THUNDER BAY – The number of Northwestern Health Unit residents in hospital due to COVID-19 fell to three on Tuesday, along with the number of active cases tracked by the agency.
None of the three hospitalized residents was in the Intensive Care Unit, the NWHU reported. The number of COVID hospitalizations declined from six on Monday.
The agency has changed how it reports hospitalizations, now including only those hospitalized because of COVID-19. Previously, people hospitalized for other reasons who incidentally tested positive were included.
Ontario’s chief medical officer of health acknowledged in December it was important to differentiate between the two categories to measure how seriously the pandemic is impacting hospitals.
The number of active cases across the NWHU fell from 281 to 201 on Tuesday. Of those, 69 were in Kenora, 59 in Sioux Lookout, 34 in Fort Frances, 22 in Dryden, seven in Red Lake, four in Rainy River, and three each in Atikokan and Emo.
The health unit has warned residents shouldn’t rely on case numbers to judge the level of COVID-19 risk in their area, since PCR testing has been limited to only vulnerable sectors, like hospitals and long-term care, First Nations, and shelters, in the face of test shortages.
Of the 33 new cases reported Tuesday, 15 were in the Fort Frances area and six in Dryden. All other areas reported four or fewer new infections.
The test positivity rate for Jan. 10 to 16 fell slightly to 16.9 per cent on 1,213 tests, down slightly from 17.7 per cent the week before. The figure remains far above the NWHU's average positivity rate of 1.83 per cent during the entire pandemic.