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The other pandemic: Opioid deaths surge during age of COVID

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Numerous suspected overdoses prompts alert from health unit and police

August 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD), a global event that aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death.

The numbers are staggering whether measured nationally, provincially, or locally. Between January 2016 and December 2019 there were 15,393 apparent opioid-related deaths in Canada. In 2019 there were 1,509 opioid-related deaths in Ontario.

In our local health unit region there were 22 opioid-related deaths in 2019. As of August 14, 2020, there have been 88 suspected drug overdoses in the area served by the Kawartha Lakes Police Service (KLPS) compared to 93 for all of 2019.

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Health unit updates mask use instructions as more places open

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With more businesses and services opening July 17 under Ontario’s Stage 3 reopening plan, the local health unit is updating its directives on non-medical mask use in indoor public places.

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Wear a mask when you dine at restaurants, says health unit

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Mask-wearing rule and eating in at restaurants will both be possible, says health unit

As Kawartha Lakes gets set to open its restaurants for indoor dining again, many are wondering how that option co-exists with the rule about wearing a mask in public places.

As it turns out, you’ll be expected to do both, according to Bill Eekhoff, communications officer at the local health unit.

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Health unit further clarifies mandatory mask announcement

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The local Health Unit is clarifying its instructions about mandatory mask wearing in commercial premises — a policy that takes effect July 13. Commercial establishments are premises that are openly accessible to members of the public and used for the purposes of offering goods or services for sale.

An establishment would include a mall or other structure containing commercial premises, including: retail stores, convenience stores, restaurants, personal services settings, grocery stores and bakeries, gas stations, indoor farmers’ markets, areas of mechanics’ shops/garages/repair shops which are open to the public.

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Eleven unresolved community cases of COVID-19 in city

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There are 11 unresolved COVID-19 cases in Kawartha Lakes, according to the local health unit, all of whom are self-isolating in their homes.

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit data shows 171 confirmed cases total for Kawartha Lakes, minus the 141 cases considered ‘resolved.’ There are also 19 COVID-19-related deaths tied to confirmed cases in the community.

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Fenelon Court involved in outbreak; Pinecrest has ‘suspect outbreak’

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The local public health unit says that an outbreak has been declared at the Fenelon Court Long Term Care Home in Fenelon Falls — and there’s a “suspect outbreak” at Bobcaygeon’s Pinecrest Nursing Home.

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Kawartha Lakes gets ready for Friday reopening of more services

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Today, the Ontario government announced a long list of health units — including the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit — that will be allowing for a stage two reopening.

The regional approach means they will be easing restrictions in communities where it is safe to do so, based on trends of key public health indicators such as lower rates of transmission, increased capacity in hospitals, and progress made in testing.

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Outbreak at Ross declared over

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Asymptomatic testing coming to area schools

The COVID-19 outbreak on Ross Memorial Hospital’s Continuing Care Program (CCP1) unit has been declared ‘over’ as of May 7.

The hospital worked with Public Health to complete contact tracing and testing, and the outbreak remains limited to 1 patient and 1 staff member. “Our team quickly identified and contained the spread of COVID-19 on the unit, maintaining the safety of our patients and staff,” says Kelly Isfan, president and CEO.  

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Yard sales strongly discouraged by health unit

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If you’re in the middle of spring cleaning, avoid organizing a garage sale or yard sale until further notice. 

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit strongly discourages local residents from organizing or holding garage and yard sales during COVID-19. Having these types of sales can increase people’s exposure to COVID-19 and lead to the spread of the virus in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes.  Keep Reading

Assembling the puzzle of public health to keep community safe

in Health/Opinion by
Assembling the puzzle of public health to keep community safe

Kristina Nairn, public health nurse, HKPR District Health Unit

Phones are an essential tool in the fight against COVID-19. For weeks now, health unit nurses and other staff have worked the phones on days, evenings and weekends. Initially, it was answering hundreds of your questions/concerns. Recently, our focus has shifted to doing follow-ups and regular check-ins with people and places affected by the coronavirus.

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