January 25, 2018 – ‘Family Literacy Day’ Highlights Value of Talking, Playing or Reading with Children to Encourage Literacy

Spending a few minutes each day to improve a child’s literacy skills is a worthwhile investment of time that can pay off in life-long benefits for the entire family.

Peterborough Public Health is promoting that message in the lead up to Family Literacy Day (www.familyliteracyday.ca) on January 27. The awareness day promotes the importance of adults talking, listening, playing and reading with children to help develop strong literacy skills for life.

“Making literacy-related activities part of your daily routine on Family Literacy Day – and every day of the year – is key to improving your child’s speech and language skills,” says Leisa Baker, a Public Health Nurse with Peterborough Public Health. “All it takes is 15 minutes a day, and what you’re doing is not only spending quality time together as a family, you’re helping support strong literacy skills that are essential for children to reach their full potential in our changing and dynamic world.”

There are many fun ways that families can encourage literacy skills, without children even realizing it is learning, Baker adds. Reading a book at bedtime, visiting the library, playing a board game together, doing an alphabet scavenger hunt or telling knock-knock jokes while doing the dishes can all be options.

Another way for families to encourage literacy with children is to point out how reading and writing show up in everyday activities, such as reading traffic signs while driving or writing a grocery list at home.

Local families should also check with their local library to see if there are special events planned in their community or join the celebrations in downtown Peterborough at Peterborough Square, http://www.ptbocanada.com/upcoming-events/2017/1/28/peterborough-family-literacy-day

Literacy activities, resources, and speech and language milestones are also available at the KidTalk website (www.kidtalk.on.ca). The KidTalk website is part of the Preschool Speech and Language Services program that covers Haliburton County, Northumberland County, the City of Kawartha Lakes, and the County and City of Peterborough. If you have questions or would like a screening of your child’s speech and language skills, please call Peterborough Public Health’s Family HEALTHline at 705-743-1000.


For further information, please contact:

Leisa Baker, R.N.
Public Health Nurse

705-743-1000, ext. 312

September 26, 2017  – Residents advised to watch for symptoms and prevent the spread of mumps

Peterborough Public Health (PPH) is reporting three confirmed cases of mumps in the Peterborough area.

“Mumps is circulating in our community, so we are asking residents to watch for symptoms and see their healthcare provider if they are feeling ill,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health.  “It’s also important to follow good infection control practices to prevent its spread, such as ensuring you are vaccinated against mumps and not sharing objects like cups and eating utensils.”

Mumps is a contagious disease that is caused by a virus. The most common symptom of mumps is swollen salivary glands, which cause one or both cheeks to become very puffy. (The salivary glands are located in your cheeks, near your jaw and below each ear.) Mumps also causes fever and headache. People who have symptoms usually get better after a week or two, but mumps can sometimes cause serious complications. Anyone who has not been fully vaccinated is at increased risk of catching the disease, compared with people who have been fully vaccinated or who have already had mumps.

People born in or after 1970 are not considered immune unless they either have received two doses of the mumps vaccine, also called measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) or measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV), or have been diagnosed with mumps. Those born before 1970 are considered to be immune.  It is recommended that anyone who is not fully vaccinated see their healthcare provider, or if they don’t have one, call PPH at 705-743-1000, ext. 129 to get up to date and fully protected.

Mumps spreads easily through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People can catch it by:

  • Breathing the air where an infected person has coughed or sneezed
  • Touching an infected surface, and then touching their nose or mouth
  • Sharing objects (for example, cups and eating utensils) with a person who has mumps

A person with mumps can spread the infection from seven days before to five days after they have symptoms. Up to half of people may have very mild symptoms, or no symptoms at all. However, these people can still spread the virus.

Dr. Salvaterra noted that people who are most at risk include pregnant women. Pregnant women who get mumps during the first trimester may have a higher risk of miscarriage.

Mumps activity has increased in 2017 in several parts of North America, including Ontario.  According to Public Health Ontario, between January 1 and August 31, 2017, there have been 169 cases of mumps (158 confirmed and 11 probable) reported in Ontario. These case counts for 2017 are higher than the past eight years.

Further information about mumps is available by visiting www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca  or clicking here for a mumps fact sheet.



For further information, please contact:

Brittany Cadence

Communications Manager

705-743-1000, ext. 391

August 18, 2017 – Residents Reminded to Take Precautions

Today Peterborough Public Health officials confirmed the first human case of West Nile virus (WNV) acquired locally.

“With confirmation of our first human case of the season, we encourage residents to take precautions to prevent the spread of West Nile virus in our area,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health.  “The wet summer is giving mosquitoes more places to breed, so we urge residents to keep their properties clean of standing water and brush and protect themselves from mosquito bites.”

