The increase in COVID-19 cases in Hearst has led the Porcupine Health Unit to institute enhanced precautions.

In a Friday evening news release, medical officer of health Dr. Lianne Catton says she’s concerned about the increased risk of public exposure in the town leading to more cases.  In addition to the basic health measures that include frequent hand washing and maintaining physical distance of at least two metres (six feet), she recommends the following:

1. If a member of your household has symptoms and/or is awaiting COVID-19 test results, all members of the immediate household should self-isolate and monitor for symptoms. If you develop symptoms, continue to self-isolate and seek COVID-19 testing.
2. If you have symptoms, please call to get tested. The Hearst Assessment Center has added hours over the weekend to determine and limit the extend of spread:
• Call 705-372-2913 to book your appointment directly. An appointment is required.
• 1403 Edward St. (Hearst Medical Centre)

This is the first time the health unit has acknowledged the number of cases right in Hearst, except for two in its own local office.  Until now, it has only said that cases — including eight of the last ten in its territory — are in the “area of Hearst-Hornepayne”.  By highway, it is 133 km between the two towns.

The vast PHU territory has had 98 positive COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic.