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With 31 active COVID-19 cases, Hastings Prince Edward reaches province’s yellow status

The catchment area for Hastings Prince Edward Public Health has been placed under the "yellow-protect" status in the province's COVID-19 response framework. Global Kingston

On Friday, the government of Ontario placed the Hastings Prince Edward region in the yellow – protect level under its COVID-19 response framework, just as the local health unit announced another six cases, bringing the active case count to 31.

The region has never seen as many active cases at one time as it has over the past week, prompting the local medical officer of health to ask residents to be extra careful.

Read more: 7 new cases of COVID-19 in the Hastings, Prince Edward regions

“To avoid further restrictions, I ask all residents to redouble their efforts at this critical time. Please continue to ask yourself: ‘What can I do to reduce my risk of exposure and help limit the spread of COVID-19? What can I do to protect my family, friends and community?’” Dr. Piotr Oglaza said.

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This health unit says 27 of the region’s active cases have been reported just over the last week. This recent uptick in cases has brought the region’s incidence rate to 16 per 100,000 people. The incidence rate demonstrates how quickly rates of the virus are increasing in the region.

The yellow status will mean strengthened public health measures will be implemented in the region starting at 12:01 a.m., Monday, Nov. 30.

“These measures include limited hours of operations for certain settings, reduced recreational program sizes, additional enforcement and fines, and enhanced education in high-risk settings,” Hastings Prince Edward Public Health said.

The health unit is asking residents to abide by COVID-19 best practices, but especially to avoid non-essential travel, especially to nearby regions with higher transmission rates.

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Earlier Friday, Oglaza also released a plea to residents to be kind to each other as case numbers rise.

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“Now is not the time to place blame, discriminate, or speculate about who may be infected or how they might have been exposed. These discussions do not contribute to our efforts to stop the spread and instead contribute to an environment of discouragement, fear, and intolerance,” he said.