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NWHU reports 11 new COVID-19 cases

Cases in Lac First Nation drive much of recent growth of COVID-19 across the Northwestern Health Unit.
COVID-19 7

SIOUX LOOKOUT, Ont. – A COVID-19 surge in the Sioux Lookout area continues, with 20 cases announced over the past two days.

The Northwestern Health Unit reported 10 new cases in its Sioux Lookout health hub on Saturday, matching the number reported there the day before. The hub now has 38 active cases, the most of any area in the NWHU.

The Sioux Lookout hub includes numerous other communities, with an outbreak in Lac Seul First Nation accounting for many of the new cases.

The First Nation, located about 40 kilometres northwest of Sioux Lookout, said Friday it had 30 active COVID-19 cases, with 13 reported just that day.

The growing numbers led the community to impose a “code red lockdown” earlier this month, limiting access to non-essential vehicles at community checkpoints and directing members to stay at home except for essential purposes.

That lockdown will now extend to May 28 for the community of Kejick Bay, one of three communities making up Lac Seul First Nation, band leadership announced Friday (the others are Frenchman’s Head and Whitefish Bay).

A checkpoint set up at the Kejick Bay causeway will allow only Kejick Bay members in, the band said. Only one person will be allowed per vehicle when it comes to leaving for essential trips like groceries, the band added.

The NWHU also reported one new COVID-19 case in the Kenora health hub Saturday.

There were 78 active cases across the health unit on Saturday, with 38 in the NWHU’s Sioux Lookout health hub, 22 in the Kenora hub, 11 in the Fort Frances Hub, 4 in the Emo hub, 2 in the Rainy River hub, and 1 in the Dryden hub.

There were no active cases reported in the Atikokan and Red Lake hubs.

Three NWHU residents were in hospital with the virus as of Friday.

The health unit had an incidence rate of 66.2 cases per 100,000 residents for the most recent week reported by Public Health Ontario, April 28 to May 4.

That compared to incidence rates of 26.7 in the neighbouring Thunder Bay District Health Unit and 155.6 province-wide, over the same period.

The NWHU has reported a total of 1,002 confirmed cases since the pandemic began, with 924 considered resolved. That includes seven deaths tied to the virus.

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