No new cases in the local health region

Merna Emara
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Dr. Ian Gemmill, acting medical officer of health for the Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU), said in a press release on Tuesday there are no new cases in the region.
This announcement comes after about a week of expanding testing criteria to include those who have at least one symptom, those who believe they have been in contact with someone who came back from travel or individuals experiencing no symptoms at all.
There are, however, two new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Thunder Bay. This is a man in his 80s and is a visiting physician, and a 50-year-old man in the hospital.
Gemmill said that although he has not seen the graphs to give the exact numbers of tests carried out after Fords announcement, there is more activity reported by assessment centres in the northwestern region.
So far, about 4,200 tests have been done in the northwestern region. Of the tests done, about 4,000 of them came back negative.
The lack of positive cases in the northwestern region brings in the discussion of lifting some restriction measures.
“This is a decision that would be made by the government of Ontario,” Gemmill said. “We will support whatever decision is taken and we will provide every epidemiological data to support that. The data is pretty good in the northwest and one could make an argument that opening can be done earlier than other places in Ontario but with caution. The way I look at this is we’ve got our thumb on the end of the hose, and we don’t want too much water to escape, and we don’t want it to get away from us.”
Most of the positive cases in Ontario are in Toronto and the surrounding urban regions. Until now, there is no federal requirement to quarantine after travel within Canada.
“There is a legal requirement for individuals returning from international trips to quarantine for 14 days,” Gemmill said. “There is, however, no obligation for individuals travelling nationally to quarantine.”
Gemmill said individuals travelling within the province are still encouraged to self-monitor for signs of sickness.
To book a test to get tested for COVID-19 with the NWHU or if you are experiencing any symptoms, call 1-866-468-2240.