COVID-19 (2019 Novel Coronavirus)
For the most recent provincial information on COVID-19, including symptoms and the status of cases in Ontario, NHH recommends Ontario’s dedicated COVID website: ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus . For updates on the number of confirmed cases in Northumberland County and the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit area, see the Health Unit website: hkpr.on.ca
Additional Information for NHH Patients, Families and Visitors
[Updated October 16, 2020, 12:10 PM – this information is subject to change.]
As COVID-19 continues to evolve, hospitals, paramedics, primary care, public health units and other partners are working together to ensure safe practices in our communities. The Public Health Agency of Canada continues to identify the risk to Canadians as high, with an increased risk of more severe outcomes from COVID-19 for older people (age 65+), people with underlying medical conditions (e.g. heart or chronic lung disease), and individuals with compromised immune systems. Locally, the HKPR District Health Unit continues to advise that COVID-19 is present in the community, with a total of 45 confirmed cases identified to date among Northumberland residents. In addition to recommending the provincial information and related links on Ontario’s COVID website, NHH continues to update the following News and Frequently Asked Questions section to further support local information sharing.
- October 16, 2020 - In-person visiting hours to be extended at NHH, max number of visitors remains limited to one
- September 28, 2020 - NHH COVID-19 Assessment Centre will shift to appointment only, beginning September 29
- September 22, 2020 - A message from your Northumberland County hospital CEOs
- September 10, 2020 - In-person visiting hours set to expand at NHH effective Monday, September 14
- August 25, 2020 - Latest in our efforts against COVID-19: Non-urgent service volumes at or close to pre-pandemic levels
- July 22nd, 2020 - In-person weekend visiting scheduled to resume at Northumberland Hills Hospital July 25th
- July 17th, 2020 - Latest in our efforts against COVID-19: Cautious, phased return to a new normal continues at NHH as province enters Stage 3
- June 23rd, 2020 - Latest in our efforts against COVID-19: Staged return to a ‘new normal’ proceeding steadily at NHH
- June 23rd, 2020 - Parking fees to be reinstated in hospital lots on July 6th, 2020
- June 5th, 2020 - New location for NHH COVID-19 Assessment Clinic, effective Monday, June 8 2020
- May 29th, 2020 - Five regional hospital partners approved to begin ramping up non-urgent care
- May 27th, 2020 - Virtual Visiting Program Expanding at Northumberland Hills Hospital
- May 25th, 2020 - Exploring the Impact of the Pandemic on the Body and Mind with a Virtual PACE Talk
- May 20th, 2020 - Local Business Steps Up to Offer Accommodation for NHH Staff
- May 8th, 2020 - OHT-N to host interactive COVID-19 Virtual Forum
- May 8th, 2020 - NHH to take National Nursing Week celebrations virtual
- May 1st, 2020 - May 2020 In Touch Community News
- April 22nd, 2020 - Local Business Loans PAPRs to Help Protect Frontline Staff
- April 17th, 2020 - Worrying that you have may have COVID-19? Local screening and assessment services are here and ready to help
- April 15th, 2020 - NHH inviting community sewers to support four priority needs for patients and health-care workers
- April 3rd, 2020 - Northumberland Hills Hospital Food 4 All Drive A Success
- April 2nd, 2020 - April 2020 In Touch Community News
- March 27th, 2020 - COVID-19 information at March 27, 2020
- March 17th, 2020 - COVID-19 information at March 17, 2020
- March 15th, 2020 - Visitor Restrictions in Place at NHH
- March 14th, 2020 - Steps taken to protect Emergency Department capacity - COVID-19 Assessment Centre open at NHH
- March 13th, 2020 - HKPR District Health Unit Reports First Positive Case of COVID-19
- March 13th, 2020 - Health partners collaborating to protect patients, visitors, healthcare professionals, staff and volunteers
- March 2nd, 2020 - Local Health Partners Continue to Work Together in Preparation for Potential COVID-19 Cases
- January 30th, 2020 - Working together to prevent spread of seasonal illness and novel coronavirus
Frequently Asked Questions
Q.1 Is NHH still accepting donations to support the COVID-19 response effort?
