EMO, Ont. – The Northwestern Health Unit reported eight new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, as it declared a COVID-19 outbreak at the New Gold Rainy River mine near Emo.
COVID-19 risk remains high in the Emo and Sioux Lookout areas, NWHU medical officer of health Dr. Kit Young Hoon stressed during a Tuesday press conference.
“Overall, the numbers indicate that risk is extremely high in the Emo area, and can effect neighbouring communities, and continues to be high in the Sioux Lookout area,” she said.
The two health hubs accounted for 43 of the 51 cases reported by the health unit from April 12 to 18.
She noted, however, that the number of active cases seemed to be heading in the right direction overall, sitting at 49 on Tuesday, down from 72 just two days earlier.
The eight cases reported Tuesday included three in the Fort Frances health hub, two in the Emo hub, two in the Sioux Lookout hub, and one in the Kenora hub.
There were 21 active cases in the Sioux Lookout hub, 14 in the Emo hub, 6 in the Kenora hub, and 4 each in the Dryden and Fort Frances hubs. A full list of the communities included in each health hub is available on the NWHU’s website.
Two district residents were in hospital with the virus Saturday, down from three over the weekend.
Young Hoon noted one less positive trend, with the district’s testing positivity rate nearly doubling to 4.04 per cent for the most recent week reported, April 12 to 18, with 1,261 tests completed.
The positivity rate had been at 2.2 per cent the previous week, on 2,041 tests.
The health unit has administered 20,108 doses of vaccine according to its latest data. The NWHU serves an estimated population of 82,231.
There are now three active COVID-19 outbreaks in the town of Emo, where the health unit declared a new workplace outbreak at the New Gold Rainy River mine Tuesday.
Several cases in Emo, including one at the New Gold mine, were earlier linked to an outdoor Easter service by the Emo Calvary Baptist Church held on April 11.
An outbreak associated with the service remains under investigation, Young Hoon said Tuesday.
Another outbreak at the Sturgeon Creek Alternative Program school in Emo also remains active.
The health unit has recorded COVID-19 variants of concern in the Dryden, Kenora, Sioux Lookout, and Fort Frances areas. The agency does not track the total number of variant cases identified in its catchment area, however, NWHU medical officer of health Dr. Kit Young Hoon said last week.
The health unit has reported a total of 824 confirmed cases since the pandemic began. Of those, 49 are active and 775 considered resolved, including seven deaths. That figure includes those who had the virus at time of death, but may have died of another cause, the health unit notes.