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NWHU warns of increased COVID-19 risk in Emo

Health unit says COVID-19 situation in Emo may be worse than it appears, urges residents to "answer questions truthfully."
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The Northwestern Health Unit urged residents to "answer questions truthfully" when contacted by public health in a release Tuesday.

The Northwestern Health Unit is warning of an increased risk of COVID-19 in the Emo area.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the health unit said it was struggling to get a full picture of the COVID-19 situation in the town of 1,300 people, located about 35 kilometres west of Fort Frances.

“Over the past few weeks, many new cases of COVID-19 have been seen within a group of people in the Emo area, and public health officials believe the situation may be more widespread than it appears,” the agency stated.

The health unit’s statement suggested, without explicitly stating, that the uncertainty could be due to a lack of cooperation from community members.

“Choosing to not get tested or delaying getting tested makes it more difficult to control the spread of COVID-19,” it quotes medical officer of health Dr. Kit Young Hoon as saying. “When called by public health, we need individuals to answer questions truthfully so we can gather information to put in measures to protect the health of the community.”

She urged Emo area residents to avoid large gatherings, especially indoors, due to the increased risk, and to get vaccinated. More information about booking vaccine appointments is available at the NWHU website.

The NWHU has not yet responded to a request for further comment.

As of Tuesday, the NWHU reported three confirmed active cases in the Rainy River health hub, which includes Emo. There were five active cases in total, with one each in the Dryden/Red Lake and Kenora hubs.

One NWHU resident was in hospital with the virus Tuesday.

The health unit recently warned of an increase in COVID-19 cases among unvaccinated Emo residents, while declaring an outbreak at the Sturgeon Creek Alternative Program (SCAP) and SonShine Christian Kindergarten on Sept. 13. The outbreak is now listed as resolved.

The NWHU previously declared an outbreak at the Sturgeon Creek Alternative Program in April.

The school, owned by the Christian Parents’ Association, was also the site of an Easter Service that was linked to numerous cases of COVID-19 earlier this year.

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