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Health unit collecting new COVID-19 data

The voluntary data is to identify those who may be 'unequally affected' by the virus
2020-05-11 PHU building
The Porcupine Health Unit. Maija Hoggett/TimminsToday

With evidence suggesting that certain individuals and communities are more susceptible to COVID-19, the Porcupine Health Unit is starting to collect new information. 

The voluntary data collection is for people who test positive for COVID-19, as well as people who haven't tested positive but have symptoms of the virus.

In a news release, medical officer of health Dr. Lianne Catton said the "data collected will allow the health unit to identify who may be unequally affected by COVID-19 in our area." 

According to the health unit, factors such as education level, employment, income, and race can impact the overall health of individuals and communities.

"In the health unit area, education levels are lower than the province, the percentage of Francophone and Indigenous populations are higher than the province and access to primary care and community programs and services are more difficult due to the vast and rural geography. This contributes to poorer health outcomes and shorter life expectancy for individuals residing within the region," reads the news release.

Catton said collecting social and demographic data from cases will help the health unit plan, and work in an "effective and equitable way to stop the spread of COVID-19."

In the region, there have been 76 confirmed cases. Of those, 64 are recovered and nine people have died. There are three known active cases of the virus — two in Timmins, and one in Moose Factory.

The health unit is aware of 20,404 tests being done, which is an increase of 93 from yesterday's report.

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

The COVID-19 information line is open today from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and 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. 

Maija Hoggett

About the Author: Maija Hoggett

Maija Hoggett is an experienced journalist who covers Timmins and area
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