Skip to content

Infection Prevention & Control

Renfrew County and District Health Unit works to increase public awareness of how to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

Healthy habits are important to protect yourself and others from potentially harmful germs. Germs are types of microbes, such as bacteria or viruses, which can cause diseases. They are spread directly from person to person, or indirectly by touching a surface that has been contaminated with them.  Harmful germs can sometimes lead to serious illness, particularly in vulnerable populations such as young children, the elderly, or people with underlying medical conditions. To reduce the spread of germs and to prevent yourself and others from getting sick, Renfrew County and District Health Unit recommends that you:

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer
  2. Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your arm, not your hand
  3. Stay home if you are sick
  4. Get immunized

Clean your hands

Hand hygiene is the most important way to prevent you and others from getting sick due to an infection. Hand hygiene refers to the cleaning of your hands by either washing them or applying alcohol-based hand rub. Consistently practicing good hand hygiene is essential to reduce the spread of infection in your at home, in daycares, schools, workplaces, and public places.

Hand Hygiene Resources

To learn how to sanitize hands using Alcohol-Based Hand Rub watch this video

Learn how to sanitize with Alcohol-Based Hand Rub (PDF)

To learn how to wash your hands watch this video.

Learn how to hand wash with soap and water (PDF)

Cover your cough

Click here to learn how to cover your cough (PDF)

Serious respiratory illnesses like the flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and whooping cough are spread by:

  • Coughing or sneezing
  • Touching contaminated surfaces, then bringing your hands to your face

To help stop the spread of germs:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve – not your hands
  • Put your used tissue in the wastebasket and wash your hands as soon as possible

Get immunized

Immunization is also called vaccination, needles and shots. Getting immunized is a safe and effective way of preventing many serious diseases that are contagious. See our immunization page.

Avoid close contact

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

Stay home when you are sick

If possible, stay home from work, school and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth

Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.

RCDHU – COVID-19 Protective Eyewear Guidance

Physical Distancing

What is Physical Distancing?

In order to decrease transmission of infectious diseases such as COVID-19 in Renfrew County and District (RCD), Renfrew County and District Health Unit recommends that all residents of RCD practice physical distancing. Physical distancing involves taking steps to limit the number of people you come into close contact with. This will help to limit the spread in the community.

Physical distancing includes, but is not limited to:

  • Talk to your supervisor, manager, or employer about the possibility of working from home where possible.
  • Avoid sending children to daycare, if you are able to.
  • Avoiding visits to Long-Term Care Homes, Retirement Homes, Supportive Housing, Hospices and other congregate care settings unless the visit is absolutely essential.
  • Avoiding non-essential trips in the community.
  • If you have to go into the community for an essential trip via taxi or rideshare, be sure to keep the windows down.
  • If possible, limit or consider cancelling group gatherings.
  • If you have meetings planned, consider doing them virtually instead of in person.
  • Whenever possible, spend time outside and in settings where people can maintain a 1-2 metre (3-6 feet) distance from each other.

Please note: that these guidelines are not meant to say “you must stay in your home!”

You can still go outside to take a walk, go to the park, or walk your dog. If you need groceries, go to the store. We simply recommend that while outside you make sure to avoid crowds and maintain a distance of 1-2 metres (3-6 feet) from those around you.

More information about infection prevention and control:

Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care – Diseases and Conditions

Caring for Kids – Illnesses and Infections




Influenza is a serious illness that affects the airways and spreads easily from infected people through coughing and sneezing. Influenza can cause severe, life‐threatening illness for people in high‐risk groups. People at high risk are under 24 months, age 65 years and over, pregnant women and anyone with chronic health conditions.

Flu shots are available free for all Ontario residents over 6 months of age.

Flu shots are available through your local pharmacy, health care provider, and Renfrew County and District Health Unit.

