SUDBURY -- The Porcupine Health Unit is warning the public about a high-risk exposure to a COVID-19 variant on a recent flight to Timmins.

Tuesday night, health officials announced in a news release that a person from outside the region who flew into Timmins on Monday has screened positive for a COVID-19 variant of concern.

"It is expected that the variant is the predominant strain in Ontario which is the B.1.1.7 first detected in the United Kingdom," the health unit said.

The individual is now in self-isolation in Timmins.

Now, the health unit said anyone who was a passenger on Air Canada flight # AC8289 from Toronto to Timmins on March 15 with a scheduled departure time of 6:50 p.m. must self-isolate immediately and call the information line at 1-800-461-1818.

"An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting 48 hours (or 2 days) before the person had any symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19," the health unit said.

Typical symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • New or worsening cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of sense of smell or taste
  • Sore throat/hoarse voice
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Runny nose or nasal congestion
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain

Atypical symptoms:

  • Unexplained fatigue or malaise
  • Muscle aches
  • Delirium
  • Unexplained or increased number of falls
  • Acute functional decline
  • Exacerbation of current chronic conditions
  • Chills
  • Headaches
  • Croup
  • Conjunctivitis

The Porcupine Health Unit is currently under the Yellow-Protect level of Ontario's COVID-19 Response Framework. Dr. Lianne Catton, the health unit's medical officer of health, has issued a Class Order which enables officials to enforce self-isolation requirements.

As of Tuesday morning, there are only two active cases of COVID-19, one in Timmins and another in the Hearst/Hornepayne area.

There have been a total of 346 positive cases of the disease in the Cochrane District since the pandemic began and 344 of those have been resolved, including 25 COVID-related deaths – the most within northeastern Ontario.

COVID-19 vaccination clinics are underway in the district for the following individuals:

  • Staff and essential caregivers of long-term care homes, retirement homes and First Nations elder care
  • Highest, very high and high-priority health care workers
  • Adult chronic home care recipients
  • Adults ages 80 and older
  • First Nation, Metis and Inuit people ages 18 and older