Increased COVID-19 risk across region


School, daycare closed due to COVID cases

Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) is warning the public of an increased risk of COVID-19 infection across the region. Both St Mary School and the Fort Frances Nursery School were closed starting Wednesday, due to several cases found associated with the facilities. The nursery school will be closed for the week, while St Mary is expected to re-open as scheduled on January 3. All St Mary students have been asked to self-isolate in their homes until December 23, and to have a COVID test over the holidays. Clusters of cases are currently being seen in Kenora, Dryden, and Fort Frances, however, the number of cases and risk is likely higher than reported across the region as some individuals choose not to get tested when it is recommended.

In response, NWHU recommends that effective immediately, residents significantly limit the number of people they choose to gather indoors with. “The less people you interact closely with, the lower your risk is of getting and spreading COVID-19”, says Dr. Kit Young Hoon, Medical Officer of Health at NWHU. When gathering with others over the holidays, consider planning an outdoor visit to lower the risk level, especially if gathering with unvaccinated people. “It is important for people’s well-being to get together and see others, however, doing so indoors comes with more risk. An outdoor activity is safer, and I urge people to consider moving gatherings outdoors to protect your friends and family,” says Dr. Young Hoon.

In addition, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, residents are asked to be cautious over the holidays and enhance their prevention measures. “The prevention practices we’re familiar with continue to work – stay two metres away from people you do not live with, practise good hand hygiene, wear a mask when distance cannot be maintained, and stay home when you’re unwell”, says Dr. Young Hoon. These recommendations should be considered in all settings – including public spaces and workplaces.