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COVID-19: HKPR District Health Unit reports privacy breach involving client emails

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is reporting a privacy breach of 500 client emails. Global Peterborough file

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit says it is working to address a privacy breach involving a mass email sent to approximately 500 clients in its jurisdiction.

According to the health unit, the breach involves an email relating to COVID-19 vaccine appointments. The health unit serves the City of Kawartha Lake, Northumberland County and Haliburton County.

Read more: KFL&A Public Health targeted in cyber security attack

According to Today’s Northumberland, the email was requesting residents to reschedule second vaccine dose appointments to earlier dates.

“The email was sent to email addresses people had provided when booking initial COVID vaccine appointments,” the health unit stated. “However, people receiving the emails were able to see the email addresses of all other recipients.”

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The incident has been reported to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. The health unit is following up with the people impacted by the breach.

“We take this issue very seriously and sincerely apologize for this incident,” said Dr. Natalie Bocking, the health unit’s medical officer of health. “We are reaching out to affected individuals and also working internally to ensure there is no repeat of this situation.”

The health unit asks anyone who received these emails to delete them immediately. The health unit also strongly urges recipients of the email not to forward the email to any other person or party, so the breach is not compounded.

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