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COVID-19 outbreak declared at health unit office in Hearst

The office is temporarily closed

A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at the Porcupine Health Unit's Hearst office. 

According to the health unit, two employees have tested positive and the cases are related.

"As a result of the outbreak, the Hearst office is temporarily closed. Staff of the office are currently at home in self-isolation and contact tracing and follow up is being conducted," reads the news release.

"Workplace outbreaks are declared if two or more employees are confirmed cases for COVID-19 and the cases are linked, as per the Ministry of Health guidelines. The PHU follows Ministry guidance and is implementing all outbreak management protocols as with other settings."

Today, a new case of COVID-19 was reported in the Hearst, Hornepayne area. It is the sixth case of the virus this month in that area, and the 96th overall in the region.

Four classes at the Hearst French Catholic high school are in isolation after a student tested positive. The school is open.

People have also been warned of a potential exposure to the virus at Rick's Muscle World Centre gym in Hearst on Tuesday, Oct. 20 and Wednesday, Oct. 21 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

People who were at the gym during those times are being asked to monitor for 14 days, which ends Wednesday, Nov. 4 or Thursday, Nov. 5.

According to the health unit, an infected person can spread the virus up to 48 hours before they had any symptoms or tested positive.

Typical symptoms include: fever, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath, loss of sense of smell or taste, sore throat/hoarse voice, difficulty swallowing, runny nose or nasal congestion, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. 

Atypical symptoms include: unexplained fatigue or malaise, muscle aches, delirium, unexplained or increased number of falls, acute functional decline, exacerbation of current chronic conditions, chills, headaches, croup, conjunctivitis.

Of the 96 confirmed cases in the health unit region, 81 are resolved and nine people have died. The four active cases in the region are in Hearst, Hornepayne. There are also two active cases outside the region.

The health unit is aware of 30,261 tets being done. That's an increase of 49 from yesterday's report.

To access COVID-19 testing, call your health care provider or the health unit. 

The COVID-19 information line can be reached at 705-267-1181 or 1-800-461-1818

There are COVID-19 assessment centres in Timmins, Cochrane, Iroquois Falls, Kapuskasing, Smooth Rock Falls, Hearst, and Hornepayne.