Every day at noon during the COVID-19 pandemic, Timmins Mayor George Pirie has been chairing a conference call of his Health Table, to update the pandemic situation.  He announced today that the next one will be next Wednesday, May 27.


It could be a long time before what Timmins and District Hospital CEO Blaise MacNeil calls “pre-pandemic ways” return to the hospital.

MacNeil says he’s waiting for guidance from the provincial health ministry, but suspects several restrictions will stay in place until COVID-19 vaccinations are available.  And that could be months, if not years.

McNeil says screening at entrances and limits on the number of visitors will likely remain.  And elective or non-urgent surgery will take longer.

“Any procedure that requires PPE will extend the length of that procedure by the time it takes to adequately put the PPE in place and adequately remove it and then do a proper cleaning post-procedure,” he explains.

PPE is personal protective equipment worn by medical personnel during the procedure.

And then there are simple everyday things he says need to be dealt with in a very measured way.

“You know, how do we deal with high-touch surfaces?” MacNeil continues. “How often do we keep surfaces clean? We have a banking machine.  How do we allow access to that in a safe way?”

Here is raw audio of today’s call.