Staff with the Northwestern Health Unit say some of the Kenora area’s new cases of COVID-19 may have been caused by residents who did not properly self-isolate.

The NWHU’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kit Young-Hoon, explains that anyone with symptoms is encouraged to get tested, but it’s vital they self-isolate by staying at home and away from others until they receive their results, even if their symptoms improve.

“It is important that anyone who has been tested stays at home and away from other people until their test result is known. COVID-19 can be spread to others even when an infected individual is feeling well, which is why physical distancing remains an important prevention measure.”

A recent NWHU COVID-19 alert states: “We are aware of several cases in our area recently where COVID-19 has been spread by people who have been tested and have resumed their regular daily activities because their symptoms had improved.”

“We have noted a couple of incidents where individuals, while waiting for test results, have felt better. But even if you feel better, you need to continue self-isolating until you get your negative test result,” explained Young-Hoon.

She adds that if you have been notified that you are a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case, a negative test result does not end your isolation period early, and you must remain in self-isolation for the 14-day period unless told otherwise by NWHU staff.

Young-Hoon added one-third of the new cases in the Kenora area were not linked to previous cases. Otherwise there was no clear pattern, except for transmission between close contacts between coworkers or those living in the same household.

President and CEO with the Lake of the Woods District Hospital, Ray Racette, adds that the spike in cases in the Kenora area is being felt within the hospital.

“Our requests for assessment centre testing has gone through the roof for the last several days. We’ve had increased staffing in order to meet those demands. Our goal is to test anyone that has requested a test within 24 hours.”

All residents are asked to continue following all public safety measures, such as proper hand hygiene, wearing a mask, staying home if you’re sick, staying socially distant and isolating after travel.

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