Offers of support have been coming in to NHH in many ways. Thank you, Northumberland. We are extremely grateful. Please see below for tips 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 Charity Meiklejohn firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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. These items continue to come in and we thank all involved for the wonderful support. On June 1st, NHH joined an effort coordinated by the Ontario Health Team of Northumberland (OHT-N) to invite donations of hand-made cloth face masks, as well. See details on the OHT-N cloth face mask campaign in the related media release here. By helping to produce any of these items the community will help to further preserve precious medical personal protective equipment.
- Offers of food – We must decline, for infection control purposes. We recommend that you consider donating to local foodbanks OR reach out via the local (Facebook) Northumberland CAREMONGERING GROUP www.fornorthumberland.com
- Offers of funds – Please contact the NHH Foundation care of Rhonda Cunningham email@example.com
- Offers of health human resources – Please email our Human Resources department care of firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com
Q.2 With the province now opening up, and schools set to reopen, what should I do to minimize my risk?
Following public health advice remains critical as Ontario enters Stage 3 of its reopening plan. 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 Health Canada recommendations 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
- Download COVID Alert, the new made-in-Ontario app that alerts users if they may have been exposed to someon who has tested positive for COVID-19. Apple users may download here, Android users go here
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 others through physical distancing, particularly those who may be more vulnerable.
Q.3 What should people in Northumberland County do if they think they have COVID-19 symptoms or may have come into contact with someone with COVID-19?
The Ministry of Health COVID-19 Reference Document for Symptoms is updated regularly. It includes the latest listing of typical and atypical symptoms, including:
- Fever (37.8C or greater)
- New or worsening cough
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
- Runny nose or nasal congestion
- Nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Unexplained headache
- Joint/muscle aches
- New loss of taste or smell
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.
Individuals who believe they may have had exposure to COVID-19 may contact any of the following to receive a test:
- NHH COVID-19 Assessment Centre - 905-377-7783 (Note: with the exception of statutory holidays, when we will be closed, the Centre is open daily between 8AM and 4PM for both virtual screening by telephone and pre-booked appointments. Effective September 29, 2020, the Centre will no longer be able to accept walk-in bookings.)
- HKPR District Health Unit - 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020
- Telehealth Ontario - 1-866-797-0000
OR use this online self-assessment tool to help determine if you need to seek further care.
If symptoms are severe, call 911 and alert the dispatcher to the potential concern regarding COVID-19 so they can be appropriately prepared.
Q.4 I called the NHH COVID-19 Assessment Centre and was told to come in for assessment and testing? What should I expect?
Individuals who are directed to present to the Assessment Centre at NHH for physical assessment will be asked to wash their hands and answer a series of pre-screening questions immediately inside the entrance of the hospital prior to visiting the Centre. Your temperature will be taken by an RN at the entrance, and those wearing latex gloves will be required to remove them prior to entry to ensure completion of hand hygiene. All patients coming into the hospital will be asked to put on a mask. Please find details of our Universal Masking Policy here. COVID-19 visitors restrictions remain in place. These are subject to change, but the current Visiting Guidelines will be found on our website here. Hospital staff within the Assessment Centre will administer the test, which consists of a swab, inserted into the throat and nasal passage. It is not painful, but many report that it is briefly uncomfortable. Following the test patients are directed on next steps as required.
Q. 5 Are results available immediately?
The majority of patients under investigation for COVID-19 have mild symptoms and do not require hospital admission. Patients under investigation for COVID-19 are discharged home on self-isolation when it is safe to do so, to await laboratory test results. See this helpful document from Public Health Ontario for details on the follow-up instructions. Circumstances vary, but it may take between 24 – 72 hours, or longer, to receive your results. Patients who require admission to hospital will be admitted and treated as required, either at NHH or at a regional centre, depending on their clinical needs. NHH’s team, including Infection Prevention and Control, continue to work closely with local Public Health and area primary care providers to help guide decision-making and follow up on a case-by-case basis.
