Although there have been no positive tests for the novel coronavirus in Hastings and Prince Edward counties, the local public health unit believes there’s a strong possibility the virus is circulating in the area.

On Monday, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health announced that due to changes in Ministry of Health guidelines, officials say there are 35 probable cases of COVID-19, the diseased caused by the new coronavirus, in the area. Many of these cases are related to travel, the public health unit said.

“These individuals have been advised to self-isolate for 14 days and until symptoms resolve,” a public health news release said on Monday.

According to the local public health unit, the ministry’s guidelines are to screen for a probable case if patients have fever over 38 C and/or a cough. The health unit said it would consider cases to be probable in anyone who has travelled in the last two weeks to an impacted area; who has had close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19; and who has had contact with someone with an acute respiratory illness who has been to an impacted area.

Lab test results are no longer required to screen an individual as a probable case. Hastings Prince Edward Public Health has been screening for probable COVID-19 cases over the phone.

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