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People at March 7 stag and doe at the Mac potentially exposed to COVID-19: medical officer of health (updated)

She said most likely source is international exposure
2020-03-18 Lianne Catton
Porcupine Health Unit Medical Officer of Health Dr. Lianne Catton gives an update earlier this week on the local COVID-19 situation. Maija Hoggett/TimminsToday

People at a stag and doe March 7 in the McIntyre ballroom may have potentially been exposed to COVID-19, according to the Porcupine Health Unit Medical Officer of Health.

Timmins' first confirmed case was reported late last night and is a man in his 50s who recently returned from international travel.

In an update today, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Lianne Catton said people may have been exposed to the virus at the event earlier this month.

“Out of an abundance for caution, there may have been potential exposure at a stag and doe on March 7 in the McIntyre Ballroom in Timmins. The recommendation would be that attendees would self monitor for 14 days, which effectively ends tomorrow, March 21, 2020. If you attended the event and have experienced a cough, fever and/or difficulty breathing, please remain at home, isolate yourself and call the Porcupine Health Unit COVID-19 Information Line at 705-267-1181 or 1-800-461-1818 ext. 2919,” she said.

She said the potential source is most likely related to international exposure.

Catton said he travelled prior to the travel ban.

He contacted the health unit March 17 and was tested at home the same day by the Cochrane District Emergency Medical Services paramedicine program. He has remained in self isolation.

“This individual has remained extremely cooperative in working with the Porcupine Health Unit, followed all guidance. He remains in isolation at home since that day and has never required further medical attention, nor admission to hospital and as mentioned he continues to work with the PHU team for appropriate follow up,” she said. 

The health unit is contacting people who have been identified as being in close contact with him.

“We want the public to recognize the need for privacy and confidentiality at this time. We also need to note that this infection is often very mild in nature and this is why we keep promoting and asking individuals to follow the very important public health measures of social distancing and all of the other infection prevention measures,” she said, adding it’s critical for every community member at this time.

A COVID-19 Assessment Centre opened in Timmins earlier this week.

While the hours are Monday to Friday, the health unit is hoping to have it open Saturday and Sunday. 

Catton said they are expecting there will be an increased concern and people who want to be assessed over the weekend.

The assessment centre is located at Intrepid Place at the Canadian Mental Health Association Cochrane Timiskaming Branch building at 330 Second Ave.

The centre is by appointment only and is not a walk-in service. A referral is required from your doctor, public health or Telehealth. The health unit can be reached at 705-267-1181 or 1-800-461-1818, the number for Telehealth Ontario is 1-866-797-0000.

Find out what you need to know about accessing it here.

After the additional staffing and hours are confirmed, the information will be shared on the health unit’s Facebook and website. 

“The purpose of this clinic, again, is to assess, and only where appropriate, swab people who may be infected with COVID-19," Catton said. 

"Everyone plays a role in this, we continue to remind community members, wash your hands well and often, cough or sneeze into a sleeve or tissue, avoid physical contact with others such as hand shakes, avoid non-essential trips in the community, and especially for those over the age of 70, we want to try to support this as a community as much as possible and ensure that they have access to the necessities that they need in order to follow through with this and protect themselves."

For social distancing, she encouraged people to still go outside and enjoy the fresh air, especially in your own yard.

Maija Hoggett

About the Author: Maija Hoggett

Maija Hoggett is an experienced journalist who covers Timmins and area
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