New positive COVID-19 test results reported in Kasabonika Lake First Nation, Pikangikum First Nation, Sioux Lookout region
Tim Brody - Editor
On Sept. 17, Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority (SLFNHA) informed that it had been notified an individual had tested positive within Kasabonika Lake First Nation. Four new cases have been confirmed in that community, “all within the same “social bubble” of the original individual. This is a total of five cases and all individuals are doing well and are currently self-isolating,” SLFNHA shared.
SLFNHA was notified on Sept. 19 that a sixth individual in Kasabonika Lake First Nation had tested positive for COVID-19. “This is an additional case that was detected by way of contact tracing. This individual is doing well and is currently self-isolating in the community,” SLFNHA reported. SLFNHA said all six individuals are doing well and are being closely monitored. Contact tracing is being conducted to detect any potential spread related to this new case.
Also on Sept. 19, SLFNHA was informed that a young child had tested positive for COVID-19 within Pikangikum First Nation. “Contact tracing has commenced. The individual is doing well, is self-isolating and will be closely monitored,” SLFNHA shared.
SLFNHA’s Approaches to Community Wellbeing – Preventing Infection Diseases (PID) team is working with community health staff in both communities to support the public health management of the cases.
“We continue to encourage adhering to public health measures. This includes: physical distancing, handwashing, wearing masks/face covering in public where physical distancing cannot be maintained, staying in our circles as much as possible, and avoiding unnecessary travel.
“If you have any community member with symptoms that could be caused by COVID-19, please contact your nursing station to be assessed as a matter of urgency,” SLFNHA urged.
SLFNHA added, “If you have had close contact with a known case, contact the nursing station for assessment. Close contact is unmasked contact, for 15 minutes, less than six feet apart and involvement in activities where you touch common surfaces frequently, share utensils etc.”
On Sept. 20, the Northwestern Health Unit shared that it had received reports of two new positive COVID-19 test results in the Sioux Lookout region.
The health unit shared, “Follow up with the persons involved and their contacts has started according to protocol. Anyone who is identified as a contact for these cases will be contacted directly.”
NWHU explained that for reasons of privacy, it does not release or comment on information about the location of COVID-19 test results.
NWHU defines the Sioux Lookout region as including: Bearskin Lake, Cat Lake 63C, Deer Lake, Hudson, Kee-Way-Win, Lac Seul 28, MacDowell Lake, Muskrat Dam Lake, North Spirit Lake, Osnaburgh 63B, Pickle Lake, Pikangikum 14, Poplar Hill, Sachigo Lake 1, Sandy Lake 88, Sioux Lookout, Slate Falls, and Weagamow Lake 87.
“We recommend that everyone assume COVID-19 is in their community and practise preventive measures like physical distancing, wearing a mask in enclosed public spaces and when physical distancing is a challenge, good hand hygiene, and not touching their face. Anyone who has symptoms, or who has been in contact with a positive case, should get tested. For information about getting tested, please visit the NWHU website http://ow.ly/gyWg50B4SLn for instructions on how to schedule an appointment at an assessment centre,” NWHU informed.
On Sept. 19, in response to an increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Ontario, the Government of Ontario, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Public Health Measures Table, reduced limits on the number of people permitted to attend unmonitored and private social gatherings across the entire province.
Earlier in the week, these restrictions had been imposed in Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa.
Details were provided by Premier Doug Ford and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.
“Over the past several days, we have seen an alarming growth in the number of COVID-19 cases in the province,” said Ford said. “Clearly, the numbers are heading in the wrong direction. That's why we are taking decisive action to lower the size of unmonitored private social gatherings in every region of Ontario. We need everyone to follow the public health rules in order to prevent another provincewide lockdown, and protect all our citizens, especially the elderly and the vulnerable.”
The provincial government informed through a news release that, “Unmonitored and private social gatherings include functions, parties, dinners, gatherings, BBQs or wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, parks and other recreational areas.
“The new limit on the number of people allowed to attend an unmonitored private social gathering across the province is:
10 people at an indoor event or gathering (previous limit of 50); or
25 people at an outdoor event or gathering (previous limit of 100).
“Indoor and outdoor events and gatherings cannot be merged together. Gatherings of 35 (25 outdoors and 10 indoors) are not permitted.”
These new limits will not apply to, “Events or gatherings held in staffed businesses and facilities, such as bars, restaurants, cinemas, convention centres, banquet halls, gyms, places of worship, recreational sporting or performing art events. Existing rules, including public health and workplace safety measures for these businesses and facilities, continue to be in effect.
“These new limits are effective immediately.”
“We are taking further action to slow the spread and limit new cases of COVID-19 by reducing the size of private social gatherings across Ontario. This action is based on the increasing case counts that we are seeing,” Elliott said. “As we continue to closely monitor the spread of this virus, we will never hesitate to take further action to protect the health and well-being of all Ontarians.”