As of August 12, 2017, Public Health Ontario (PHO) indicated there have been eight reported (confirmed or probable) human WNV cases in the province, including both locally-acquired and travel-related cases. PHO’s surveillance reports also state that so far in 2017 there have been 172 WNV positive mosquito pools, from 24 different health units across Ontario. This includes one positive pool found in the City of Peterborough in July.

Dr. Salvaterra noted that the majority of WNV cases do not show symptoms. About 20% of infected people will experience mild illness with such symptoms as fever, headache, and body aches, occasionally with a skin rash and swollen lymph nodes that last several days. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, or eye pain. Symptoms usually develop 2 to 14 days after receiving a bite from an infected mosquito. Less than 1% of infected people will develop neurological symptoms.

Although the risk of becoming infected is low, prevention against bites is the best protection.  Individuals can protect themselves from bites in several ways:

  • Cover up when going outside between the hours of dusk and dawn. Remember to wear:
    • a long-sleeved shirt or jacket and long pants (tucked into your socks for extra protection)
    • light-coloured clothing
  • Clean up:
    • once a week, get rid of standing water around your home in places such as bird baths, eaves troughs, wheelbarrows and flower pots etc. (mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water, even small amounts)
    • keep bushes and shrubs clear of overgrowth and debris (adult mosquitoes like to rest in dense shrubbery)
    • turn your compost pile often
  • Use insect repellent containing DEET. (DEET is a powerful chemical. Read the label carefully and apply as directed.  You can also ask your pharmacist for help when choosing a DEET product.)

For additional information on protection measures against West Nile virus such as reducing mosquito breeding sites and the safe use of insect repellents, please visit www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca.



For further information, please contact:

Brittany Cadence
Communications Manager
705-743-1000, ext. 391

June 12, 2017 – Today Peterborough Public Health is issuing the first Heat Warning of the season.  Temperatures are expected to reach near 31 degrees Monday with an overnight low near 20 degrees Monday night.  This current heatwave has been spreading across southern Ontario for more than two days and is expected to affect the Peterborough area today only.  Temperatures are expected to fall below heat alert criteria on Tuesday.

Heat Warning 2 DaysPeople suffer heat-related illnesses when their body temperature quickly rises and they are unable to cool themselves. The risk of heat-related illness increases with the amount of time spent in the heat, the temperature and an individual’s sensitivity to heat. If you feel faint, find it hard to breathe, or feel confused and disoriented because of the heat, call your doctor. In an emergency, call 911.

Please remember to call or visit family, friends and neighbours, especially seniors who live on their own, to make sure they are alright.

Drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty. This decreases your risk of dehydration. Thirst is not a good indicator of dehydration.

Peterborough Public Health issues warnings for high heat or humidity that is expected to last two or more days.  Peterborough Public Health follows a provincial Harmonized Heat Warning and Information System for dealing with heat events affecting Curve Lake and Hiawatha First Nations, and the City and County of Peterborough.

Peterborough Public Health staff will monitor this system to determine when the Medical Officer of Health should declare a heat warning or extended heat warning.  This coordinated provincial system provides a consistent approach for processing and issuing heat warnings in Ontario.  It also provides evidence-based heat warning triggers which are founded on the association between temperature, humidex and mortality.

Extreme heat events are a potentially significant health risk and can have a severe impact on the health of vulnerable populations including infants, the elderly, shut-ins, persons with chronic diseases, the morbidly obese and the marginally housed.  Heat-related illnesses such as dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke are preventable.

Extreme heat is often accompanied by poor air quality.  Peterborough Public Health encourages you to monitor the Air Quality Health Index found as a link on the Ministry of the Environment & Climate Change’s website www.airqualityontario.com and plan outdoor activities accordingly.




For further information, please contact:

Wanda Tonus
Public Health Inspector
705-743-1000, ext. 285

 March 22, 2017 – On-site Breastfeeding Support Also Available for Nursing Moms

Peterborough Public Health proudly announced today the opening of it170322 Breastfeeding Rooms new public breastfeeding room at its Jackson Square location on 185 King St.

“We’re excited to offer breastfeeding moms a comfortable, clean and dedicated space to nurse their babies when they’re downtown,” said Dawn Hanes, Public Health Nurse.  “This new room is large enough to accommodate other children and family members. Also, on-site breastfeeding support is available on Monday and Wednesday mornings from Public Health Nurses, if needed.”

The new breastfeeding room is found on the main floor just off the clinic waiting room and is available on a first come, first serve basis for families.  It is a home-like environment with a door that closes for privacy and a couch and tables.  The room is open during regular business hours Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Hanes noted that this room adds to a growing number of dedicated breastfeeding rooms throughout the community, including those found at Lansdowne Place, Sears, and Peterborough Square.  “It’s really important that breastfeeding moms feel welcome and supported everywhere they go.  Breastfeeding is a natural way to protect babies from diseases, and it promotes emotional and brain development. Also, the longer a woman breastfeeds, the more health benefits she and her baby will receive.”

