Staff with the Northwestern Health Unit are providing more information about the region’s three new reported cases of COVID-19, which all came in over the long weekend and Tuesday morning.

Yesterday, the Northwestern Health Unit confirmed a fifth case of COVID-19 in Dryden, and staff noted that follow-up with any potential contacts was underway.

Acting Medical Officer of Health for the Northwestern Health Unit, Dr. Ian Gemmill, explained the situation, as part of a virtual conference call yesterday afternoon.

“Our staff is doing the follow-up to gather the information we need to do the follow-up, isolation of the case and quarantine of the contacts. We’re in the process of working out that potential source of the case, and we’re working out if any contacts will need to go into quarantine.”

Gemmill says that this case of COVID-19 was showing symptoms and was put into self-isolation. Dryden previously had four resolved cases of the virus reported.

A new case was also confirmed in Sioux Lookout over the long weekend, bringing their community’s total to two cases. Gemmill noted this case was unique, as the person was asymptomatic – meaning they were not showing typical respiratory illness symptoms.

“This case was reported by the end of the day on Friday. Our staff worked diligently to reach those involved. The case is now in isolation. They were not symptomatic, and that is why they weren’t in isolation before-hand.”

Gemmill noted that there may have been up to four contacts which may have been exposed to the virus from the asymptomatic individual, but those residents and the initial resident are all in self-isolation. Gemmill stressed that an exposure does not mean they have the virus.

"In discussing the situation with this particular case, there has been travel around the area. Not internationally, but certainly travel around the region. Perhaps that played a role."

One new COVID-19 case was reported on Friday for the NWHU area as well, but the person is not actually in the region, and was listed as part of the NWHU area due to an old address. The person now lives in St. Catharines, Ontario.

“These are often due to a lack of updates of addresses in people’s medical files. It has been assigned to us in the provincial system and it’s on our list. We now have two cases that have been assigned to our list, but they do not live in the region.”

The NWHU is asking the public to please assume COVID-19 is in your community and practice physical and social distancing, wash your hands often, and disinfect commonly touched surfaces regularly.

For more information:
New COVID-19 case in Dryden
‘We’re in the first inning,’ NWHU on fight against COVID-19