NWHU scheduled to move to revised COVID-19 Response Framework Feb. 16
Tim Brody - Editor
The Provincial Government announced on Feb. 12 that the Northwestern Health Unit region will move back to the province’s revised COVID-19 Response Framework on Tuesday, February 16 at 12:01 a.m. and will no longer be subject to the Stay-at-Home order.
The NWHU will move back to the revised framework at the Yellow – Protect level.
People can find out more about what that means at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-response-framework-keeping-ontario-safe-and-open.
Even after returning to the framework, Northwestern Health Unit Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kit Young Hoon is recommending that people avoid non-essential travel to other regions. “There are variants of concern in other regions including Sudbury and district, North Bay, Parry Sound, and Temiskaming health units and so it is really important for people to realize that avoiding non-essential travel reduces the likelihood of introducing those variants into our region. If a variant were to enter into our region, it is actually very, very challenging to control the spread of the variants just because it’s a lot more transmissible. The incubation period, or the period between when you’re infected and you can infect others is actually very, very short. Considering all that, it’s hard to control the spread of a variant of concern,” she said.
The Northwestern Health Unit reported one new positive COVID-19 test result in the District of Rainy River and ten new positive test results in the Kenora region on Feb. 12.
Young Hoon shared with area media on Feb. 12, “Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) region currently has 22 active cases of COVID-19, 20 in the Kenora region, one in the Rainy River district and one in the Sioux Lookout region.”
She added, “We have now reached 300 cases of COVID-19 in our area since the beginning of the pandemic.”
“Risk does not follow boundaries of specific communities, so if a few communities are affected, it does actually affect the risk level of the entire region because there is a fair bit of movement between communities as well as many of the population uses the same services, whether it’s grocery services, health care services, etcetera,” Young Hoon said.
Young Hoon further commented, “We issued a media release yesterday afternoon ((Feb. 11) announcing that all long-term care home residents in the region who were eligible and consenting, have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This is an important step in protecting some of our most vulnerable community members from severe outcomes of a COVID-19 infection. At this time, we do not know what population will be next to be vaccinated, nor do we have an update on when we can expect more vaccine. Things change very rapidly and we will share information when it is available. In the meantime, we are working hard to plan for clinics and ensure when the vaccines arrive, that we can get it into arms as quickly as possible.”
NWHU is recommending 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 self-isolate and get tested. For information about getting tested, please visit the NWHU website (www.nwhu.on.ca/covid19) for instructions on how to schedule an appointment at an assessment centre.”