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COVID-19: Our Programs and Services

Porcupine Health Unit Programs and Services during COVID-19

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has meant many changes. The Porcupine Health Unit plays a significant role in protecting the health and well-being of our communities during the pandemic. As a result, the health unit has had to reduce many programs and services to focus on COVID-19. We are slowly resuming some of our services but how we deliver them looks different.  

What to expect

Before coming to the health unit office (this can be when scheduling an appointment):

All clients will go through an active screening.

If the client screens positive:

  • The appointment will be rescheduled more than 14 days after the onset of symptoms.
  • Staff will provide the number for the local assessment centre if available or offer to arrange testing, ensure safe arrangements for travel to get tested, and provide instructions on how to self-isolate.
  • Clients with severe symptoms will be directed to the emergency department.

If the client screens negative:

  • The scheduled appointment can occur.
  • If appropriate, health teaching will occur over the phone, prior to the appointment to limit the amount of face-to-face time.
  • The appointment date and time will be confirmed.
  • Any personal health information (e.g., phone number, health care number) may be confirmed over the phone prior to the appointment.

When arriving at the health unit office:

  • Clients will be asked to sanitize their hands and wear a non-medical mask or face covering. Exemptions include children under two years, and individuals who have difficulty breathing, communication difficulties, or those who cannot remove their masks without assistance.
  • Clients will undergo active screening for COVID-19. If positive, the steps as listed above will be followed. If negative, the appointment will take place.
  • Only 1 person is permitted to the appointment except for children and those with disabilities.
  • If the client has to remain in the health unit following their appointment (e.g., vaccine), they will be waiting in the clinic room and not the reception area.

Programs and services

As we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, our programs and services continue to be reassessed and modified as needed to keep our communities safe. Review the current list below to learn what PHU services are available. Check with your local health unit office as not all services are available in each community. Staff is available to answer your questions and to help. Call us at 1-800-461-1818 or your local office to schedule an appointment or to get further information.

Programs and services Available Suspended
Sexual health clinic
  • in-person appointments available (pap tests, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) testing/treatment, birth control including refills, new prescriptions, and depo injections blood-work for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy testing, options counselling and referrals)
  • walk-in clinics
Vaccine preventable disease
  • vaccinations for children < 18 months
  • vaccinations for children who are overdue and that are required for school
  • grade 7 immunization series
  • travel clinics
Genetics clinic
  • virtual and telephone appointments
  • in-person clinics
Harm reduction
  • outreach being provided on street and at the local shelter in Timmins
  • naloxone available for pick-up
  • walk-in harm reduction clinic
Infectious diseases
  • follow-ups provided by phone
Healthy Babies Healthy Children (HBHC)
  • virtual appointments
  • new referrals are placed on a waitlist
  • in-person visits
Prenatal classes
  • online classes
  • in-person classes
Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program (CPNP)
  • phone appointments
  • vouchers provided by mail or pick-up
  • in-person visits
Car seat inspections
  • phone consults
  • car seat clinics
Breastfeeding clinic
  • phone consults
  • in-person visits suspended unless necessary
Quit smoking clinic
  • phone consults
  • nicotine-replacement available for pick-up for current clients
  • new clients are placed on waitlist
  • in-person visits
Food handling courses
  • online course
  • single-person exams can be completed at the PHU
  • in-person classes
Food premise inspections
  • inspections ongoing
Personal Service Settings
  • inspections ongoing
Tobacco/vape inspections
  • done on demand
Land control
  • permits are being provided and inspections are being done
Recreational water testing (e.g., pools, beaches)
  • inspections and sampling
Animal bite exposure
  • ongoing as reported
Private well water testing
  • testing kits available for pick-up; Public Health Ontario lab is accepting samples
Dental services
  • enrollment in the Healthy Smiles Ontario and the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program if eligibility criteria is met
  • help you find a dental provider
  • in-person appointments
Preschool speech and language
  • telepractice therapy sessions
  • accepting new clients
  • in-person appointments
Infant hearing program
  • in-person appointments for infants < 3 months
Vision program  
  • school screenings of all SK students