The Northwestern Health Unit reported four new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, as its medical officer of health pointed to an encouraging jump in vaccination uptake.
Dr. Kit Young Hoon said it was difficult to pin the increase on a single factor, with the introduction of Ontario’s vaccine certificate system and school vaccine clinics likely playing a role.
Data updated Thursday showed 77.5 per cent of NWHU residents 12 and over were fully vaccinated with two doses, up from 75.7 the week before.
The more significant jump came in those 12-plus with at least a first dose, Young Hoon said, where the health unit drew level with the provincial average of 85.4 per cent.
In early September, she raised concerns it would be a challenge to reach a provincial 85 per cent vaccination rate target, with uptake “plateauing”.
Young Hoon said uptake remained lower than expected among the 12 to 40 age group, which the health unit was trying to address in part through school vaccine clinics.
The NWHU reported four new cases Thursday, including two in its Rainy River health hub, and one each in the Kenora and Sioux Lookout hubs.
There were eight active cases, unchanged from Wednesday, thanks to previous cases declared resolved. Current active cases include four in the Rainy River hub, two in the Dryden/Red Lake hub, and one each in the Kenora and Sioux Lookout hubs.
An outbreak in Emo involving the Sturgeon Creek Alternative Program (SCAP) and SonShine Christian Kindergarten remained active and involved fewer than five cases, said Young Hoon.
One NWHU resident was in hospital with the virus as of Thursday.
Nine NWHU residents have died while infected with COVID-19, according to the health unit, with the most recent of those deaths occurring at the end of August.
Residents can learn more about how to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment at the NWHU’s website.