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‘Simply unacceptable’: Peterborough Public Health calls out human waste in public

One person per household to shop
Peterborough Public Health's weekly update Wednesday touched on several COVID-19 related topics. Shopping, testing and public washrooms were on the list. Jessica Nyznik has the story.

Peterborough Public Health says it has been dealing with a growing number of complaints about human waste in public places including parking lots.

During her weekly media conference, medical officer of health Dr. Rosana Salvaterra says incidents of human waste have increased since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is just simply unacceptable,” she said. “It creates a health hazard, it is illegal.”

READ MORE: Lack of public washrooms in Peterborough are hampering efforts to flatten the curve

She noted some incidents may be related to people shopping who are unable to access public washrooms at businesses or other closed buildings.

She says people should be prepared to have no access to washrooms. Households should designate one person to shop or utilize curbside pickup or home delivery.

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“I’m asking everyone to please continue to stay at home as much as possible and to reduce the number of shopping-related trips to weekly,” she said.

“We need to respect each other and our frontline workers who are out there on a daily basis working in this new normal, doing the best they can.”

Mayor Diane Therrien says the city continues to evaluate when it can reopen public washrooms but no date has been determined.

“We understand there is a need for them,” said Therrien. “People want to take advantage of our parks — it’s good for mental health and general wellbeing. Especially on hot days and you’re stuck inside with no air conditioning.”

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Salvaterra also advised shoppers to wear face coverings and avoid smoking in lineups. Do not leave discarded masks or gloves in a store or a shopping cart for someone else to dispose of, she added.

DRIVE-THRU TESTING

The drive-thru assessment centre opened Wednesday at the Kinsmen Civic Centre in Peterborough. Salvaterra said as of 11 a.m., paramedics tested approximately 60 people tested over three hours. Of those tested, 24 were referred to the Peterborough Regional Health Centre assessment centre as they showed at least one symptom of COVID-19.

Salvaterra says the drive-thru tests could expand to Peterborough County and Hiawatha First Nation and Curve Lake First Nation.

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READ MORE: Drive-thru COVID-19 testing centre opening in Peterborough at Kinsmen Civic Centre

Discussions are underway on other locations such as in Douro-Dummer Township, Trent Lakes and Norwood.

The drive-thru is for asymptomatic people. Pedestrians and cyclists can also get tested there.

Residents who do have symptoms of COVID-19 are advised to contact PRHC’s COVID-19 assessment centre by calling 705-876-5086.

TESTING

In the health unit’s weekly situation update, Salvaterra noted more than 7,350 residents have now been tested for coronavirus, an increase of 450 since May 20.

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That’s approximately 1 in 20 residents in the health unit’s jurisdiction.

As of Tuesday evening, there have been 83 confirmed cases of coronavirus and two deaths. About 57 per cent of cases are female. The average age of a patient is between 20 to 59.

Just over 52 per cent of the health unit’s cases have been sourced to having close contact with an existing case. Community transmission — no link to travel or a case — accounts for 16 per cent of the cases.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Ontario extends current emergency orders until June 9

Currently there are no outbreaks at long-term care or retirement residences.

“That’s the first time I’ve been able to say that,” she said.

The health unit’s incident rate is approximately 56 cases per 100,000.

“It’s notably less than the provincial rate of 178 per 100,000,” said Salvaterra.

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