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NWHU reports 15 new COVID-19 cases

First time health unit has reported double-digit cases in a week, with key indicators improving in recent days.
Covid Testing Lloyd ave 08WEB
The Northwestern Health Unit reported 15 new COVID-19 cases Saturday.

KENORA – The Northwestern Health Unit reported 15 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 Saturday. It’s the first time the daily count has reached double digits in a week, following a major surge earlier this month.

Nine of Saturday’s cases involved individuals in the NWHU’s Kenora region, four in the Sioux Lookout region, and two in the District of Rainy River region.

There were 69 cases active as of Friday, with 63 in the Kenora region, 3 in the Dryden/Red Lake region, and 3 in the Sioux Lookout region. The health unit does not provide data updates over the weekend.

There were three NWHU residents hospitalized with the virus as of Friday.

Key indicators such as the number of active cases and the health unit’s incidence rate have been trending downward in recent days.

Active cases have declined since reaching a record high of 107 on Feb. 19.

NWHU medical officer of health Dr. Kit Young Hoon has expressed optimism that a large outbreak in Wabaseemoong First Nation, which accounted for most recent cases in the health unit, is beginning to slow.

The health unit’s incidence rate fell sharply to 74.1 cases per 100,000 people for the most recent rolling five-day period of Feb. 17 to 23, according to provincial data.

That figure had reached as high as 117.5 for the period of Feb. 12 to 18, the highest in the province at the time.

The NWHU’s incidence rate remains higher than all other Ontario health units except Toronto (76.2), Peel (88.4), and Thunder Bay (160) for the Feb. 17 to 23 period.

One case of the more contagious, and possibly more deadly variant B.1.1.7, also known as the U.K. variant, has been detected in the health unit, in the Dryden area.

The NWHU’s testing positivity rate was 3.77 per cent for the period of Feb. 15 to 21, with 2,257 tests completed.

While those figures remain well above Ontario’s thresholds for the Red-Control level in its COVID-19 response framework, the NWHU has remained in Yellow-Protect.

That’s largely because most recent cases have been concentrated in a single community, Young Hoon has said.