Staff with the Northwestern Health Unit are continuing to monitor COVID-19 case numbers in the Sioux Lookout Health Hub area, with a number of communities affected.

As of May 14, the NWHU is reporting a total of 34 active cases of COVID-19 in the Sioux Lookout Health Hub, which has seen a total of 245 cases in the last 15 months. Their health hub has seen the second-most cases in the area since last March, next to the Kenora Health Hub’s 495.

During her weekly conference with regional media members, Medical Officer of Health with the Northwestern Health Unit, Dr. Kit Young Hoon, detailed the ongoing situation – which doesn’t include any Ministry-defined outbreaks, but does include rising case numbers.

“We’re continuing to monitor the situation. There are a number of communities affected, First Nation communities and the municipality itself. For Sioux Lookout itself, we’ve had a steady number of cases in the past week. There are no associated outbreaks, but clusters of individuals we are following up on.”

As of May 14, the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority is reporting a total of 37 active cases of COVID-19 in on-reserve community members in their catchment area. Overall, they’ve reported 10 hospitalizations, 6 deaths and a total of 202 cases since last March.

Young Hoon notes there’s been an increased amount of COVID-19 vaccine clinics within the Sioux Lookout Health Hub this week, which will continue next week.

“At this time, we are just monitoring the situation and doing the ongoing work,” says Young Hoon. “It’s not rapidly worsening which is good news, but we’re still monitoring it closely to see that significant improvement that we’d like to see.”

Ontario’s stay-at-home orders are set to expire on June 2 after being extended by Premier Doug Ford earlier this week. Afterwards, each region will transition back into the provincial COVID-19 response framework with certain safety restrictions pertaining to specific levels of risk within a region.

Young Hoon explains to be placed in the Red-Control level of the framework, a region must report a COVID-19 positivity rate of about 40 cases per 100,000 people per week, and the statistic is re-evaluated weekly.

Currently, she says the Northwestern Health Unit’s catchment area has a rate of 55 cases per 100,000 people, meaning the region would likely be placed into the Red-Control or Grey-Lockdown level of restrictions once again.

“Our case numbers are still quite high for the catchment area,” finished Young Hoon.

Everyone is asked to only leave their homes for essential reasons, and anyone with COVID-19 symptoms is asked to self-isolate, get tested and remain in isolation until your test results are known.