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New COVID-19 case in Kenora part of "outbreak"

Provincial data lists two Kenora cases as part of an outbreak, seemingly at the Birchwood Terrace long-term care home

KENORA – A new COVID-19 case in the Kenora area – which now has a total of 10 active cases – has been declared an outbreak by the province, along with another case announced the day before.

The newest case, involving a woman in her 20s, was announced by the Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) via Facebook Saturday, though the province’s COVID-19 data portal lists its “case reported date” as Friday.

The province considers the new case “outbreak-related,” along with another case announced Friday involving a female under 20 years of age in the Kenora area.

Separate provincial COVID-19 data lists Kenora's Birchwood Terrace long-term care home as being in an active COVID-19 outbreak, with fewer than five cases. However, the provincial data listed zero confirmed cases among residents.

The eight other Kenora cases announced Friday involved one woman in her 70s and one in her 60s, four individuals under 20, and two in their twenties. One was the result of close contact with an existing case, while no cause of transmission had been determined for the remaining cases.

Four of those nine new cases involved local schools, though officials did not clarify whether they involved students, teachers, or other staff. Another involved a local daycare. 

In a press conference Friday, NWHU medical officer of health Dr. Kit Young Hoon said an outbreak would only be declared for a school that saw two or more cases, with at least one believed to have been acquired in the school setting.

The NWHU had not yet made that determination at the time, but Young Hoon indicated that could change based on further investigation.

Young Hoon did not make reference to Birchwood Terrace or any cases in long-term care settings on Friday.

The health unit has drawn criticism over its limited disclosure of information on new COVID-19 cases, including from mayors in the region.

"For reasons of privacy, NWHU does not release or comment on information about the location of COVID-19 test results," the agency wrote in the Facebook post announcing the newest case Saturday.

Tbnewswatch has reached out to the Northwestern Health Unit and Rivera Long-Term Care, which operates Birchwood Terrace, for comment on this story.

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