Timmins, Ontario — Although there are currently no active cases of COVID–19 in Timmins and the surrounding area, the staff of Timmins & District Hospital (TDH), in conjunction with the Porcupine Health Unit (PHU), are making sure they’re ready should they see local cases.
According to Dr. Voogjarv, Chief of Staff and VP of Medicine, preparations began as soon as the first reports about the Novel coronavirus started to be known. “Since then, we have activated our Pandemic Plan, and have met with all the teams at the hospital that may be affected by the pandemic, including admitting, triage and Emergency Department staff.”
Jodie Russell, Infection Control Coordinator adds, “We’re ready for the first cases, but we’ve had to make some changes, including limiting public access to the hospital to 2 visitors per patient. If you have symptoms or exposure, or have had recent international travel, we are asking you not to visit your loved ones at this time.” He notes that as concerns about the spread of virus heighten in the Province, the Hospital may have to consider “increased restricted visitor access and reductions in non-urgent service in order to safeguard our patients and staff.”
The Porcupine Health Unit and the hospital have been working together to prepare the community, including situational update conference calls and continued work with local and district partners.
Dr Lianne Catton, Medical Officer of Health for the PHU, states that, “While the majority of COVID–19 infections are relatively mild in nature, some people may experience more difficulty in breathing or feel very unwell.” She adds, “If you develop symptoms, you need to isolate yourself immediately and call the health unit or your primary care provider, making sure to inform them of your symptoms and recent travel.”
Dr. Catton says, “We are currently working on options to support community assessments to ensure emergency departments are available for trauma patients and those in acute distress.”
Jodie Russell adds, “If you’re coming to the Emergency Department at TADH, you will be asked to report your symptoms and your travel history, including the countries you recently visited, your recent exposure to someone who has traveled internationally, or who has been exposed to a suspected COVID–19 case.”
Dr. Catton adds “If you are concerned or have questions, we ask you to call the Porcupine Health Unit, your primary care provider, or Telehealth Ontario (1–866–797–0000).”
According to Dr. Catton, “Should you be seeking medical attention at any location, please inform all providers of your symptoms and travel or exposure history.” She advises everyone to take the following steps to reduce exposure to the virus and protect your health: wash your hands often with soap and water, sneeze and cough into your sleeve, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, avoid contact with people who are sick, and stay home if you are sick.
For additional information about COVID–19, including information about how to self-isolate and links to other accurate and up-to-date sources of information, please visit the Porcupine Health Unit website at http://www.porcupinehu.on.ca.
For further information, please contact:
Timmins and District Hospital
700 Ross Ave. East
Timmins, ON P4N 8P2