The region covered by the Porcupine Health Unit is experiencing a COVID-19 surge of its own.

Eleven new cases reported today alone bump the pandemic total in the district to 152.

Three of the new cases are along Highway 11, somewhere between Strickland and Opasatika.  Two of them are called “institutional”, but no more detail is provided.  Extendicare Kap is where one of yesterday’s reported cases came from.

Another of the new cases is somewhere in the James and Hudson Bay coast area. The remaining seven are all in Timmins.

The chief nursing officer for the health unit, Chantal Riopel, says in the new year alone, there have been 22 new ones.

“With the holidays, we were expecting an increase in the number of cases,” she remarks. “We are aware that people did gather or travelled across the region. So we were expecting these cases.”

Riopel adds that COVID-19 assessment centres in the region are reporting an increase in the number of tests and the frequency of symptoms.

“Twenty-two cases in a week is significant for our area and so we need to stay home as much as possible.  We are asking, we are urging people to stay home.”