For more information about the flu, visit the following websites:

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Government of Canada

Canadian Paediatric Society


Barry’s Bay Family Dental Centre

Initial IPAC Lapse Report

  • Name of premise under investigation: Barry’s Bay Family Dental Centre
  • Address of premise under investigation: 14 Martin St, Barry’s Bay, ON K0J 1B0
  • Type of premise: Dental Clinic
  • Date Board of Health became aware of IPAC lapse: January 03, 2023
  • Date IPAC lapse was linked to the premise: January 06, 2023
  • Source of IPAC lapse information: Complaint
  • Date of initial and final report posting: January 16, 2023
  • Date of initial report update(s): N/A
  • Summary of IPAC lapse: Critical instruments placed in the sterilizer the night prior were removed from the unit the following morning without a sterilizing cycle being run. The cassettes were labelled with the same batch number at the daily Bowie-Dick test. Visual verification of chemical integrators did not take place and unsterilized instruments were used on clients.
  • Referral to a regulatory college(s) (if applicable): Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario notified. Ontario Ministry of Health notified.
  • Brief description of the corrective measures required to address the lapse:
    1. Ensure all staff involved in reprocessing of instruments have appropriate training
    2. Modify record keeping to eliminate risk of batch numbers being used for more than one type of sterilizer cycle (i.e. instruments, Bowie-Dick test, Spore Tests)
    3. Ensure indicators are visually checked and validated before instruments are used
    4. Conduct self audits to ensure consistent adherence to Best Practices for Dental IPAC
    5. Dental Clinic required to notify affected clients
  • Method used to correct identified deficiencies:
    • Site visit to observe practices and record keeping
    • Education provided at time of visit
    • Written recommendations provided
  • Date order or directive issued: N/A
  • Contact for further information: 613-732-3629 ext. 505 or

Final IPAC Lapse Report

  • Date of final report posting: February 10, 2023
  • Brief description of the corrective measures required to address the lapse:
    1. Ensure all staff involved in reprocessing of instruments have appropriate training
    2. Modify record keeping to eliminate risk of batch numbers being used for more than one type of sterilizer cycle (i.e. instruments, Bowie-Dick test, Spore Tests)
    3. Ensure indicators are visually checked and validated before instruments are used
    4. Conduct self audits to ensure consistent adherence to Best Practices for Dental IPAC
    5. Dental Clinic required to notify affected clients
    6. Site visit conducted by public health inspectors to ensure recommendations were implemented for sterilizer record keeping and to obtain client phone contact information for those directly impacted
  • Method used to correct identified deficiencies
    • Site visit to observe practices and record keeping
    • Education provided at time of visit
    • Written recommendations provided
    • A second site visit conducted to ensure recommendations implemented
    • Phone calls to all impacted clients to verify they had received written notice from Dental Clinic regarding potential exposure. All clients informed by letter from Dental Clinic.
  • Date order or directive issued: N/A
  • Contact for further information: 613-732-3629, ext. 505 or

Personal services are businesses that offer services such as tattooing, body and ear piercing, electrolysis, micro-pigmentation, acupuncture, manicures, pedicures, hairdressing and barbering, waxing, facials, and tanning. Public Health Inspectors enforce Ontario Regulation 136/18 and inspect these businesses at least once a year. Businesses that operate out of a private home are inspected too. New operators of personal service settings must inform the health unit before opening for business by filling in this form (Notice of Intention to Operate a Personal Service Setting Premise) and emailing it to .

Diseases can be spread in these settings so it is important to use proper infection control practices. Public Health Inspectors use the Infection Prevention and Control Best Practices for Personal Service Settings (PDF, 74 pages, 300 KB)  to guide their inspections. This document sets out standards for cleaning, disinfection and other practices to prevent the spread of blood-borne diseases and other types of infections.

Public Health Inspectors are a valuable and knowledgeable resource that owners/operators and their staff can use to provide a safe environment for their clients.

For more information about infection control in personal service settings, call 613-732-3629 extension 505.

To view personal service setting inspections, click here.

RCDHU resource: How to clean instruments in personal service settings

RCDHU resource: Brief Guide for Opening a Personal Service Setting (Mar 2022)

What is Rabies?

Rabies is a disease caused by a virus that affects the brain. It is spread between warm-blooded animals and could be spread to humans from an infected animal through a bite or other contact with the animal’s saliva. Rabies is a very serious disease; if an infected person is not treated, rabies is almost always fatal. In Ontario, rabies is most commonly found in bats, raccoons, foxes, coyotes and skunks. Domestic animals, including dogs, cats, ferrets and rabbits can also carry the virus so pet vaccination is important.

