NWHU advises of further spread of COVID-19 UK variant
Tim Brody - Editor
The Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) says it has been notified of cases of further spread of the COVID-19 UK variant of concern in both the Dryden and Kenora regions, adding that, “This news has implications for all residents in the area.”
NWHU shared in an April 4 news release, “There is no current indication that the cases from the two regions are related. NWHU believes that variants of COVID-19 virus are spreading within each area across a wide range of age groups. It is likely that people who do not know they have COVID-19 are currently spreading it throughout the community. NWHU urges anyone with even one symptom of COVID-19 to isolate, get tested, and remain isolated until you have a test result - even if you think it’s “just a cold”.”
“Now that we are in a provincial lockdown, it is imperative that the public follow the restrictions set out by the province. Individuals should not gather with anyone who they do not live with, and avoid travel, even within the region, unless it is for an essential purpose” said Dr. Kit Young Hoon, NWHU Medical Officer of Health. She continued, “The best way to prevent COVID-19 continues to be staying 2 metres from anyone you do not live with, washing your hands regularly, wearing a mask when in enclosed public spaces, and avoiding touching your face”.
The Health Unit said it continues to see large gatherings which it said can lead to dire outcomes for the community. “By gathering with others without physical distancing, you are putting yourself and your friends and family at risk of death and also contributing to more strict measures being put in place,” Dr. Young Hoon warned.
As of April 4, NWHU was reporting 62 active COVID-19 cases in its catchment area, 16 in the Dryden Health Hub, one in the Fort Frances Health Hub, 19 in the Kenora Health Hub, one in the Red Lake Health Hub and 23 in the Sioux Lookout Health Hub.
The Health Unit also shared last week that as of April 2, COVID-19 vaccine bookings have opened up to those aged 70 plus.
These residents can book online at www.ontario.ca/bookvaccine or by calling 1-833-943-3900, NWHU explained, adding, “NWHU clinic availability is limited at this time, but more clinics will be added to the provincial booking site in the upcoming week. If there are no appointments left in your community, NWHU asks the public to be patient and to try back in a few days. There will be multiple clinics in all communities throughout the month of April. To date, over 11,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine have been given from NWHU’s allotment.”
In addition to those born in 1951 or earlier, the following groups are still eligible to book an appointment:
• Health Care Workers, including staff who work in congregate living settings
• Adult Home Care Recipients
• Faith leaders who provide end of life care, care of the deceased, funerals, home visits to unwell persons, or pastoral care in hospitals, LTCH, etc.
• Indigenous adults, including Metis aged 18+ (and their household members)
Anyone who is in the groups listed above must fill out the NWHU’s registration form to then receive a booking code and instructions from the Ministry of Health. For more information on the vaccine booking process, please visit NWHU’s booking site (https://www.nwhu.on.ca/covid19/Pages/booking-COVID19-vaccine-appointment.aspx).