What is the current COVID-19 situation in Timiskaming? 

On this page:

Current COVID-19 data in Timiskaming1

Notice: The Timiskaming Health Unit is now only showing counts for confirmed cases to align with provincial reporting. This means the numbers below no longer count the 280 probable cases and 1 death). 

This data is updated each Tuesday. The last update was December 15, 2023.1,2,3,4

Active cases


2023 deaths


Hospitalizations with COVID


Hospitalizations due to COVID


Total cases


Total deaths


ICU admissions due to COVID


Outbreaks: Hospitals, Long-Term Care Homes, or other congregate care3

Additional notes on this table consist of notes 2,3 and 4.

 1 Throughout this webpage, ‘Timiskaming’ represents the Timiskaming Health Unit catchment area, which consists of the District of Timiskaming and Temagami.
2 The number of cases underestimates the actual number of people with COVID-19 in the community due to changes in testing eligibility in 2022. 
3 An outbreak is defined as two or more COVID-19 cases within a 10-day period, where at least one case was likely acquired within the high-risk setting.
4 Source: Ontario Ministry of Health, Public Health Case and Contact Management Solution (CCM), Timiskaming Health Unit.

Summary of COVID-19 data in Timiskaming2,4 

All the data below is updated monthly. The last update was on October 10, 2023.

Rates are used to compare one population to another, such as in the graph below showing Timiskaming and Ontario’s rates since 2020. 

A line graph showing the rate of COVID-19 confirmed cases per 100,000 population in Timiskaming and Ontario. Timiskaming’s cases remained low until December of 2020 when there were occasional small peaks until the summer of 2021. The largest increase was around 80 cases per 100,000. The chart depicts that Timiskaming's rate is visibly lower than Ontario’s rate from 2020 to early October of 2021. Timiskaming’s rate is visibly higher than Ontario’s in the fall and early winter of 2021, substantially higher from March to May of 2022, then higher again from around July to the end of October. In early 2022, there is a large spike in Ontario’s cases around 700 cases per 100,000 people. At the same time, Timiskaming’s cases peak around 470 cases per 100,000. Cases in Timiskaming have generally been increasing since the beginning of September. As of October 7, there was an average of 5 cases per day. 

Variants of Concern

All viruses change over time. Some changes can affect how easily they spread, the severity of the illness they cause, how they react to vaccines or medicines, and how they are detected.

Full genome sequencing can identify variants and is conducted on a portion of positive cases in Ontario.

The variants detected in



            EG.5.1.1 (1 case)

            EG.5.1.3 (1 case)

     'Other recombinant' (1 case)

August 20 to September 16, 2023

The most common variants in



EG.5.1.1 (14% and has decreased and is expected to stay the same), 
EG.5.1 (8% and increased but expected to decrease), and
FL.1.5.1 (8% and increased and expected to decrease).

September 10 to 16, 2023

Source: Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion (Public Health Ontario). Epidemiologic summary: SARS-CoV-2 whole genome sequencing in Ontario, October 3, 2023. Toronto, ON: Queen’s Printer for Ontario; 2023.

COVID-19 Hospitalizations2,5

Graph of hospitalizations over time in Timiskaming. Hospitalization data provides information about the impact of COVID-19 on the healthcare system in Timiskaming. This graph refers to footnote 2, which can be found after the first table, and footnote 5, which can be found after this graph. The graph below shows the number of hospitalizations in Timiskaming on the y-axis and months on the x-axis. There are 3 measures on the graph. 1 is hospitalizations with COVID-19, 2 is hospitalizations due to COVID-19, and 3 is ICU admissions due to COVID-19.  The number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 show that the first case was in the ICU in December of 2020.  The following is for hospitalizations due to COVID-19. There is a spike up to 6 in late December 2020, two smaller peaks in late March 2021, and mid-April. The next peak starts low in November and then spikes to 8 in January 2022. There is a decrease from mid-February until another peak up to 13 in mid-April. The cases between May 7 to date fluctuate from 0 to 7. In general, admissions to the ICU unit due to COVID-19 range from 1 to 5 cases and follow the same trend as the hospitalizations above, except lower in general. There is an exception during the mid-April peak, which remained low at 0 to 1 during a peak of hospitalizations due to COVID. The graph’s ICU counts range from 0 to 2 for the remainder of the graph.  Starting September 6. 2022, a line which represents all hospitalizations, both with and due to COVID-19 was included. Throughout this time, there were the following spikes in hospitalizations: mid-October 2022, with 25 cases, December 11,with 13 cases, January 9, 2023 with 16 cases, and finally, February 16 and May 9 with 12 cases. 

