The Northwestern Health Unit says their catchment area has hit an unfortunate milestone in the fight against COVID-19. Staff say statistically, 1 in every 100 northwestern Ontario residents have contracted COVID-19 to date.

Medical Officer of Health with the Northwestern Health Unit, Dr. Kit Young Hoon, adds northwestern Ontario’s COVID-19 positivity rate is currently 6.5 times higher than what staff have normally reported for the area.

“[Variants of Concern] spread quickly and are the reason why our hospitals are quickly becoming overwhelmed across the province,” says Young Hoon, in a prepared release. “We will see a large increase in cases, and potentially an increase in deaths, unless residents follow the restrictions that are in place.”

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NWHU has reported a total of 954 cases of the virus as of May 3, 2021. The majority, 479, have been found in the Kenora Health Hub. Sioux Lookout has seen the second most cases at 202, with Fort Frances’ 77 cases sitting at third, regionally.

To date, the NWHU has reported a total of 65 COVID-19 related hospitalizations and 7 deaths.

In their catchment area, the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority has reported a total of 178 cases of COVID-19 and 6 deaths in on-reserve members the Sioux Lookout area.

Everyone is asked to only leave their homes for essential reasons, and anyone with COVID-19 symptoms is asked to self-isolate, get tested and remain in isolation until your test results are known.