HKRP District Medical Officer of Health Encourages Safe Celebrations this Holiday Season

In Local

Following preventative measures is the best way to protect yourself and others from respiratory viruses

Dr. Natalie Bocking, Medical Officer of Health for the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPR District Health Unit) encourages residents to celebrate the holiday season safely and offers preventative measures as respiratory viruses continue to surge across the province.

Respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), have continued to rise rapidly throughout the fall season as people spend more time together indoors. With the upcoming holiday season, many families and friends will gather to celebrate, enjoy festivities, and continue traditions that may have been missed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the fall respiratory season has brought a significant increase in emergency department visits from residents with flu-like symptoms, and with young children especially at risk of developing more severe illness. Residents are strongly encouraged to remain extra vigilant when making holiday plans this year.

“As you gather with family and friends in the coming weeks, ensure you are providing a safe, healthy and welcoming environment for everyone,” says Dr. Natalie Bocking, Medical Officer of Health for the HKPR District Health Unit. “This means respecting personal masking choices, letting your loved ones know if you feel sick and giving space to children and infants who are most at risk, so everyone’s holiday can be joyful and bright.”

Preventative Measures to Help Protect Yourself and Others

It is important that all residents follow basic preventative measures to reduce the spread of viruses, including:

• Staying up to date with vaccinations, including a COVID-19 booster and influenza immunization.

• Staying home if you feel sick, even if symptoms are considered mild.

• Wearing a mask in crowded indoor places, such as shopping centres, private holiday parties and gatherings.

• Always practicing good hand hygiene and regularly disinfect surfaces.

• Finding other meaningful ways to connect, such as virtual chats, phone calls or outdoor visits for people who may feel uncomfortable gathering indoors.

There are many ways to get a COVID-19 booster and/or flu shot before the holiday season. For more information on eligibility and booking an appointment, please visit

HKPR District Health Unit Holiday Office Hours
The HKPR District Health Unit will be closed on December 23, 26, 27, 30, 2022 and January 2, 2023. Final water sample deadlines for each office are as follows, until regular drop-off scheduled resumes on January 3, 2023.

• Port Hope: Thursday, December 22 at 10:30 a.m.

• Lindsay Office: Thursday, December 22 at 11:30 a.m.

• Haliburton Office: Wednesday, December 21 at 4:30 p.m.

The HKPR District Health Unit would like to wish all residents in the County of Haliburton, City of Kawartha Lakes and Northumberland County a very healthy and joyous holiday season.

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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