SUDBURY -- The Porcupine Health Unit has temporarily closed its office in Hearst, Ont. after declaring a COVID-19 outbreak.

Officials say two employees of the Hearst office have tested positive for COVID-19 and that it has been determined that the exposures are related.

Health unit staff in the community of Hearst are currently self-isolating at home while contact tracing and follow-ups are being conducted. 

This comes after four new positive cases of the disease were confirmed in the last week in the small community 262 kilometres northwest of Timmins with a population of just over 5,000. One of the active cases involves a student at the French Catholic high school resulting in four classes being sent home to self-isolate.

Through contact tracing, public health officials have warned of possible public exposure of the disease at a local gym. Public health also said there is evidence of community spread.

There have been a total of eight positive cases in the community, four of which have been resolved.

Workplace outbreaks are declared when two or more employees are confirmed positive for COVID-19 and the cases are linked, as per the Ministry of Health guidelines.