Symptoms usually appear three to eight weeks after the bite, but they can appear as soon as nine days afterwards. Rabies is usually fatal unless treatment starts before symptoms appear. Symptoms usually begin with:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • General weakness or discomfort

As rabies progresses, more symptoms appear and may include:

  • Insomnia – trouble sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Partial paralysis
  • Excitation and hallucinations
  • Agitation
  • Hypersalivation – increase in saliva
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Hydrophobia – fear of water or unable to drink

Death usually occurs within days of the start of these symptoms.

Protect yourself, children and pets from animal bites:

There are dozens of preventable animal bites each year in Renfrew County and District. Always use caution around animals:

  • Do not approach a dog with a Yellow Ribbon or collar – give them space
  • Do not pet wild animals, stray cats and dogs
  • Always keep your dogs on a leash while outdoors unless in designated dog parks
  • Know the local by-laws on animal control and licensing
  • It is a legal requirement in Ontario to vaccinate your pets (cats/dogs/ferrets) with rabies vaccine
  • If there is a bat in your home:
    • Do not attempt to touch the bat as there is risk of a bite or scratch
    • Keep the door closed with an open window and the room lights ON to let the bat escape to the outside
    • If the bat does not leave, contact your local municipal animal control or a pest management company to capture and release the bat
    • If you or someone else wakes up to find a bat in the room (dead or alive), immediately call your health care provider or RCDHU to speak with a public health inspector for an assessment.
  • Rabies is a 100% fatal disease when not treated early enough

If you are bitten or scratched by an animal:

If you are a victim of an animal bite, follow the below steps:

  • Clean your wound immediately with soap and running water for 15 minutes
  • Gather the pet owner’s contact information, if possible
  • Try and remember what the animal looks like
  • Visit your local hospital or speak to a health care provider to discuss treatment
  • Inform RCDHU of the incident and follow the instructions given to you by a Public Health Inspector

Animal bite incidents must be reported to RCDHU immediately using the Contact with Suspected Rabid Animal Reporting Form.

If you are the owner of an animal involved in a biting or scratching incident:

  • Provide your name, address and phone number to the person who was bitten or scratched. Your information will help Public Health Inspectors investigate the animal scratch/bite when it is reported to RCDHU. This will also help to avoid unnecessary rabies treatment for the person who was scratched/bitten.
  • Follow RCDHU’s instructions on 10-day animal confinement. Animal confinement can take place at home or a kennel.
  • Public Health Inspectors will release the dog after 10 days if the animal is alive and appears healthy.
  • Release of the animal from confinement indicates that the animal was NOT infected with rabies at the time of the incident.
  • Keep your dogs, cats, ferrets and livestock up-to-date with rabies vaccine.

Preventing Human Cases of Rabies

RCDHU works to prevent human cases of rabies through the following activities:

  • Public Health Inspectors investigate animal bites and scratches that are reported to RCDHU. The owner has to put the suspect animal into quarantine. This is necessary to ensure that the rabies virus was not present in the saliva of the animal when the person was bitten or scratched. The animal is checked at the end of the quarantine period to make sure it is free of rabies symptoms.
  • Monitoring the type, number and location of animals that have tested positive for rabies in Renfrew County and District and surrounding areas
  • Having a Rabies Contingency Plan and keeping it up to date
  • Investigating when people are exposed to animals suspected of having rabies
  • Having a supply of rabies vaccine
  • Consulting with doctors in deciding when there is a need to give the vaccine to a person who has been exposed to an animal suspected of having rabies

If you have questions or are looking for additional information regarding rabies, please contact RCDHU’s Healthy Environments department at 613-732-3629 ext. 505 or email

Yellow Ribbon Campaign – Animal Bite Awareness

Yellow is the colour of caution on traffic lights, and is now a warning sign to give space to dogs and other animals that need it.

RCDHU is encouraging the use of a yellow ribbon (or bandana, bow, or similar marker) tied to a dog’s leash or collar to remind people to give the animal space. This is part of RCDHU’s rabies awareness campaign to reduce the number of reported animal bites in the region.

Yellow = CAUTION. If you see yellow on a pet, give the animal space!

For more information, please visit Yellow Ribbon Campaign – Animal Bite Awareness.

What's Happening Soon

View Our Calendar

Pembroke Office

TEL: 613-732-3629 or 1-800-267-1097