Northwestern Ontario’s COVID-19 restrictions are expected to remain as they are, despite rising case numbers locally.
Medical Officer of Health with the Northwestern Health Unit, Dr. Kit Young Hoon, explains the decision is made by the province, but staff are consulted on recent trends in their area.
“The colour of our region is based on a few factors, including case numbers, weekly statistics, the number of outbreaks, particularly in high-risk settings, and the capacity of the local public health unit and local healthcare sector.”
The Northwestern Health Unit’s level of COVID-19 restrictions increased to the Red-Control tier of Keeping Ontario Safe and Open framework on March 15. Ontario re-evaluates public health unit regions each Friday to move them into a lesser level of restrictions but can re-evaluate and increase restrictions at any time.
Ontario says a public health unit region must remain in their level of COVID-19 restrictions for two weeks after moving into a new tier of restrictions before they can move down a tier with loosened restrictions.
“What’s really important to recognize for our area, is we have a relatively small population. When you have a small population, case numbers and incident rates can go up and down day by day. That can really shift the statistics. One day you can be Red, the next Orange, and Yellow the next. It’s really important to monitor the trend, for at least two weeks,” adds Young Hoon.
Moving into a stronger tier of restrictions would mean moving from the Red-Control level to the Grey-Lockdown level of restrictions, which would include further limits on any indoor events or gatherings and the closure of in-person restaurant services, fitness facilities and childcare services.
Young Hoon and health unit staff are continuing to ask all residents to only go out for essential reasons, such as work, school, essential shopping, healthcare or exercise.
The NWHU reported an additional 14 confirmed cases of the virus earlier this morning, marking the 32nd straight day of new cases for the region.
Overall, staff with the health unit have reported a total of 667 cases in the region since March 2020. 617 of those cases are considered resolved, and 50 cases are considered active. They include 4 in the Dryden area, 19 in the Kenora area and 27 in the Sioux Lookout region.
Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, or who has been in contact with a positive case, is asked to self-isolate, get tested and remain in isolation until your test results are known.
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NWHU not expecting further lockdown at this time