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COVID-19 (2019 Novel Coronavirus)

For the latest provincial information on COVID-19, including vaccine booking options and how to obtain your vaccine certificate, NHH recommends Ontario’s dedicated COVID website: ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus . For local updates on the number of confirmed cases in Northumberland County and the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit area, and other local services related to COVID-19, please see the Health Unit website: hkpr.on.ca

Additional Information for NHH Patients, Families and Visitors

[Updated July 29, 2022, 1:00 PM – this information is subject to change.]

As the global pandemic continues to evolve, hospitals, paramedics, primary care providers, public health units and other partners are working together to ensure safe practices to minimize and manage the risk of COVID-19 in our communities. Locally, the HKPR District Health Unit reports COVID-19 data on their website here, including data from area wastewater sampling. In addition to recommending the provincial information and related links on Ontario’s COVID website, NHH continues to update COVID-19 News and Frequently Asked Questions sections to further support local information sharing.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Ministry of Health COVID-19 Reference Document for Symptoms is updated regularly. It includes the latest listing of typical and atypical symptoms of COVID-19, which include:

  • fever and/or chills; OR
  • cough; OR
  • shortness of breath; OR
  • decrease or loss of taste or smell; OR
  • two or more of any of the following:
    • runny nose/nasal congestion
    • headache
    • extreme fatigue
    • sore throat
    • muscle aches or joint pain
    • gastrointestinal symptoms (i.e. vomiting or diarrhea)

For the most recent list of symptoms, please refer to the latest version of the Reference Document on the Ministry of Health COVID website here.

Ontario continues to update its COVID-19 testing guidelines, to ensure publicly funded testing and case and contact management resources are focused on the highest-risk settings and highest risk individuals to protect the most vulnerable and to help keep critical services running.

Use this online self-assessment tool to help determine if you need to seek further care. Find updated isolation guidelines here. If your symptoms become severe, please seek medical attention immediately or call 9-1-1. If you are unsure, and require assessment, see the NHH COVID-19 Clinical Assessment Centre info, below.

Treatment options are now available to higher risk individuals with mild to moderate COVID-19. Time is of the essence because the treatments work best when given early. Use Ontario's antiviral screener tool to help determine if you should be assessed for treatment.

Paxlovid is given to people who are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19.

Your risk of serious illness is determined based on a combination of your health, age, and vaccination status, based on an assessment from a health care provider. You might be at higher risk if you are:

  • immunocompromised (have an immune system that is weakened by a health condition or medications);
  • 70 years of age and older;
  • 60 years of age and older with less than three vaccine doses;
  • 18 years of age or older with less than three vaccine doses AND at least one risk condition.

Risk conditions include:

  • diabetes
  • obesity
  • heart disease
  • hypertension
  • congestive heart failure
  • chronic lung disease (including cystic fibrosis)
  • moderate or severe kidney disease
  • intellectual or developmental disability
  • cerebral palsy
  • sickle cell disease
  • moderate or sever liver disease
  • pregnancy

Your primary care provider or another health care provider can tell you if you are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19.

If any of the above descriptions apply to you, and you develop mild symptoms of COVID-19, or cold or flu symptoms, it is important that you seek testing as soon as possible. You will need a positive COVID-19 test to take Paxlovid (PCR, rapid molecular test, or rapid antigen test). However, you do not need to have a positive test before reaching out for advice. A health care professional will help you get a test if you need one. Speak to your health care provider or call the NHH COVID-19 Clinical Assessment Centre or other COVID-19 assessment and testing services for advice. You can also call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-000 if you have questions or need assistance.

Those eligible for COVID-19 testing will find details on area options below.

Paxlovid is an antiviral medication that is taken orally (as pills) over five days. It is a combination of two medications (nirmatrelvir and ritonavir) that work together. Nirmatrelvir prevents the COVID-19 virus from replicating. Ritonavir helps keep nirmatrelvir from being broken down too quickly so that it can work longer.

In a clinical trial, Paxlovid reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% in people at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19.

Paxlovid can interfere with other commonly used medications. A health care provider, often with a pharmacists, might make changes to your other medications so that you can safely take Paxlovid.