Breastfeeding support is available by calling the Family Healthline at 705-743-1000 for all parents who live in Curve Lake and Hiawatha First Nations, and the County and City of Peterborough. Parents with breastfeeding questions or concerns can also contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or visit www.ontario.ca/breastfeeding.


For further information, please contact:

Dawn Hanes, RN
Public Health Nurse
705-743-1000, ext. 289

February 16, 2017 –  Families Encouraged to Give Voice to Literacy Skills by Marking World Read Aloud Day on February 16

Sounds like it’s a good day to read aloud and share stories with your child.

That’s the message Peterborough Public Health is sending to local families on World Read Aloud Day, which is being marked today (Thursday, February 16). The global awareness day celebrates the power of words and the importance of supporting literacy skills in young children.

“Literacy is crucial for a child’s emotional and physical well-being, as well as future success,” says Leisa Baker, a Public Health Nurse with Peterborough Public Health. “Reading aloud supports literacy skills by helping children learn new words, understand story themes, and improve listening skills.”

To mark World Read Aloud Day in their community, local families, educators, child-care providers and others can get connected and find out activities by visiting the special website (www.litworld.org/wrad) set aside to mark the day. Baker also provides a few suggestions on how adults can create a powerful and memorable read aloud experience with children.

“Read the story beforehand, so you are familiar with it and can stop to ask questions of your child to spur interest and engagement in the plot,” she says. “Be animated too, by changing your voice during the read aloud to match the expressions of the characters and emotions of the story. This will help to bring the text to life!”

Using different voices for different characters can also help children recognize the dialogue in the story, and better understand a character’s traits, Baker adds.

To further support literacy skills in children, area residents can visit Kid Talk (www.kidtalk.on.ca), an online portal supported by the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit, Peterborough Public Health, Five Counties Children Centre and the Northumberland Child Development Centre. People concerned about a child’s speech skills can also call Peterborough Public Health at 705-743-1000 and speak to a Public Health Nurse.


For further information, please contact:
Leisa Baker, Public Health Nurse
705-743-1000, ext. 312

December 8, 2016 –  Family Health Team, PRHC and Peterborough Public Health working together
to ensure your healthcare needs are covered over the holidays

(Peterborough, ON) – As flu season gets underway and seasonal illnesses begin to present themselves, Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC), Peterborough Public Health and the Peterborough Family Health Team are again working together to prepare for an expected
increase in patient volumes in the coming weeks.
For the second year in a row, PRHC will open an additional 24 inpatient beds from December 2016 through to March 2017 to enhance patient care during the Health Centre’s busiest time of year.

“As usual at this time of year, we ask the people of our community to assess the urgency of their illness before deciding whether to seek care with their family practitioner, a community clinic or the Emergency Department,” said Dr. Mark Troughton, Chief and Medical Director, Emergency Department (ED) at PRHC. “We also ask for your patience if it takes longer than usual for a physician to see you due to an increase in the number patients coming through the department.” “Visitors to the ED are encouraged to wear a mask if they have any flu symptoms, such as cough, runny nose, sore throat, muscle pain or headache, in order to protect others from potential exposure to the virus,” added Dr. Troughton. Masks are available inside the ED entrance.
PRHC would also like to remind the community that we now offer a Pediatric Urgent Care Clinic for children under the age of 18 with urgent but non-life-threatening injuries or illnesses. The clinic, led by nurse practitioners and supported by pediatricians, will offer extended afterhours care throughout the month of December.
For more information and clinic hours: www.prhc.on.ca/cms/pop-urgent-care

The Peterborough Family Health Team reminds the community that family practitioners at clinics in the city and county will be offering same day appointments and extended-hours clinics. They encourage residents to consider these options before visiting PRHC’s Emergency
“The Peterborough Family Health Team is here to care for you and your family, so please contact your doctor’s office to find out what is available to you,” says Dr. Kaetlen Wilson, Medical Director for the Family Health Team.
If you determine that your medical situation does not require urgent care, please consider the
following options:

  • Call your family doctor or nurse practitioner – clinic information will be offered via the
    office voice mail message
  • Visit www.peterboroughfht.com for clinic hours and information
  • Speak to a registered nurse by calling Telehealth Ontario (24 hours) at 1-866-797-0000

With the first cases of flu now confirmed in our community and across the province, Peterborough Public Health reminds residents that getting immunized is their best defence against the flu.

