The Northwestern Health Unit is working with the Wabaseemoong Independent Nation community to help control the spread of COVID-19, after a positive case was found on the First Nation over the weekend.

Acting Medical Officer of Health for the Northwestern Health Unit, Dr. Ian Gemmill, confirmed that the adult male is now in isolation and contact tracing is underway.

“The person was ill and developed symptoms last week, was tested, and has now tested positive for COVID-19. We are working with collaborating both with the community and the First Nations Inuit Health Branch on the follow-up on the case.”

Gemmill noted that the community member most-likely picked up the virus while travelling to visit family in Thunder Bay, and local transmission of the virus within Wabaseemoong (White Dog) isn’t likely.

“We believe that they probably became exposed while out of the area, and that case has not contributed in any way to local transmission. We have their possible contacts in quarantine as well.”

However, Indigenous Services Canada is conducting further COVID-19 tests in the community to help try to find any more infected community members, before the virus can spread any further.

Last month, Gemmill explained that health unit staff won’t be conducting COVID-19 testing in First Nation communities, as that work will be left for staff with Indigenous Services’ First Nations and Inuit Health Branch. Those test results are then sent to the NWHU, to be added to the regional and provincial data.

Gemmill didn’t have an estimation on the time lapse between the confirmation of a positive case, the information being sent to Indigenous Affairs and then the health unit, but he hopes it would be as “quick as possible.” He notes that these tests are being sent to a centre in Winnipeg for results.

For more information:
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