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Peterborough, Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland police implementing safety measures to counter coronavirus at stations

Peterborough and Kawartha Lakes police services are taking measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. File photo

Police in Peterborough, the City of Kawartha Lakes, Cobourg and Port Hope say they are limiting the amount of foot traffic in police stations as a proactive step to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

“We provide an essential emergency service 24-7-365 to our community, and that will not change,” Peterborough Police Service Chief Scott Gilbert said. “But there are services we offer, which can be accessed online and without having to come into the lobby of our station, that will reduce face-to-face contact.”

READ MORE: COVID cases in Canada tracker: How many new cases of COVID-19 today?

In Lindsay, City of Kawartha Lakes Police Service Chief Mark Mitchell says the force will remain vigilant in protecting and serving the public.

“Our professional and resilient personnel will continue to provide superior police service to residents of the Kawartha Lakes,” he said. “The steps above are being taken out of an abundance of caution and in an effort to reduce risk. Please note that all emergency services are and remain fully functional.”

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Effective immediately, all three police services are restricting or modifying non-emergency services. All emergency services remain in place.

The services are asking members of the public to restrict visits to police headquarters unless absolutely necessary. In Peterborough, call the service first at 705-876-1122. In Lindsay, contact police at 705-324-5252. In Cobourg, call (905) 372-6821. In Port Hope call  905-885-8123 and select 3 to be transferred to dispatchers.

In an emergency, always dial 911.

READ MORE: Latest updates — Coronavirus in Canada

The Peterborough Police Service is limiting the amount of traffic to its lobby to two persons at a time, which includes access to the accident collision reporting centre in the lobby.

Other steps being taken by local police forces include the following:

  • Peterborough police’s Lakefield office is closed for any in-person inquiries. If you have an inquiry, call 705-876-1122, ext. 277. Do not visit in person.
  • In-person record check applications and freedom-of-information requests will not be accepted. Submit record check applications in Peterborough online. In Kawartha Lakes, email record check applications to records@klps.ca or contact 705-324-5252. Freedom-of-information requests in Peterborough can be submitted online
  • Do not call 911 if you have COIVD-19-related questions — 911 is for critical situations and emergencies only. For any COVID-19-related questions, please call Peterborough Public Health at 705-743-1000, ext. 401, or the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020.
  • Non-emergency crimes, such as thefts from vehicles, fraud and property damage under $5,000, can be reported online in Peterborough.
  • If you call police in either city requesting an officer at a location, you will be asked some additional screening questions related to COVID-19 before an officer is dispatched. Officers may be wearing protective equipment such as gloves and masks.
  • Recruitment and hiring at the Peterborough Police Service is on hold. However, the force’s human resources department is still accepting resumes submitted via mail. Do not visit the station to submit a resume. More information can be found online.
  • Criminal courts remain open, however additional screening measures are also in place. If you are not in custody and have a criminal court appearance in the Ontario Court of Justice between March 16 and April 3, you do not need to attend court. If you do not attend court, your matter will be adjourned to another court date 10 weeks from the date of your scheduled appearance. To find out what date to which your matter is being adjourned, see the list of adjournment dates. If your criminal court appearance is after April 3, please check the Ontario Court of Justice website for updated information. For other court matters, visit the Ontario Court of Justice website for more information.

“The health and safety of our communities, our members and their loved ones is our utmost priority,” said Gilbert, the Peterborough police chief.

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“Therefore, it is imperative our members stay healthy so we, in turn, can continue serving the communities of the City of Peterborough, the Village of Lakefield and the Township of Cavan Monaghan.

“We encourage residents to use as many of our online services as possible and only attend the station when essential to do so. We apologize for the disruption caused by these decisions. All decisions are being made with the safety and well-being of our members and community at the forefront while maintaining an optimal level of service,” Gilbert said.

“We thank everyone for their understanding and patience during these unprecedented times and we thank our members, sworn and civilian, who continue to provide service in a professional, friendly and helpful manner.”

Click to play video: 'Police Services Board addresses COVD-19 and safe consumption sites' Police Services Board addresses COVD-19 and safe consumption sites
Police Services Board addresses COVD-19 and safe consumption sites – Mar 10, 2020

Confused about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk is low for Canadians but warn this could change quickly. They caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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