Medical Officer of Health with the Northwestern Health Unit, Dr. Kit Young Hoon says there’s an increased risk of COVID-19 in the Kenora area, after a recent spike of cases.

“It is concerning that there is this increase in COVID-19 cases. We’re asking all members of the public to be extra vigilant, particularly in the Kenora area, with following public health measures.”

Her comments come after staff announced an additional 10 cases in the Kenora region, with another case in the Rainy River district. These cases have brought our region’s total to 300 confirmed cases, since March, 2020.

The health unit has continued to say that many recent confirmed cases of the virus have been found within close-contacts of cases, who got together during informal gatherings.

“Many of these cases are connected together, affecting multiple households. We are watching the situation closely. Case and contact management is ongoing. We’re approaching this as we would for any other increase in cases,” adds Young Hoon.

She refused to identify any specific communities that were affected, citing the privacy of those involved, and noted if one community in our area is affected, the entire region is at risk.

“Risk does not follow boundaries of specific communities. If one or a few communities are affected, it affects the risk level for the entire region. There’s movement between communities, and many of the population uses the same grocery and healthcare services.”

Young Hoon says Ontario’s upcoming decision on what level of COVID-19 restrictions we’ll transition into as of February 16, likely wouldn’t be affected by the additional cases announced this morning.

“I believe that the category we’ll be at won’t be affected, at this point anyway, from the increase in cases. Moving forward though, the province will be monitoring our incidents rates and case numbers closely, and will be re-evaluating every week to determine if our colour level needs to change.”

The region was in Green-Prevent until November, when we transitioned into a Yellow-Protect level of restrictions, which included closing down bars early, limiting the amount of people in recreational facilities and requiring only 6 people to sit together at a restaurant.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in contact with a suspected or confirmed case of the virus, you’re asked to self-isolate, get tested immediately, and remain in isolation until your test results are known, and you receive further direction from public health staff.

For more information:
11 cases of COVID-19 reported; 10 in the Kenora region
Public health experts warn of third wave