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Two new COVID-19 cases confirmed in the area

It's the first positive case in Cochrane

There are two new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Porcupine Health Unit region.

According to the health unit, a woman in her 40s from Timmins is the fifth confirmed case. A woman in her 50s is the sixth positive case and the first outside of Timmins.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Lianne Catton believes the woman in her 40s' case is linked to international travel, but has "no concerns about an exposure of others on the international and domestic flights." 

She was tested at the Timmins COVID-19 Assessment Centre March 21 and is in self-isolation. A thorough case investigation is conducted by the health unit to identify and call anyone who may be a close contact.

The woman in her 50s went to the emergency department at Lady Minto in Cochrane March 21 and was tested. She is currently admitted to the hospital and in stable condition.

Catton believes the case is linked to international travel and contact with another case being investigated. She said the PHU COVID-19 operations team is following up.

The Cochrane hospital was ready for the first case of the virus.

"We expected that COVID-19 would be circulating in the area, and that it was likely we would have a case," said Paul Chatelain, Lady Minto Hospital CEO. "All staff were thoroughly prepared and ready to respond as per all Ministry guidelines and protocols." 

Catton said the evolving nature of COVID-19 requires immediate attention.

"We urge each and every community member to practice social distancing by keeping a minimum of two-metres between themselves and others; stay at home, and limit potential exposure to COVID-19. Physical distancing is key — we need to work together to reduce the opportunity for the virus to spread from person to person. This is how we will protect our vulnerable community members," she said in a news release.

She said people need to act with the assumption that COVID-19 is circulating in the community.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough and/shortness of breath. If you are experiencing them call the PHU COVID-19 Information Line at 1-800-461-1818 ext. 2919. It's available weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. If you leave a message, staff will get back to you within 24 hours.

The COVID-19 Assessment Centre in Timmins is located at the Intrepid Centre at the Canadian Mental Health Association's branch on Second Avenue.

It is by appointment only, with people needing a referral from their doctor, Porcupine Health Unit or Telehealth. Find out what you need to know about how to access it here.

Maija Hoggett

About the Author: Maija Hoggett

Maija Hoggett is an experienced journalist who covers Timmins and area
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