5 COVID-19 patients who are in the hospital while waiting to be transferred to long-term care are not included, except during a COVID-19 hospital outbreak.

Sources: Ministry of Ontario, Capacity Planning and Analytics Division, Visual Analytics Hub – Bed Census summary. 

Data provided by local hospitals. 

COVID-19 Deaths

The title is COVID-19 Deaths in Timiskaming. Footnote 6 at the bottom of this table explains that COVID-19 is not a contributing cause of death when there is a clear alternative cause , such as trauma, drug toxicity, or other natural death processes. Some data is suppressed due to small numbers and confidentiality. The number of deaths was 0 in 2020, 4 in 2021, 29 in 2022, and 2 in 2023. The rest of the 2020 column is blank. COVID-19 was the underlying cause of death in 4 cases in 2021, and 29 in 2022. COVID-19 contributed to, but was not the underlying cause, of death in 0 cases in 2021, 11 cases in 2022, and 2 cases in 2023. The average age of death in 2021 was 66 years, for 2022 it was 82 years, and for 2023 it was 81 years old.

6 COVID-19 is not a contributing cause of death when there is a clear alternative cause, such as trauma, drug toxicity, or other natural death processes.

Wastewater Surveillance

Wastewater monitoring of COVID-19 in our communities

Timiskaming is monitoring local COVID-19 levels with a wastewater surveillance program, which involves testing sewage for the presence of COVID-19 in Kirkland Lake and Haileybury. 

How it works

People with COVID-19 will have COVID-19 gene fragments in their stool, even if they don’t have symptoms yet or if they remain asymptomatic. That’s why testing wastewater can provide information about local COVID-19 levels. Wastewater data, along with other local COVID-19 indicators like case numbers and testing rates, can determine what steps are taken by public health to protect the public.

This type of testing is anonymous since it monitors the levels of the entire community at once.

How is sampling and testing done?

Several days a week, a sample is collected by the Ontario Clean Water Agency from the municipality’s wastewater treatment facility and sent to a laboratory, where it is tested for COVID-19 and COVID-19 variants. Results are shared with the Timiskaming Health Unit and can provide an early warning of an increase or decrease in local COVID-19 cases.

How to interpret the wastewater results

There are several factors that may affect the amount of virus detected in a wastewater sample. For instance, some samples froze while in transit to the lab during the winter months, and it is suspected that this decreased the amount of COVID-19 detected. Spring thaw or high levels of rain may also increase water in the sewage system and dilute the amount of COVID-19 detected. For these reasons, it is important to consider wastewater data with other COVID-19 data, such as case counts and hospitalizations.  

Since the fall of 2022, the laboratory that analyzed Timiskaming’s wastewater samples changed from the National Microbiology Laboratory in Alberta to the Health Sciences North Research Institute in Sudbury. This change will decrease the shipping time between the wastewater plants and the laboratory for analysis.

Keep in mind that the case counts below are based on individuals getting tested for COVID-19 and that access to testing changes over time. For instance, as of Jan 1, 2022, the case count underestimates the number of people with COVID-19 in the communities.

This graph depicts the y-axis as the wastewater viral load in copies/mL, normalized and adjusted to represent 100,000 people (3-sample average), multiplied by 1,000 for visualization, and the number of cases. Also, on the y-axis is the number of cases. The x-axis is time in months.  The following description is for the Kirkland Lake site. Starting from June 2020, both the viral load and the number of cases in Timiskaming remained near 0 until mid-January, when the cases started to fluctuate between around 5 and 23 before spiking to 42 in early June. The next spikes and their viral loads are as follows: August 9 at 58, December 28 at 84, February 10 at 749, May 11 at 49, then remains near 0. In mid-September, the viral load slightly increased.  The following description is for the Haileybury site. Throughout June 2020 to June 2023, there are many high spikes then in between is mostly a viral load of 0 to 25. The spikes and their viral loads are as follows: 64 for December 3, 2021, 70 for mid-February, 82 for March 29, 76 for mid-April, and 75 for April 4. On July 29, the viral load peaks at 643 and again at 301 on August 11. From here the cases fluctuated from 0 to 70 except for the following peaks: Jan 30, 2023, 224 on March 17, and 139 on June 9. Since mid-August, the viral load has been generally increasing and is currently near 200.

This project is run through a partnership between the municipalities of Kirkland Lake and Temiskaming Shores, the Ontario Clean Water Agency, the Government of Ontario, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Health Sciences North Research Institute, and the Timiskaming Health Unit. The program is funded through the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. For more information, visit the Ontario government’s COVID-19 wastewater monitoring webpage.