The region’s first case of the deadly Brazil variant of COVID-19 has been found in a resolved case in the Dryden area.

The Northwestern Health Unit notes cases of the UK variant have been reported in Sioux Lookout, Dryden, Kenora, Fort Frances and Atikokan, with UK variant cases in Kenora, Fort Frances and Atikokan still classified as active.

“We have not seen any further spread from the Brazilian variant in the region, however, the UK variant is common in Ontario and further spread in our region is likely if prevention measures are not followed”, says Dr. Kit Young Hoon, Medical Officer of Health at NWHU.

Since January of 2021, the area has confirmed 56 variants of concern cases of COVID-19 locally. Staff note every positive COVID-19 test result is tested for any variants, and cases are often no longer infectious by the time results are known. As a result, all our cases are treated as variants of concern.

Everyone is asked to continue following all public health measures and to stay home, self-isolate, get tested and remain in isolation until your test results are known.

“You can prevent a COVID-19 infection by staying 2 metres away from anyone you do not live with and by only gathering with your household members. By doing so, we will lower case numbers and should begin to see some restrictions being lifted”, explains Dr. Young Hoon.

As of May 6, the NWHU has reported a total of 982 COVID-19 cases across the catchment area. As it stands, 62 cases are currently considered active.