More and more public health officials are praising the efforts of northwestern Ontario residents as we collectively work to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the area.

Dr. John Guilfoyle with the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority says cases of COVID-19 in Pikangikum First Nation, Sandy Lake First Nation and Kasabonika Lake First Nation are all considered resolved, and there’s no evidence of further spread in any of the affected communities.

“We’ve had cases now over the last few weeks, and they’re all resolved. No one has become ill, and there has been no further spread in the communities. This is absolutely something we can be thankful for."

“The thing to be most grateful for is that our measures are working. We’ve had very little viral activity in our communities, and when we have, we’ve been able to contain it. That’s what we’ve shown we’ve been able to do.”

Guilfoyle also thanked residents across the region for all of their efforts in abiding by the preventative health measures during the pandemic.

“You have all been doing an exceptional job. Keeping the social distancing measures, living the lives we now have to live because of COVID-19, is not easy. It’s made things very difficult and very stressful. But your ability to do this, has made a difference.”

“What we’ve learned through this is that we can protect our communities. We have put in place mechanisms, with the help of your local leadership and pandemic teams, to keep it out.”

Dr. Kit Young-Hoon with the Northwestern Health Unit has also suggested that preventative health measures are helping to slow the spread of the virus in the area, after 11 cases were found in 48 hours earlier this month in Kenora, but no new cases have been found related to the initial cluster.

Between October 5 and October 11, the Northwestern Health Unit conducted nearly 2,000 COVID-19 tests in the area, with many related to the cluster of cases, or residents getting tested out of concern. Cases were found in three area schools, a long-term care home and a daycare.

We’re collectively now in month eight of the pandemic, and residents are asked to always follow preventative health measures such as hand washing, social distancing, wearing a mask and staying home if you’re sick.

Earlier this month, the Northwestern Health Unit advised residents to avoid all non-essential travel outside of northern Ontario. Those that wish to travel outside the region can, but should perform a risk assessment before leaving the area.

If you do travel outside of northern Ontario, the health unit says you should self-isolate for 14 days upon returning if you have come in contact with a close contact of a positive case or have been exposed to an outbreak situation.

Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 or those who have come into contact with a case of COVID-19 are asked to schedule a test with the assessment centre as soon as possible. Testing centres will only accept appointments, and not walk-ins.

For more information:
Kenora’s COVID-19 cases not linked together, NWHU
Councillor praises city staff for pandemic efforts