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HKPR top doctor states basic health measures are still important to follow

DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard

KAWARTHA LAKES: With reports of COVID-19 cases coming from large gatherings, Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit’s (HKPR) medical officer of health, Dr. Natalie Bocking, is reminding people to follow public health measures.

At a virtual press conference, on Wednesday, August 25th, Dr. Bocking said the health unit is starting to see a reversal of the progress Ontario made earlier in the pandemic.

“I think there has been a sense, with this high level of vaccination coverage [and] the loosening of public health restrictions, that some of the basic health precautions, we had been so good at implementing, we’re now sometimes forgetting to [follow]. Basic public health measures like distancing, masking and hand hygiene still form our first layer of defence against the virus,” Dr. Bocking said.

As an example, the local medical officer cited a recent virus outbreak at the Annual Jane and Finch Classic basketball tournament, held in Oshawa earlier this month.

“We are now seeing more and more notifications of transmission at larger gatherings,” she stated.

The Durham Region Health Department and HKPR urge anyone who participated in this tournament to get tested for COVID-19.

However, Dr. Bocking noted, the health unit is hearing reports of virus transmission at weddings, banquets and other celebrations.

“While we have all really celebrated this opportunity to see family and friends, we may not have seen in person in quite some time, we’re now seeing very clear evidence of transmission through these gatherings. I would urge people to retain the basic public health precautions [which] have worked and have helped keep us safe over the last 18 months,” Dr. Bocking stressed.

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