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Fourth Case of COVID-19 in the Porcupine Health Unit Area

Timmins, Ontario - Monday, March 23, 2020

Today, Dr. Lianne Catton, Medical Officer of Health, is reporting that a man in his 70s is the fourth confirmed case of COVID-19 in the Porcupine Health Unit (PHU) region. The case is travel-related and not related to other local cases.

This individual travelled on both international and domestic flights. Dr. Catton advises, “Anyone who sat in the rows identified below should self-isolate for 14 days and monitor for any symptoms (cough, fever and/or shortness of breath). If you have any symptoms, please stay home, and call the PHU or your primary care provider.”

  • March 12, 2020: Houston into Toronto Pearson International Airport on Air Canada flight AC594. Passengers in rows 20-24 and flight crew that may have served these rows are considered close contacts of the confirmed case. These individuals are directed to self-isolate for 14 days from their arrival in Canada, and contact their local public health authority if any symptoms.
  • March 12, 2020: Toronto Pearson International Airport to Timmins on Air Canada, flight AC8291. Passengers in rows 5-9 and flight crew that may have served these rows are considered close contacts of the confirmed case and are directed to self-isolate for 14 days and contact the Porcupine Health Unit if any symptoms.

The individual was assessed and tested at the Timmins COVID-19 Assessment Centre on March 20, 2020. Staff took all necessary precautions for infection control, testing, and assessment. The individual followed the directions of public health and remains in self-isolation at home, with monitoring by the PHU. The PHU conducts a thorough case investigation to help identify anyone who may be a close contact. If you are considered a close contact of this or any case, you will receive a call from the PHU.

“Seeing a travel-related case in our community is an important reminder that it is critical for every individual who has travelled outside of Canada to self-isolate for 14 days to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Catton.

Dr. Catton stresses that the evolving nature of COVID-19 requires our immediate attention. “We urge each and every community member to practice social distancing by keeping a minimum of 2 metres between themselves and others; stay home, and limit potential exposure to COVID-19. Social distancing is key – we need to work together to reduce the opportunity for the virus to spread from person to person and to protect our vulnerable community members.”

The Porcupine Health Unit is located in Northeastern Ontario, serving the entire Cochrane District and Hornepayne, in Algoma District. The main office is located in Timmins, Ontario, with branch offices in Cochrane, Hearst, Hornepayne, Iroquois Falls, Kapuskasing, Matheson, Moosonee and Smooth Rock Falls.

Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.

The Porcupine Health Unit COVID-19 Information Line

  • If you are experiencing fever, dry cough and/or shortness of breath, call the PHU COVID-19 Info Line at 1-800-461-1818 extension 2919.
  • Available Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
  • Callers can leave messages and PHU staff will call back within 24 hours.
  • At times, call volumes are high, and your patience is appreciated.

COVID-19 Assessment Centre: Intrepid Place in Timmins

  • Further assessment and testing.
  • Referrals by health care providers required.
  • By appointment only. Walk-ins will not be seen.
  • Not everyone who attends the clinic will be tested.

Prevention Measures

Take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and others to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer often
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
  • Cough into your sleeve or tissue
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Practice social distancing – stay home as much as possible, limit visitors to your home.
  • Do your best to keep at least two metres away from others

Symptoms of COVID-19

  • Fever, cough and difficulty breathing
  • Complications can include serious conditions, like pneumonia or kidney failure, and in some cases, death.

 IMPORTANT: If you suspect you have symptoms of COVID-19

  • Call the Porcupine Health Unit at 705-267-1181 or toll-free 1-800-461-1818.
  • Be sure to mention your symptoms and your travel history, including the countries you visited.
  • If you are ill and must visit a health care professional, call ahead and tell them if you have a respiratory illness.
  • If you need immediate medical attention, call 911 and mention your travel history and symptoms.