The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit will not confirm whether there have been more than 10 positive cases of COVID-19 – among non-permanent residents – in Haliburton County.

The Highlander asked the health unit if it was possible there had been more cases of COVID-19 in the community, and more positive tests at the assessment centre in Haliburton, but that those testing positive are being statistically attributed to the health unit of their permanent residence.

Dr. Lynn Noseworthy said the health unit maintains that based on the information they have received to date, the health unit can confirm 10 people who live in Haliburton County have tested positive for COVID-19.

She confirmed, however, that when a positive COVID-19 test result comes back, the findings are reported to health authorities in the region where the individual lives. She said people can get tested for COVID-19 anywhere in Ontario, regardless of where they live in the province.

“The appropriate health unit/health department will then do follow-up contact with the person who tested positive for COVID-19. This includes directing the person to self-isolate, not go out, monitor symptoms and take further precautions to limit the spread of coronavirus,” Dr. Noseworthy said.

She added that details are also obtained about every place that individual visited or persons they were in contact with during their infectious period. She said health units are in daily contact with these individuals to monitor and ensure they are following directions for the required period of time.

In these situations, Dr. Noseworthy said health unit/health department staff will also reach out to other people who may have been in close contact with the person who tested positive for COVID-19. She said these ‘close contacts’ will be given direction by health unit staff on what to do, including self-monitoring for symptoms, self-isolating or taking other preventive actions. If the contacts develop symptoms, arrangements are made for them to be tested for COVID-19 as well.

“The bottom line is that regardless of where a person lives or is tested for COVID-19 in Ontario, the provincial case and contact management system is very methodical, comprehensive and thorough,” Dr. Noseworthy said.

Members of the public reached out to The Highlander last week. They alleged there had been more than 10 positive COVID test results in the County but they had been attributed to other areas. They felt it resulted in misleading information and a reduction in the perceived risk and gravity of COVID-19 locally.

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