Your health care provider might prescribe a different antiviral treatment if you cannot take Paxlovid.

Note: treatments are NOT substitutes for vaccines. The best defence agains serious COVID-19 disease is to get vaccinated.

The latest information about COVID-19 vaccines is available on the province's COVID-19 webpage, covid-19.ontario.ca. Vaccines are widely available from a range of sources, including mass vaccination clinics, primary care providers, pharmacies and mobile/pop-up clinics. Following Health Canada’s approval of the paediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, children aged five to 11 are now eligible. Most recently, Ontario expanded eligibility for fourth-dose booster vaccines to include individuals 18 and over.

Provincial booking system

Booking may be done online through the provincial COVID-19 booking system at www.ontario.ca/bookvaccine or by phone through the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900. For a complete listing of the local vaccination options operated by the HKPRDHU please see the Vaccination Clinics section of their website here: www.hkpr.on.ca/2021/03/12/vaccination-clinics/

Pharmacies

Eligible Ontarians can also register to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at a participating pharmacy. Some pharmacies are accepting walk-ins, others require an appointment. Hours of availability and services vary by pharmacy. For a current list of all participating pharmacies, visit https://covid-19.ontario.ca/covid-19-vaccines-ontario

Primary care providers

Some primary care teams and/or providers are offering vaccination clinics as well. Reach out to your primary care provider directly for information, or monitor their website and social media feeds for updates.

Local Mobile/Pop-Up Vaccine clinic options

NHH is proud to be part of the Ontario Health Team of Northumberland which is bringing Mobile Pop-Up Vaccine opportunities to locations across our region on a walk-in, no appointment required basis. For the latest information on these local mobile clinic options, please see the News and Notices section of the OHT-N website, www.ohtnorthumberland.ca, and be sure to follow the OHT-N social media feeds on Twitter and Facebook. Updates are shared as new information becomes available.

Yes. As a high-risk setting, NHH's universal masking policy remains in place throughout the hospital and Community Mental Health offices. Visitors will continue to have access to free masks on entry to the hospital and NHH's Community Mental Health offices and are asked to keep their medical grade mask on at all times (or over top of their personal cloth mask) while inside, unless eating or drinking in designated areas. No eating or drinking is permitted by visitors in patient rooms.

Yes. As announced on October 15, the Ontario government has made an enhanced vaccine certificate with official QR code and the free verification app, "Verify Ontario," available for download. Download your enhanced vaccine certificate, with a QR code, by following the prompts here. You will require a green photo health (OHIP) card. You may also call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900 to have your enhanced vaccine certificate emailed or mailed to you directly. The system will allow you to save the electronic version of your vaccine certificate with a QR code to your phone or print a paper copy. Businesses must accept both electronic and paper version. The original vaccine receipt without a QR code will remain valid and will continue to be accepted, but the province has encouraged individuals to download the enhanced vaccine certificate with a QR code as an easier, more secure and convenient way to have your proof of vaccination verified. While provincial vaccine certificate requirements are relaxing as of March 1, 2022, Ontarians will still need to be prepared to show a piece of identification with their name and date of birth along with their proof of vaccination when visiting select businesses and organizations.

Following public health advice remains critical. We can all help to minimize the risk of the spread of COVID-19 by continuing to:

  • Maintain physical distance from others (6 feet or 2 metres)
  • Wear a face covering when physical distancing is a challenge, not possible or required (for information on how to put on, remove and clean a non-medical face mask. See the latest Health Canada recommendations here. For information on NHH's universal mask policy, go here
  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Always wash your hands before eating or drinking, after using the washroom, if your hands become visibly dirty and before and after you put on AND take off a face mask
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Support children 5 to 11 to receive the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine

To minimize the risk of spreading viruses to others, you should also cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands. If you do not have a tissue handy, cough or sneeze into your sleeve or arm. Stay home when you are ill and avoid contact with those outside your immediate household through physical distancing, particularly those who may be more vulnerable.