Q. 6 What should I do if I have recently returned from travelling, but do not feel sick?
The Government of Canada has (as of March 13, 2020) warned against all international travel. All travellers arriving in Canada from international points continue to be required to self-isolate for 14 days as a precaution. For the latest information for Ontario residents it is best to reference the Ontario COVID website . It is believed that it can take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear after exposure to COVID-19. Self-monitor for symptoms and follow the directions above if you develop symptoms or if you have concerns.
Q.7 Are visitor restrictions still in place at NHH?
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. While NHH had an open visiting policy prior to COVID-19, traffic within the hospital was initially restricted and in-person visits were strictly limited to essential visitors only, namely a patient that is dying or very ill; a support for a delivering mother; a parent/guardian of a child or primary family caregiver for an individual with specific needs. On Saturday, July 25th, NHH resumed limited inpatient unit visits for one designated visitor or primary family caregiver on weekends and selected holidays only. On Monday, September 14, NHH further expanded in-person visiting opportunities. COVID-19 Visitor Policy expectations still apply. For the latest information please see the related media release, a Frequently Asked Question document and the COVID-19 Visitor Policy here. NHH's Virtual Visiting program continues to be available. Hundreds of these visits have been coordinated since the Program launched in April. Virtual visits may be schedule weekdays by contacting the hospital's Virtual Visiting Team at 905-372-6811, ext. 3146 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Q.8 Are screening procedures still in place at public entry ways?
Yes. NHH continues to actively screen incomers at all open public entrances to assess for symptoms and to support the visitor restrictions as noted above. As well, the wing used by patients to access both Dialysis and Cancer and Supportive Care Services remains restricted to minimize traffic near this vulnerable patient population. At any time, if you have a clinic appointment, test or other procedure scheduled, and have any of the following symptoms, please call your clinic to see if you should still come to the hospital.
Symptoms to watch for include:
- Shortness of breath
Q.9 Are there any changes to patient services at NHH or other supports, like the cafeteria?
Through June and July 2020 services have steadily ramped back up at NHH. Guided by a multi-disciplinary Service Continuity and Planning Working Group, this includes:
- surgical services, now at 90 per cent of pre-COVID-19 activity (e.g. colonoscopies, cataracts, hernia repairs and selected gynecological procedures)
- diagnostic imaging procedures, now at 75 per cent of pre-COVID-19 activity (e.g. CT exams, MRIs, ultrasounds, x-ray, mammography, nuclear medicine and interventional radiology procedures, like joint injections and pain management);
- small volumes of in-person ambulatory care clinic appointments; and
- a limited number of in-person community mental health appointments through the Walk-In Counselling Clinic at 1011 Elgin Street West, Cobourg.
The Main Street Bistro resumed service to the public as of Monday, September 14, 2020.
Q.10 A family member is returning home from travelling abroad, and will be self-isolating in my home. Do I have to isolate too?
Public Health Ontario has developed a very helpful Self-isolation: Guide for caregivers, household members and close contacts. It has specific guidance for 'close contacts' on how to care for or live with someone who has the virus.
Q. 11 Are there specific mental health supports you can recommend?
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 – temporarily shifted to a virtual model as a result of COVID-19, the walk-in is also available to a limited number of in-person appointments for individuals without access to phone and/or virtual services. Precautions will be in place to ensure client safety with appropriate physical distancing.
Connect with peers on Togetherall (formerly Big White Wall) – an anonymous online community where members can support each other 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, Togetherall (formerly Big White Wall) offers a self-assessment, reading resources, self-guided courses and creative tools to help express how you’re feeling.
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.
- Government of Ontario COVID-19 Website ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus
- HKPRD Health Unit hkpr.on.ca/covid-19-2/covid-19
- Public Health Agency of Canada canada.ca/coronavirus
- World Health Organization who.int/health-topics/coronavirus