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Local history: The early board of health

In local history, we wrap up our look at the board of health established in the mining camp during the First World War, the predecessor of the Porcupine Health Unit.

Museum director-curator Karen Bachmann says Dr. Moore led the attack against the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic.

“To set up the schools as hospitals at that point; to bring in other doctors, and there were only three of them and they ran between the communities from Porcupine to Mountjoy, trying to take care of the hundreds of people that were infected,” she says.

They also took care of the nurses, with whom they worked closely, caring for those patients.

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Bachmann says another task the board performed was sharing public health messages in the local newspaper, tidbits like how to take care of your trash.

“We didn’t have bin liners. We didn’t have garbage bags at the time. So how your wrapped your trash; how you put ash on it; you could put lye on it, and you needed to do this in order to keep things safe for the community.”

The public health officials also took care of quarantining people with diphtheria or scarlet fever, for example,nailing notices to their doors that no one got in and no one got out.

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