Visitor and family presence is integral to patient safety, the healing process, the patient's medical and psychological well-being, comfort and quality of life. The majority of visitor restrictions have now been lifted at NHH. Please see full details, including answers to frequently asked questions on our COVID-19 Visiting Guidelines, on our website here. NHH's Virtual Visiting program continues to be available as capacity permits. Virtual visits are available weekdays by contacting the hospital's Virtual Visiting Team at 905-372-6811, ext. 3146 or by email to virtualconnections@nhh.ca  Note: to protect patient privacy, the patient's full name should not be included in the email. Read more about Virtual Visiting, including how to request a virtual visit, here.

Visitors to NHH are now expected to self-screen for symptoms of COVID-19 or other illness and are accountable for deciding for themselves if they are ill or at risk of a potential exposure. Instructions are available at all entrances and volunteers are available at times of peak visiting to support. If you are expriencing symptoms of any kind we ask, for the safety of your loved ones and others, please postpone your visit to patients in the hospital. At any time, if you have a clinic appointment, test or other procedure scheduled, and have any of the symptoms listed above, please call your clinic to see if you should still come to the hospital.

Canada's latest travel advice and information related to COVID-19 will be found at https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid

The emotional and psychological impact of COVID-19 and the change and uncertainty it has brought to our lives is significant. Reach out if you need to speak with someone. Free supports are available locally and from a range of provincial resources. Below are just some of the options available.

  • Walk-in Counselling Clinic (905-377-7784), Tuesdays from 8 AM – 4PM and Thursdays from 10 AM to 6 PM – offered in partnership with Rebound Child and Youth Services is available for individuals without access to phone and/or virtual services. For crisis supports outside of these hours, please see below.
  • Rebound Child and Youth Service - In addition to the Walk-in Counselling service noted above, Rebound offers a wide range of programming to support children, youth and their families. Contact Rebound directly at 905-372-0007 or 1-877-688-0007.
  • BounceBack – a free skill-building program for adults and youth 15+, BounceBack  offers the guidance of a coach to work through a series of workbooks at your own pace to help gain practical skills to help manage low mood, anxiety, worry or stress.
  • Kids Help Phone – for support at any time of day, children and youth can call 1-800-668-6868 or text CONNECT to 686868 to contact the Kids Help Phone.
  • GOOD2TALKON - for 24/7 confidential mental health and addictions support, post-secondary students can call 1-866-925-5454 or text GOOD2TALKON to 686868 or visit the Good2Talk website here

For individuals in crisis:

  • Call Four County Crisis at 1-705-745-6484 or 1-866-995-9933;
  • Reach out to the Community and Social Services Help Line by dialing 211; or,
  • Go to the closest Emergency Department.

For more information on mental health resources see the Ontario mental health, wellness and addictions support summary on the province’s COVID-19 website here.

Offers of support have flowed in to NHH in many ways throughout this prolonged pandemic. Thank you, Northumberland. We are extremely grateful. Please see below for information on how you can best help us channel these acts of kindness at this time:

  • Offers of medical equipment/supplies – NHH continues to accept unopened, CSA-approved personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves, N95 respirators and surgical masks. All equipment donations must first be vetted through our Materials Management department. They cannot be dropped off without first confirming that they can be accepted. Contact Emily Anderson eanderson@nhh.ca
  • Offers of hand-made items - On April 15th, 2020, NHH issued a call to local sewers and crafters to support four priority needs: surgical hats, scrub bags, mask buddies and washable, reusable face masks crafted from special hospital-issued material. See details in the related media release here. This call for support has now concluded and we thank all involved for the wonderful support.
  • Offers of food – We are not able to accept homemade food items for sharing, nor are gifts such as boxes of chocolate, donuts, etc acceptable due to the infection risk of shared food items. Donations may be used to purchase meals/snacks/beverages for staff through the NHH Bistro or other local options. Community members interested in supporting staff and boosting spirits in this way are encouraged to direct questions or suggestions through the NHH Foundation office care of Rhonda Cunningham rcunningham@nhh.ca 
  • Offers of funds – Please contact the NHH Foundation care of Rhonda Cunningham rcunningham@nhh.ca
  • Offers of health human resources – Please email our Human Resources department care of careers@nhh.ca and note “COVID-19” and the specific credentials (eg. NP, RN) in the subject line. Current career opportunities are highlighted here.
  • Questions or other offers of support  – Please contact Public Affairs at jgillard@nhh.ca

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