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Successful reopening across Porcupine Health Unit Communities is a shared responsibility

Timmins, Ontario - Thursday, June 11, 2020

Dr. Lianne Catton, the Medical Officer of Health for the Porcupine Health Unit, said today, that the opening of more businesses and public spaces in the PHU area, announced earlier this week, is good news for residents and local businesses. However, she notes, “the work is not over. It is critical to recognize our shared responsibility to ensure safe and successful reopening”.

“I would like to acknowledge and thank all community members across the PHU region for their hard work and sacrifices made to get us to this point. We understand that is has been challenging to stay home, to miss loved ones and life events, and to close businesses,” said Dr. Catton, “These actions have made a difference. They have led to the positive results that are allowing us to move forward. 

Dr. Catton recognizes that with the local trend of fewer cases, and the ability to move into the next phase of reopening, some may think that we can go back to our normal lives; but, she warned, that’s not the case. “COVID is not over. We all must remain committed to the public health recommendations. Individually, and together, as workplaces, as communities, as families and friends – we must ensure the steps and precautions are in place and followed, to protect community members from COVID-19 and prevent tragic outcomes.”

Our communities have demonstrated success with these measures.  It is critical for us all to continue to:

  • Keep 2 metres or 6 feet away from others;
  • Use a face covering when distancing is a challenge;
  • Use proper coughing and sneezing etiquette;
  • Washing your hands often, with soap and water or hand sanitizer;
  • Avoid touching your face; and
  • Stay home if you have any symptoms – and get tested.

As outlined in the Framework for Reopening our Province (https://ontario.ca/page/reopening-ontario), certain businesses will be able to open this Friday, providing they have implemented infection prevention procedures to protect staff, customers and clients. Likewise, we all have a responsibility to ensure we are following the precautions to reduce the risk for ourselves and others. It is a ‘new norm’.  Plan for extra time that may be needed to run errands and for shopping, be mindful of others and always maintain physical distancing.  “Stage 2 of the framework presents new challenges for businesses,” Dr. Catton said, “whether they are re-opening now, or have been open throughout the pandemic. She adds, “We ask that the public be both supportive and patient with local businesses and each other as we all adjust to this new normal.”

Dr. Catton reports that health unit staff continue to provide guidance and support to local workplaces, businesses and the general public in the implementation of the steps to reduce the risk for all. Several resources are available in the Businesses and Workplaces section of the PHU’s website (https://phu.fyi/covid-business). “We need everyone to continue to work together, to remain focused on the measures that will save lives and enable us to move through stage 2 successfully. Our first priority is to make sure our communities are supported in preventing new cases and the spread of COVID-19. The Porcupine Health Unit monitors the COVID-19 situation locally, remains available and ready to respond to any cases and committed to sharing information to protect all community members. With the ongoing commitment of community members, we are hopeful we can move forward in a mindful manner. Dr. Catton concluded by saying, “We all share this responsibility and must each do our part to keep our families and loved ones safe.”