Peterborough Area Healthcare Partners Share Precautions for Local Residents

While the risk remains low, local healthcare partners have infection prevention and control measures in place to protect the community should there be a confirmed local case of the novel coronavirus.

“Travel history to China remains a key factor in determining the risk of illness, and Canadian airports are doing a great job of informing their passengers about the coronavirus which protects all of us,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health. “There are two main things local residents can do to protect themselves while this situation unfolds: practice good respiratory etiquette, and stay informed with credible websites.”

On January 27, local healthcare partners including Peterborough Regional Health Centre, Peterborough Family Health Team, Peterborough Public Health, Peterborough County-City Paramedics, and Peterborough Public Health Lab, gathered to review infection control measures, access to testing, and communication flow during this period of heightened attention about the novel coronavirus. Together, they encourage residents to bear the following in mind:

Current Status of Novel Coronavirus
Two cases of suspected novel Coronavirus are currently under investigation in Toronto. Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health has stated that the risk to Ontarians remains low. Healthcare providers in Peterborough are working together to make it as easy as possible for anyone at risk of having an illness related to this virus to safely and quickly access testing and care. This is an evolving situation – for up-to-date information, go to

Travelled to China and Feeling Unwell?
Peterborough residents who become ill with a fever and cough AND have either travelled to Hubei province in China in the past 14 days or have had close contact with an ill person who is either under investigation for novel coronavirus or is a confirmed case, please identify yourself to the Healthcare System in the following manner:

  • If you have severe symptoms (shortness of breath, chest pain, abdominal pain, confusion, loss of consciousness/semi-consciousness, severe or persistent vomiting): Call 911 and identify your symptoms and travel history/contact history to the dispatcher so that our paramedics can ensure they are appropriately prepared when they arrive.
  • If you have less severe symptoms (mild cough, runny nose, sneezing, etc.): Please remain at home and contact Peterborough Public Health (PPH) at 705-743-1000, ext. 401 to confirm whether you should be tested. PPH will coordinate your follow-up and provide you with guidance to access care safely and quickly.

No Travel History and Feeling Unwell?
Respiratory Illnesses are common at this time of year and the majority are caused by viruses like other coronaviruses and influenza viruses. Generally, they spread from person to person through droplets from coughing and sneezing, contact with surfaces, and on your hands. Washing your hands, with either a sanitizer or soap and water, is one of the most effective ways to prevent transmission. Most of these illnesses are best treated by staying home, getting rest, drinking plenty of fluids and using over-the-counter medications as needed to ease symptoms.

Coming to the Emergency Department (ED) with Respiratory Illness?
If you require urgent care and have a fever or cough, please: put on a mask and use the hand sanitizer available inside the entrance to the ED. If you have recently travelled, please clean your hands and inform the triage nurse immediately.

Patients at high risk of complications from influenza should seek medical care by calling 911 if symptoms are severe (shortness of breath, chest pain or abdominal pain, confusion, severe or persistent vomiting etc.). Antivirals, if taken early, can reduce influenza symptoms, even in patients who have had their flu shot. Patients at high-risk of influenza complications should phone their primary care provider to access a same day or urgent hours assessment. Phoning ahead will help the office staff to take steps to arrange an appointment that limits potential exposure to other patients and staff members.

Anyone with mild symptoms of respiratory illness can find information on self-care and home-isolation at


For further information, please contact:
Brittany Cadence
Peterborough Public Health
705-743-1000, ext. 391

Michelene Ough
Peterborough Regional Health Centre
705-743-2121, ext. 4259

Don Oettinger
Peterborough County-City Paramedics
705-743-5263, ext. 4131

Louise Kublick
Peterborough Family Health Team