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Porcupine Health Unit releases further information regarding first COVID-19 Case

Timmins, Ontario - Friday, March 20, 2020

This afternoon, Dr. Lianne Catton, Medical Officer of Health, Porcupine Health Unit released more information about the health unit’s first confirmed case of COVID-19. “Through our investigation, we have learned that there may have been potential exposure at a Stag and Doe, held on March 7, 2020, at the McIntyre Ballroom in Timmins. Although not likely infectious at the event, as a precaution, we are asking all attendees to self-monitor for 14 days, which ends on Saturday, March 21, 2020. If you attended the event and are experiencing a fever, cough and/or difficulty breathing, self-isolate at home and call the Porcupine Health Unit COVID-19 Information Line at 705-267-1181.”

Dr. Catton added that the case is most likely related to international travel. She said that the individual, a male in his 50s, left the country prior to the travel ban, has followed public health guidance and remains self-isolated at home. “We will continue to conduct the required follow-up needed and will provide updates regularly.”

“We are urging the public to respect the privacy and confidentiality of this individual, and the process as a whole. This confirmed case was not unexpected, but it clearly reinforces the need for all residents to follow public health recommendations. Social distancing — avoiding crowds and close contact with those outside of your immediate family, as well as staying home as much as possible are critical measures for all – even if you feel well.”

At this time, Dr. Catton advises all international travellers to self-isolate for 14 days upon return to Canada, and contact the Porcupine Health Unit if any cough, shortness of breath and/or fever. She reminds residents that the infection is often mild in nature, but that some members of our community are more susceptible and also more at risk. “We need to work together,” she said. “Wash your hands well and often, stay home if you’re sick and watch out for one another — take care.” She adds that spreading false or misleading information, although unintentional, can just amplify the uneasiness and stress of others. “Every community member plays an essential role in reducing the spread and impact of COVID-19 in the PHU area and protecting those at greater risk for this infection.”

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.