The flu shot is free and widely available at many local pharmacies, doctors’ offices and walk-in clinics. Residents can easily find out where the flu shot is available by visiting the Flu Clinic Locator at www.ontario.ca/flu. Peterborough Public Health continues to offer flu shot
appointments for patients without a family physician by calling 705-743-1000, ext. 349.
“As Influenza circulates in the Peterborough community, the flu shot may help keep you well over the holidays. It also prevents you from spreading it to people who are at the greatest risk of getting seriously ill if they get the flu – seniors and young children,” says Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health, adding the flu shot is recommended for everyone over six months of age. Dr. Salvaterra also advises residents to avoid delaying getting the flu shot, because it takes two weeks to become effective, so sooner is better to reduce the chance of falling ill over the holiday season.

Peterborough Public Health, the Peterborough Family Health Team and PRHC would like to extend our wishes to the community for a safe, happy and healthy holiday season.
For more information:
Brittany Cadence, Communications Manager
Peterborough Public Health
Tel: 705-743-1000, ext. 391

Renee Oortwyn, Operations Assistant
Peterborough Family Health Team
Tel: 705-749-1564, ext. 316

Michelene Ough, Communications Lead
Peterborough Regional Health Centre
Tel: 705-743-2121, ext. 4259

November 24, 2016 – On-Call Service Remains Active for Public Health Emergencies

Peterborough Public Health will be temporarily closed on Tuesday, November 29 for an all-day professional development event. This affects both its location at 185 King St. and the downtown Community Dental Health Centre in Peterborough Square at 360 George St. N.
Both locations will re-open and resume full operations on Wednesday, November 30 at 8:30 a.m.
Public health services and programs will be impacted as follows on Tuesday, November 29:

  • no clinics or classes running or appointment bookings (including sexual health, travel and immunization clinics, food handler courses, and prenatal classes)*
  • no sewage system application submissions or responses
  • no vaccine pick-ups

For those looking to book appointments, please call back the next day and do not leave messages. If you have symptoms or feel your matter is medically urgent, please seek medical attention from your healthcare provider, or visit a walk-in clinic or the emergency department.

We apologize for any inconvenience and remain available to respond for public health emergencies. Non-urgent messages can be left on staff voicemails and will be followed up the next day. Local healthcare providers and community partners have also been apprised.
For all public health emergencies please call our answering service at 705-760-8127 to reach an on-call manager. Public health emergencies include:

  • reportable disease and outbreak notifications
  • emergency vaccine distribution
  • Rabies reports
  • food-borne illness
  • urgent health hazard complaints
  • boil-water advisories
  • septic system emergencies

    The Jackson Square building at 185 King St. remains open for other tenants, however all Peterborough Public Health Offices will be closed that day only.

    For further information, please contact:
    Brittany Cadence, Communications Manager
    705-743-1000, ext. 391

November 18, 2016 – Peterborough Public Health Releases 2015 Annual Report Video

Peterborough Public Health released its 2015 Annual Report video today to celebrate the many public health accomplishments made that year.HT-161116-Annual-Report-Video

“2015 was a year of major milestones and we are pleased to share these along with how we empower others to live healthier lives in this new video,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health. “In addition to our daily work in the community, this video captures the exciting transition to our new home at 185 King St. and how our new location is quickly becoming a community hub where people come together to improve the quality of life for all.”

Dr. Salvaterra noted that last year when Peterborough Public Health released its annual report in video format for the first time, it received more than 650 views. “We learned how using video was a far more effective way to reach residents to report on our progress and it also better showcases the many contributions our staff make every day to the public health of our community.”

The video is available on www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca where viewers can also find the 2015 audited financial statements. Community groups and local agencies are encouraged to request a presentation by Peterborough Public Health staff to share the video and discuss current strategies to advance public health in Curve Lake and Hiawatha First Nations, and in the County and City of Peterborough.

For further information, please contact:
Brittany Cadence
Communications Manager
705-743-1000, ext. 391

November 7, 2016 – Residents Encouraged to Participate in Important Telephone Survey November 7-December 18

Leger, a national research firm, will be conducting a survey on behalf of Peterborough Public Health between November 7 and December 18, 2016. A random selection of residents between 18 and 70 years of age will be asked about their employment experiences. Leger interviewers will call individuals in the County of Peterborough, City of Peterborough and Hiawatha and Curve Lake First Nations to conduct this telephone interview.

Peterborough Public Health, along with its community partners, is interested in collecting information that will provide a local picture of the working and employment conditions faced by workers.  The information will be used for future decision-making towards program planning, education and policy work. The survey is confidential and the individual responses, which will be grouped for analysis, will be protected under privacy laws. While participation in the survey is voluntary, it is important that all selected households take part to ensure the information accurately reflects the views of the residents in this community.

This research project is supported by many community partners with some financial assistance from the City of Peterborough (Social Services) and the Peterborough and District Labour Council.

Thank you in advance for your participation in this important survey.


For further information, please contact:

Monique Beneteau
Health Promoter
705-743-1000, ext. 309