NEWMARKET - Dr. K. Helena Jaczek, Medical Officer of Health for York Region, offers the following safety information for those still affected by the power outage.
- Emergency Medical Services is in full operation, able to assist on all emergency calls as usual, working closely and in constant contact with all hospitals
- All emergency departments are fully operational. No elective surgeries or diagnostic procedures. York Central dialysis is operational. We suggest if you have been scheduled for a procedure to call in advance, to confirm.
- Community Care Access Centre … If you are a client of CCAC and have not already been notified, please know staff are having difficulty getting to their client homes and to be patient.
Long Term Care:
- York Region's 2 long term care facilities are operating on back-up power and in full operation
- Our understanding is that all other Long Term Care facilities across the Region are, as well
- Water … If you are on a municipal water source your water is safe to use. Use tap water now, and hang onto bottled water sources as a reserve. If you are on private well and your water supply was temporarily down, we recommend that you either boil it, use bottled water or chlorinate it
- Food safety … Food that has been stored or prepared in an unsafe manner may cause serious illness. Food can be divided into two safety categories, either non-hazardous or hazardous.
Vegetables, fruits, breads, dry pastas and rice, flour, canned goods and hard cheeses.
These foods can be eaten as long as they were not contaminated with sewage, water or drippings from meats or fish.
Poultry, beef, pork, fish, cream, eggs, milk, cooked pasta and rice, and soft cheeses.
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These foods must be kept at refrigerated temperatures (4 degrees Celsius or lower or kept frozen at -18 degrees Celsius or lower).
- Frozen hazardous foods: If thawed and kept at temperatures higher than 4 degrees Celsius for longer than 4 hours they must not be eaten and should be thrown out.
- Frozen foods that appear soft to the touch but still have ice crystals in the food product can be eaten immediately or refrozen, if possible.
- Refrigerated hazardous foods left at room temperature above 4 degrees Celsius for longer than 4-6 hours must be discarded and not eaten regardless of how you may intend to heat it or process it.
How long is food safe in refrigerators and freezers during a power outage?
Within 12 hours of a power blackout:
- Perishable food such as dairy products, cold cuts, eggs and meat should keep safely in the refrigerator
- Food in most freezers should remain frozen for 24-48 hours without power
- Avoid opening the refrigerator or freezer door as this will cause the temperature to rise and make the food less safe
12 hours or more without power:
- If perishable food thaws in the freezer, it can be used safety if it is kept cold. Cook it within one day
- Thawed meat which has not been kept cold should not be consumed
Tips for cooking meat safety without power:
- If you are cooking meat on an outdoor grill ensure that meat is cooked thoroughly. Running juice should be clear and there should be no evidence of blood or pink meat
- Utensils and dishes used in preparing raw meat should not be reused for the cooked meat. These utensils and dishes should not be used again until they have been washed and sanitized with soap and hot water
- As common practice, thoroughly wash hands with soap and water when preparing food
Important information about infant formula:
If your child is formula-fed, please purchase single-use containers of formula or use powder mix with municipal tap water. If you are not on a municipal water source, please boil water for one minute before using. As always, discard unused formula after one hour.
Food that has been stored or prepared in an unsafe manner may cause serious illness. Typical symptoms of food-borne illness include sudden onset of stomach cramps accompanied with diarrhea, nausea, fever, chills, headache and vomiting. If you experience any of these symptoms, please seek medical attention.
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Message to physicians about vaccines:
Please discontinue routine immunizations over the weekend. Refer all vaccination emergencies to the local hospital.
Contact the Cold Chain Nurses on Monday at 905-895-4511 Ext. 4020
Finally, prepare yourself for the possibility of the power outage continuing:
- Stock up on flashlights and batteries.
- Purchase non-hazardous food supplies and bottled water. There are some grocery stores that are open, including:
Carrville Food Centre
Harry's No Frills
Fortino's (Maple and Woodbridge)
Longo's (8401 Weston Road, Woodbridge)
Dominion (9200 Weston Road, Woodbridge)
Costco (71 Colossus Place, Woodbridge)
T&T Supermarket (Promenade Circle)
For additional store openings contact Health Connection.
For more information contact York Region Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or visit www.region.york.on.ca