COVID cases rising

Staff Writer
Natali Trivuncic

The Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) saw eight new COVID-19 cases announced this week: three in the Dryden/Red Lake region and five in the Kenora region. We currently have nine active cases; one of the Dryden cases is resolved, but two previous cases from Sioux Lookout are still active.

Dr. Kit Young Hoon, medical officer of health at the NWHU said that there has been a general increase in cases, particularly in the Kenora area. Young Hoon adds that some of the cases in Kenora appear to be related to travel out of the region but others are unclear, leading to an indication of community transmission within Kenora.

As cases rise, Young Hoon reminds residents that prevention is more important than ever.

“Stay two metres from anyone who doesn’t live with you. This is not the time to get together with other people indoors,” Young Hoon said.

Young Hoon adds that in order to protect our communities and prevent the spread of the virus, personal protective measures should be followed, especially as we lead up to the holidays.

The province of Manitoba has moved to the red critical level in their pandemic response. Young Hoon said the NWHU highly recommends the public does not travel to or from Manitoba unless essential, because its positivity rates of COVID-19 are the highest in the country.

The NWHU also strongly suggests that anyone who has been to Manitoba should stay home and not interact with anyone outside of their household for 14 days after re-entering northwestern Ontario. Interacting with someone who has recently travelled to Manitoba also increases your risk, she added.

Young Hoon said the NWHU is aware that following these recommendations may not be possible for individuals who have to travel for essential reasons such as medical services, parenting arrangements or essential employments such as health care, transportation or law enforcement.

The NWHU asks that those who must travel minimize contact with others as much as possible for 14 days following their return.

The NWHU also announced a survey that was launched on Monday to better understand how people’s experiences and life circumstances affect health. The survey is open to any residents who are 18 years or older in the NWHU’s area.

Since March there have been 90 positive COVID-19 cases and two probable in the northwestern region.