Ontario's Science Table released COVID-19 modelling last week that indicated Ontario could see over 9,000 new cases a day, in October, if Ontarians increase their contacts throughout the fall.

The same modelling suggests that case counts could remain under 1,000 new cases a day if Ontarians limit their contacts to 70 per cent of pre-pandemic levels and over 85 per cent of the eligible population becomes fully vaccinated.

At a recent media briefing, Dr. Kit Young Hoon, the Medical Officer of Health at the Northwestern Health Unit, said it's difficult to predict how many cases the region will see during the fourth wave but highlighted a number of reasons why we haven't seen the large case counts other jurisdictions in Ontario have seen.

"There are things that make it easier here to physically distance. Even though we have a less dense population. Public spaces tend to be less crowded. There is a culture in northwestern Ontario of enjoying the outdoors and spending more time outdoors," noted Dr. Young Hoon

"There are a number of strengths that we have in our catchment area that we need to leverage," added the region's top doctor noting that physical distancing, masking, hand hygiene, and screening play a key role in keeping case counts low.

To date, a total of 1,122 cases of COVID-19 have been found in the district with about 47 per cent of the district's cases being located in the Kenora region.

As of Friday, the region has five active cases of the virus. Two in each of the Kenora and Rainy River regions and one case in the Sioux Lookout region. 1,117 cases are considered resolved.

"If we can continue doing that it will help us significantly in reducing community transmission. So that hopefully we can avoid stronger public health measures," Dr. Young Hoon added.

She added that increased vaccination will help keep case numbers low and possibly avoid another lockdown, but the region does need to see vaccination numbers increase.

"We'll see something of the fourth wave in our area because our vaccination coverage rates are well below 85 per cent," says Dr. Young Hoon.

As of September 3, 82.2 per cent of the eligible population in the region, 12+, have received one dose of vaccine, with 73.4 per cent of the eligible population being considered fully immunized.

In an effort to help limit the spread of COVID-19, the province is implementing a proof of vaccination, commonly referred to as a vaccine passport, before entering a number of non-essential businesses on Wednesday, September 22.