The Northwestern Health Unit has reported 126 new cases of COVID-19 as the active case count climbs to 518 known cases in the region.

There are 80 new cases in the Sioux Lookout Health Hub, 32 cases in the Kenora Health Hub, five cases in each of the Dryden and Fort Frances Health Hubs, two cases in the Rainy Rive Health Hub, and one case in each of the Atikokan and Red Lake Health Hubs.

There are six people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in the region. This is an increase of one person since the Thursday update.

Of the 518 known cases, 226 are in the Sioux Lookout Health Hub, 205 are in the Kenora Health Hub, 30 cases in each of the Dryden, 23 are in the Fort Frances Health Hub, 18 are in the Red Lake Health Hub, seven are in the Atikokan Health Hub, five are in the Emo Health Hub and four cases are in the Rainy River Health Hub.

The health unit notes that the confirmed cases are an underestimate of the true number of people with COVID-19 in the Northwestern Health Unit region, given that access to PCR testing is increasingly limited, positive rapid antigen test results are not reported to Public Health, and the likelihood that people with asymptomatic infections may not seek testing.

NWHU recommends that everyone, including those who have been vaccinated, assume COVID-19 is in their community and practise preventive measures like physical distancing, wearing a mask in enclosed public spaces and when physical distancing is a challenge, good hand hygiene, and not touching their face. Anyone who has symptoms, or who has been in contact with a positive case, should visit www.ontario.ca/exposed for more information on what to do next.