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 May 27, 2020, 4:30 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 has confirmed that COVID-19 is now spreading in the community. NHH appreciates that many may have questions. 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.
- 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 I want to help NHH. Do you need donations of any kind?
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 is accepting 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
- NEW - Offers of hand-made items - Beginning April 15th, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, NHH is calling on local sewers and crafters to support four current 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. 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 our 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
- Other offers – Please contact Public Affairs at email@example.com
Q.2 What can I do to minimize my risk?
Hand washing and strict social distancing are two of the most important things we can all do to minimize the risk of catching a virus. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. You should wash your hands:
- Before eating or drinking
- After using the washroom
- If your hands become visibly dirty
- Before and after you put on AND take off a face mask
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 sleeve or arm. Stay home when you are ill and avoid contact with others through social 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?
The Ministry of Health COVID-19 Reference Document for Symptoms has been updated regularly since the pandemic was first announced. It includes 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, either in the community, by living or working in a facility with a COVID-19 outbreak, or through travel to an affected area, including inside Canada, and who are experiencing a new or unusual onset of symptoms associated with COVID-19, are asked to contact any of the following for the preliminary virtual screening:
- NHH COVID-19 Assessment Centre - 905-377-7783 (Note: now open for both virtual screening by telephone, and walk-in assessment between 8am and 4pm daily.)
- 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. Visitors are not permitted at this time, so please -- only the individual requireing assessment should attend. Hospital staff within the Assessment Centre will complete the screening process, and administer the test (if deemed clinically appropriate). The test 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, pending laboratory test results. Circumstances vary, but this could take between 24 – 72 hours, or longer. 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, are working closely with local Public Health and local 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 are now required to self-isolate for 14 days as a precaution. For the latest information for Ontario residents see 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 What should I do if I have NOT travelled, but I am concerned that I may have come in contact with someone with COVID-19?
COVID-19 symptoms are listed above and on the Ontario COVID website. If you think you may have symptoms or might have been in close contact with someone who has, use the self-assessment tool to help determine if you need to seek further care. Questions or concerns? Isolate yourself, and call a healthcare provider for advice using one of the options to call listed above.
Q.8 Are there any changes to visiting procedures or volunteering?
Yes. All NHH volunteers have ceased on-site volunteer duties and, effective Tuesday, March 17, NHH has restricted all visitors. We appreciate that these restrictions are difficult for patients and their loved ones, but this is a necessary precaution at this time to minimize the risk of spread, particularly to vulnerable populations. At this time, visitors for palliative patients or the severely ill continue to be permitted on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with the health care team. The partner and coach/doula for Obstetrical patients also continue to be permitted. Children and pets are strictly prohibited at this time, with the sole exception being personal support animals.
Q.9 Are screening procedures in place at public entry ways?
Yes. NHH is active screening 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 has been 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.10 Are there any changes to patient services at NHH or other supports, like the cafeteria?
NHH continues to provide essential services. On direction from the Minister of Health and Ontario Health, NHH has now paused or postponed elective and non-essential services. If you were booked to come to NHH for a test or procedure, and your test or procedure was booked by NHH, please know that you will be notified by a member of our team of any postponement. Effective Tuesday, March 17, the Walk-In Community Mental Health Counselling Clinic was temporarily closed to walk-in clients. Phone support for clients continues on regular walk-in days (Tuesdays from 8AM - 4PM and Thursdays from 10AM to 6PM). Call 905-377-7784 for walk-in support. The Main Street Bistro remains closed to the public and open in a limited capacity for staff/physicians only.
Q.11 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.
- 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