The fourth confirmed case of COVID-19 in the Timmins area was reported by Lianne Catton, medical officer of health with the Porcupine Health Unit, on March 23.
“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,” Catton says in a March 23 press release. “We urge each and every community citizen to practice social distancing by keeping a minimum of two 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 citizens.”
The fourth case was travel related, a male in his 70s who travelled from Houston to Toronto on Air Canada flight AC594 and from Toronto to Timmins on Air Canada flight AC8291. Passengers who sat in rows 20-24 and flight crew that may have served these rows on the Houston-Toronto flight and passengers in rows 5-9 and flight crew on the Toronto-Timmins flight 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 of any symptoms.
Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler also made recommendations for the health of Nishnawbe Aski Nation citizens in one of his two March 24 Memos from the Grand Chief.
“That chief and council implement physical distancing measures at other community gathering locations including the community store(s), the community centre, arena, et cetera,” Fiddler states in the memo. “In addition to current Ministry of Health self-isolation recommendations, chief and council implement additional self-isolation requirements including: any community citizen returning to the community after travelling anywhere outside the community should self-isolate for 14 days — if symptoms develop during that time, the individual should call the nursing station to make arrangements for testing; and any community citizen that has been in contact with someone with symptoms of a
cough/fever/shortness of breath and has travelled outside of the community should self-isolate for 14 days.”
Fiddler also notes that NAN recognizes the serious mental and emotional toll that physical distancing and self-isolation can have at the individual, family and community level.
“We recommend that all communities determine the physical and emotional supports required to keep people healthy during this difficult time,” Fiddler states. “For example, a community support team could be established to assist with grocery shopping and help with programming for children and youth who are not in school. We strongly encourage you to identify these needs on a priority basis to ensure that your community is supported through existing funding that can be used for these efforts, or through new funding requests.”
The second and third cases of COVID-19 in the Timmins area did not have any link to international travel as of March 23. They were assessed and tested at the Timmins and District Hospital on March 19. A male in his 50s was sent home in stable condition by hospital staff and advised to self-isolate. A female in her 50s was in isolation in the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital in stable condition as of March 23.
The first case of COVID-19 in the Timmins area, a male is his 50s, was confirmed by Catton on March 19.
The Porcupine Health Unit serves the Cochrane District as well as Hornepayne, in the Algoma District, with the main office in Timmins and branch offices in Cochrane, Hearst, Hornepayne, Iroquois Falls, Kapuskasing, Matheson, Moosonee and Smooth Rock Falls.