News Medical officer of health pinpoints reasons for rapid increase of COVID-19 cases SHARE ON: Bob McIntyre, staff Monday, May. 17th, 2021 (pixabay.com) A fast-spreading variant of the coronavirus and simple community exposure are behind the galloping number of COVID-19 cases in our region. Porcupine Health Unit medical officer of health Dr. Lianne Catton says those are two major factors. “The thing that we’ve said all along since the beginning is just so critical right now,” she emphasizes, “that we need to treat every interaction with people we don’t live with, people that are not in our household with, as a potential exposure to Covid.” Catton says she knows people are working hard to stop the spread, so we can come out of the stay-at-home order with the rest of Ontario. “Right now our numbers definitely wouldn’t permit us to open,” the MOH states. “We would still be in lockdown in the provincial framework. So we’ve got a couple weeks to change this and I really think we can.” That applies to the epicentre – Timmins – and, Catton adds, the rest of the region. She says people have stopped gathering and that is helpful in the fight against the variant of the virus that is easily spread.