New COVID-19 case in Dryden/Red Lake over Thanksgiving

Merna Emara
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) announced one new positive COVID-19 case in the Dryden/Red Lake region.

Currently there are five active cases, two in the Dryden/Red Lake area, one in Kenora and two in Sioux Lookout.

Dr. Kit Young-Hoon, medical officer of health at the NWHU, said the health unit has not seen any new positive cases from the Kenora cluster. However, there are a few more test results to come in this week from those who got tested late last week. For the Kenora cluster, none of the cases have been linked to each other.

Young-Hoon said the NWHU is still closely monitoring to see what can come out of the previously reported positive cases in Kenora. Once there is one case and people are not following public health measures, then that leads to additional cases which will have a ripple effect in the community, Young-Hoon added.

“Being tested or getting your test results quickly does not protect you from COVID-19. What does protect you is practising prevention measures,” Young-Hoon said.

“Stay two metres away from anyone that you do not live with, continue to wash your hands often, stay home when you are sick, avoid travelling outside of northern Ontario and wear a mask in enclosed public spaces. If you have symptoms you should stay at home, avoid contact with others and get tested.”

Young-Hoon said local health units have some ability to provide some restrictions pertaining to individual cases or particular settings where there is an outbreak. However, broader action where there is a need to shut down an entire sector would involve provincial legal authority.

A resolved case means a person is improving and is no longer infectious. That is generally 10 days from symptom onset for individuals with minor illness and who are not immunocompromised.

With the weather getting colder, Young-Hoon said the flu shots are strongly recommended to protect yourself against influenza.

“We are encouraging everyone to get the vaccine because it prevents the spread of influenza. It also reduces the impact of influenza on our healthcare sector,” Young-Hoon said. “It is even more important this year to get vaccinated to reduce the number of people who are ill and therefore reduce the number of people who need to be hospitalized.”

Since March, there have been 68 positive COVID-19 cases in the northwestern region.