Staff with the Northwestern Health Unit are keeping an eye on a recent trend of increasing COVID-19 case numbers in the region.
During her weekly media conference on Friday, Medical Officer of Health with the Northwestern Health Unit, Dr. Kit Young Hoon, explained what frontline staff are seeing.
“We are seeing cases increasing across our catchment area in various regions. The increases at this time are still relatively small, case and contact management is manageable, the cases are often clustered together in a social group or a couple of households, so it’s still relatively under control at this point.”
On Friday, the NWHU reported its 500th case of COVID-19 since last March. As of March 5, 309 of those cases were reported in the Kenora region, with the District of Rainy River reporting 85, 59 in the Sioux Lookout region, 42 in Dryden / Red Lake and 5 cases classified as Other.
Young Hoon noted the situation in Wabaseemoong has seen dramatic improvements, and they aren’t considered to be part of the rising caseload. Instead, Young Hoon says travel has been the largest factor.
“Generally, I would say a lot of what’s happening is that there’s exposure to a higher-risk area. So there’s been some type of travel from a higher-risk area, which has led to a little bit of spread locally. Because of households interacting, there’s been a cluster of individuals.”
On Friday, Ontario announced the Northwestern Health Unit’s catchment area would remain in the Yellow-Protect level of COVID-19 restrictions for another week at least, as the province re-evaluates public health regions each week, but we weren’t changed.
Young Hoon and the health unit are continuing to advise against indoor gatherings at this time, and are recommending residents enjoy the recent warm weather while gathering outdoors.
“People do need to be aware though that COVID-19 is in our communities, and we need to be following public health measures. Even though you can gather, you must maintain that two metre distance from people not within your household, and you’re masking if you’re within two metres of each other.”
Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, or who has been in contact with a positive case, should self-isolate, get tested and remain in isolation until your test results are known.