HKPR District Health Unit. “There has been an alarming increase in youth accessing and purchasing age-restricted products, along with illegal products and vapour flavours becoming more available. Throughout our Tobacco Enforcement Campaign, our goal is to eliminate youth access to vapour and commercial tobacco products so we can continue to protect the health of youth and achieve compliance with the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.”

As part of the Tobacco Enforcement Campaign, the HKPR District Health Unit is advising all tobacco and vapour product retailers that starting in January, Tobacco Control Officers will be conducting compliance inspections to ensure the requirements under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 are being followed, including:

  • Staff are trained on the legal age for sale of vapour and tobacco products.
  • Retailers are not selling illegally flavoured or improperly packaged products.
  • Retailers are compliant with indoor and outdoor advertising restrictions.
  • Retailers are not selling improperly packaged vapour or tobacco products

If retailers are found non-compliant under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 during the inspection, the HKPR District Health Unit may proceed with enforcement measures. For more information or to file a complaint related to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, please call the HKPR District Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577 to speak with a Tobacco Control Officer or email info@hkpr.on.ca.

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For media inquiries, contact:

Ashley Beaulac, Manager of Communication Services, HKPR District Health Unit, 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1212, abeaulac@hkpr.on.ca,

or Maddie Forestell, Communications Officer, HKPR District Health Unit, 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1245, mforestell@hkpr.on.ca

New Needle Disposal Bins in Haliburton County, City of Kawartha Lakes, and Northumberland County

New Needle Disposal Bins in Haliburton County, City of Kawartha Lakes, and
Northumberland County
Needle Disposal Bins are an essential tool in reducing accidental contact with used needles.
Left to Right – Katlin Archibald, Harm Reduction Outreach Worker PARN; Andrea Mueller, Manager of Programs & Events, Municipality of Dysart; Kate Hall, Health Promoter HKPR; and Chris Stephenson, Library CEO

Port Hope, ON (November 28, 2022)

Image: Left to Right – Katlin Archibald, Harm Reduction Outreach Worker PARN; Andrea Mueller, Manager of Programs & Events, Municipality of Dysart; Kate Hall, Health Promoter HKPR; and Chris Stephenson, Library CEO

The Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPR District Health Unit) partnered with Peterborough Aids Resource Network (PARN), John Howard Society, Greenwood Coalition, the Town of Cobourg, the Municipality of Dysart et al, the City of Kawartha Lakes, Community Living Campbellford/Brighton, and the Haliburton County Library System in choosing several new 24-hour Needle Disposal Bin locations.

“When needle disposal bins are located in convenient and accessible locations, there will be fewer needles found in parks and public spaces making it safer for everyone,” said Katlin Archibald, Harm Reduction Outreach Worker with PARN. “This, in turn, reduces the risk of transmission of infections to community members through contact with
needles.”

Needle Disposal Bins are part of the Needle Exchange Program which provide the necessary equipment to help prevent the spread of bloodborne infections such as HIV and Hepatitis C. “We implemented a Needle Exchange Program in 2008 and since then have worked with community partners such as PARN and John Howard Society to ensure safe access to a variety of harm reduction programs within the communities we serve,” said Leslie McLaughlin, Healthy Communities, Public Health Nurse, HKPR District Health Unit.

New 24-hour Needle Disposal Bin locations:

City of Kawartha Lakes

  • HKPR District Health Unit Office, 108 Angeline St South, Lindsay (by front entrance)
  • 2nd location coming soon!

Haliburton County

  • Head Lake Park 78 Maple Avenue, Haliburton (behind the Dysart Library branch)
  • Municipal parking lot by the Drag River Trail, 80 Maple Avenue, Haliburton (across from the library in Haliburton Village)

Northumberland County

  • Rotary Harbourfront Park washrooms/bus shelter building at 35 Albert Street, Cobourg (south side facing parking lot)
  • Community Living Campbellford Brighton, 65 Bridge St East, Campbellford (back door of building facing parking lot)
  • HKPR District Health Unit Office, 200 Rose Glen Road North, Port Hope (by back entrance)

Stigma impacts care, treatment, and recovery from substance use disorder. People living with substance use say the stigma they face is often worse than the illness itself. “Public librarians across Canada often seek guidance and training to reduce stigma and the potential for harm in our community spaces, and Haliburton County Public Library is no exception,” says Chris Stephenson, Library CAO. “Our staff recently participated in anti-stigma training around drug use provided by John Howard Society as well as optional training on administering Naloxone, a medication that is used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.”

HKPR District Health Unit wants to remind the public what to do if they find a needle:

  • Never put a container with needles into the garbage or recycling bin.
  • Look up where you can dispose of needles in your community: Find Supplies – Ontario Harm Reduction Distribution Program (ohrdp.ca)
  • Call mobile outreach at PARN for information about safe needle clean up or to arrange needle pick-up and disposal – personal bio bins are also available 705-559-3904.

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Media Contacts:
Ashley Beaulac, Manager of Communication Services, HKPR District Health Unit, 1-866-888-4577 ext. 1212, abeaulac@hkpr.on.ca or Amanda Bray, Communications Officer, HKPR District Health Unit, 1-866-888-4577 ext. 1266, abray@hkpr.on.ca

HKPR District Health Unit Resumes Enforcement of School Immunizations

HKPR District Health Unit Resumes Enforcement of School Immunizations
Parents/guardians are responsible for ensuring their child’s immunization records are up to date

Port Hope, ON (December 1, 2022) –  The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPR District Health Unit) is resuming its enforcement of the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA), after postponing enforcement in March 2020 due to its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The HKPR District Health Unit is required under the ISPA to collect and maintain up-to-date immunization records and valid exemptions for all children attending school in the region. All students between the ages of 4 to 17 must be vaccinated according to Ontario’s Immunization Schedule, which includes vaccinations against diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis (whooping cough), varicella (chickenpox) and meningococcal disease.

“We appreciate and thank those parents who have already taken steps to update their child’s immunization records or ensured a valid exemption is on file with the Health Unit,” says Marianne Rock, Manager of Health Protection with the HKPR District Health Unit. “We are here to support families by ensuring children receive the required vaccinations and immunization records are kept up to date to ensure the schools remain a safe space for all children.”

How to Ensure Your Child’s Immunization Records are Updated
Parents and/or guardians need to ensure their child’s immunization records are up to date by:

  1. CHECK: Check your child’s immunization record for any missing vaccines.
    Go to the Immunization Connect Ontario (ICON) web site
  2. VACCINATE: Ensure your child receives any missing vaccinations.
    Contact your health care provider or the Health Unit to get any missing vaccines or a valid exemption.
  3. UPDATE: Update your child’s immunization record with the Health Unit.
    It is the responsibility of parents and/or guardians to provide proof of immunization or a valid exemption to the Health Unit by one of the following methods:
    • Phone 1-866-888-4577 x 1507
    • Fax 905-885-5352

The HKPR District Health Unit will be issuing first notices in January 2023 to parents and/or guardians of students who do not meet the ISPA requirements and second notices in March 2023. For more information, parents can call the HKPR District Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577 x 1507, email immunization@hkpr.on.ca or visit hkpr.on.ca.

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Media Contacts:

Ashley Beaulac, Manager of Communication Services, HKPR District Health Unit, 1-866-888-4577 ext. 1212, abeaulac@hkpr.on.ca or Maddie Forestell, Communications Officer, HKPR District Health Unit, 1-866-888-4577 ext. 1245, mforestell@hkpr.on.ca  

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