The Northwestern Health Unit is asking all Emo residents to only leave their homes for essential reasons, as the community of about 1,300 is dealing with multiple COVID-19 outbreaks.

“At this point, there is an increased risk in the Emo area,” explains Medical Officer of Health with the Northwestern Health Unit, Dr. Kit Young-Hoon.

“There are quite a few active cases. The case numbers are high per capita. There is very much an elevated risk compared to the rest of the region. However, we do know that most of this is related to one incident.”

On April 13, The Northwestern Health Unit declared a COVID-19 outbreak related to the Calvary Baptist Church in Emo after an Easter service. Five cases of the virus were confirmed, and all residents were asked to self-monitor for symptoms. At this point, no variants of concern have been found.

“I’m hoping that if people are following public health measures, case and contact management is ongoing and we make that effort, that risk will decrease. But in general, Emo area residents need to be aware of an increased risk and follow public health measures,” stressed Young-Hoon.

By April 14, the NWHU said the outbreak had been linked to a case at the New Gold mine in Rainy River. At this time, case and contact management is ongoing to determine if there is any additional spread at the facility.

On April 15, a COVID-19 outbreak was declared at the Sturgeon Creek Alternative Program school, which impacts all students and staff. Two cases of the virus were identified, and case and contact management within the school community is ongoing.

“In the end, we still need to do case and contact management even though the school is closed,” explains Young-Hoon, as after schools were closed by the province last week.

“That means the close contacts through the school setting need to be contacted to self-isolate. We wanted to advise the school to self-monitor for symptoms in the next 14 days. We want to have heightened awareness, monitoring and vigilance of public health measures with this situation.”

As of April 16, the NWHU has reported a total of 25 cases in the Emo area since the onset of the pandemic. 16 of those cases are listed as active, with 9 cases listed as resolved.

Anyone with symptoms is asked to self-isolate, get tested and remain in isolation until your test results are known. If anyone in your household becomes symptomatic, all members of the household must self-isolate until a negative COVID-19 test result is received.