Medical Officer of Health for the Northwestern Health Unit, Dr. Kit Young Hoon, says northwestern Ontario residents seem to be abiding by provincial travel restrictions, and the area’s COVID-19 situation seems to be improving.

In her weekly media update, Young-Hoon says in the last week or so, staff haven’t seen many COVID-19 cases directly linked to travel, and provided an update on recent cases of the virus.

“The situation does appear to be improving still. Generally, our numbers are decreasing, as well as the number in each area. It’s good to monitor these things for at least two weeks to get a good sense of the trend.”

She notes that there are currently 14 active cases in the region, including 2 in the Kenora area and 12 in the Rainy River district. Three are still hospitalized, but there are no new hospitalizations.

“In the last 7 days, our area has had 13 new cases; 5 in the Fort Frances area, 5 in the Rainy River area, 2 in the Kenora area and 1 in the Atikokan area.”

“Of the 13 new cases, 9 were close contacts of known cases, one was related to an outbreak, and one was linked to travel. The source of exposure remains unknown for two of these cases. Through our investigations, we identified 80 people who had high-risk close contacts with cases.”

The NWHU’s catchment area is reporting a COVID-19 test positivity rate of 0.41 per cent, down from 1.68 per cent roughly two weeks ago. Young-Hoon adds the average COVID-19 case in the area has had about 6 close contacts each, which is about the provincial average.

Outbreaks in Rainy River’s Riverview Manor and the Atikokan General Care Hospital have been declared over, and a decision on when Fort Frances area students can return to the classroom will be made later this week with the Ministry of Education.

Since last March, the health unit has confirmed 234 cases of COVID-19, with 4 probable cases and 1 death.

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