Further details released regarding positive COVID-19 test result in Sioux Lookout area
Tim Brody - Editor
Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority (SLFNHA) has shared that a health care professional, who had been working at the Northern Clinic in Sioux Lookout, has tested positive for COVID-19.
On August 3, the Northwestern Health Unit advised that it had received a report of a new positive COVID-19 test result in the Sioux Lookout area and that it was following up with the person involved and their contacts. The Health Unit further advised that anyone identified as a contact for this case would be contacted.
SLFNHA Public Health Physician Dr. John Guilfoyle shared on August 4 through a SLFNHA Facebook post, “On August 3, the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority (SLFNHA) was notified that a symptomatic health care professional working out of the Northern Clinic in Sioux Lookout tested positive for Covid-19. This person was in Sioux Lookout for a period of two weeks for work and has since returned to their residence outside of the region. As with all health care professionals entering the region, this individual was required to self-monitor for two weeks prior to arrival.”
The case is being managed by the Northwestern Health Unit, whom SLFNHA said in a news release, “has assessed the situation as being low risk.”
Guilfoyle shared that, “The individual had no contacts outside of work and wore appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) during all encounters with patients and staff while at the Northern Clinic. The NWHU has therefore determined that there were no high-risk exposures and, therefore, no contacts that require to be traced.”
In an August 7 update, Dr. Guilfoyle shared that the health care provider (HCP) is doing well and self-isolating at home.
Guilfoyle informed, “As previously mentioned because of meticulous use of personal protective equipment and workplace protocols, all exposures have been determined to be low risk. This situation did not require formal contact tracing as required by Ontario Health Guidelines. Nonetheless, because of the central importance of the Northern Clinic to many of our communities and the generous application of the precautionary principle, the Approaches to Community Wellbeing Preventing Infectious Diseases (ACW-PID) team assessed the situation and determined that all who had low risk contact with the HCP should be offered testing. In collaboration with the Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) we have identified 18 individuals. Most come from the communities and are being contacted by the ACW-PID. Those who live in Sioux Lookout are being contacted by the NWHU. To date, all test results have been negative.
In addition, as a workplace safety and health measure, all clinic staff are being offered testing. To date, all test results have been negative.”
NWHU is recommending that people assume COVID-19 is in their community.
The health unit is asking that people, “practice preventive measures like physical distancing, wearing a mask when physical distancing is not possible, good hand hygiene, and not touching their face.”
NWHU advised that anyone who wants to get tested for COVID-19 can go to the NWHU website, http://www.nwhu.on.ca/covid19 for instructions on how to schedule an appointment at their local assessment centre.
The Northwestern Health Unit recently shared that the use of masks or face coverings will become mandatory in enclosed public spaces beginning on August 17 in its service area.
Guilfoyle addressed the topic of masks stating, “Previously, masks were not seen as important as they are now. Masks are helpful in numerous situations when you cannot physically distance yourself whether it be at the store, appointments etc. It is important to be prepared to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.”
“This item is of particular relevance as community members begin to do more travel from communities. It will be important that members are prepared for the requirement to wear face coverings in certain settings and have the required equipment and training,” Guilfoyle wrote.
More information about mandatory masks and face coverings can be found at https://www.nwhu.on.ca/covid19/Pages/masks.aspx. SLFNHA has released detailed instructions on how to wear a mask at https://slfnha.com/application/files/7115/9682/0132/Mask_Digital.pdf. SLFNHA has released information about masks and reasons to wear them at https://slfnha.com/application/files/8215/9675/0235/The_Messages_Around_Masks_are_Changing.pdf and https://slfnha.com/application/files/8615/9675/0320/The_Messages_Around_Masks_Are_Changing2.pdf.