Dear community members,
Quinte Health Care (QHC), Hastings Prince Edward Public Health and Hastings-Quinte Paramedic Services are seeking the community’s assistance in protecting the most vulnerable among us, and our local health care system through what is a very challenging fourth wave of the pandemic.
While the earlier waves of COVID-19 ravaged larger cities and communities in Ontario, the fourth wave of the pandemic is remarkably different in its disproportionate and concerning impact on smaller and rural communities. From Timiskaming to Chatham, smaller communities are seeing rapidly rising COVID-19 cases. At present, Hastings Prince Edward (HPE) counties’ COVID-19 rate is more than double that of Toronto, there are 25 active outbreaks in our community and our numbers continue to dramatically rise, with 203 active cases.
While vaccinations play a remarkable role in protecting most of our citizens from severe illness, any continued community spread will inevitably lead to an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations at a time when our hospitals are caring for an unprecedented number of patients. Continued community spread will make the already challenging health human resource situation worse and will increase the likelihood of COVID-19 outbreaks in the hospital. Our regional hospital partners to the East are experiencing similar increases in community prevalence, creating an extreme burden for the broader regional health system.
We need your support and assistance to help slow down the spread of COVID-19 in our communities in order to protect our most vulnerable citizens as well as to ease the burden on, and ensure continued access to, your local and regional health care systems.
We urge you to:
- Get fully vaccinated when you are eligible to help protect those most vulnerable and keep your neighbours, friends, and family members out of the hospital.
- Get your third dose/booster dose as soon as you are eligible.
- Screen for symptoms of COVID-19 daily.
- Stay home, isolate, and make an appointment to get tested if you have any symptoms, even mild symptoms.
- Recommit to evidence-based public health measures: stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with; wear a mask in indoor spaces; limit close contacts by keeping gatherings small, and keeping contacts consistent.
- Support your local health care heroes as they care and support our community through the fourth wave.
Health care workers have been pushed to their limits throughout this pandemic and we are immensely proud of their collective strength, resilience and compassion as they provide care for those living in our communities. However, they cannot carry this burden alone - we all have a role to play in bringing the COVID-19 numbers down in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties. The continued support and actions of our communities has been, and will continue to be, of vital importance to our teams as we face these challenging times together.
President and CEO
Quinte Health Care
Dr. Colin MacPherson
Chief of Staff
Quinte Health Care
Dr. Ethan Toumishey
Medical Officer of Health
Hastings and Prince Edward
Hastings-Quinte Paramedic Services