More variant cases expected in Dryden

·3 min read

Variants of concern are now a risk in the region as there has been a confirmed case of the UK variant in a high school student in Dryden.

Dr. Kit Young Hoon, medical officer of health at the Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU),

said they are only aware of one case but are expecting additional cases in the coming days.

Young Hoon said they are monitoring the situation closely.

Along with the variant of concern, there is a workplace outbreak at the Walmart in Dryden.

“That is again a situation where it could be elevated risk for the community,” Young Hoon said. “However, at this time there are only two cases associated with that outbreak.”

Young Hoon said they are recommending that people who have visited the Walmart and have experienced symptoms since March 9 should get tested.

The NWHU has not been able to identify if the variant of concern is travel-related which Young Hoon said is concerning and suggests that the individual may have contracted the variant within the community.

News of the variant comes just days before Easter which is all the more reason to keep celebrations to your household, Young Hoon said.

“Residents should keep within their immediate household for any easter gathering and celebrations to protect themselves and others regardless of vaccination status,” Young Hoon said. “Those who plan to gather with people outside of their immediate household should make informed choices and choose lower risk activities. We encourage you to remain outdoors to allow the greatest physical distance possible.”

Some socially distanced activities the NWHU encourages include virtual dinner parties, virtual egg hunt, physically distances doorstep gift or easter egg exchanges.

Five new cases were reported on Tuesday with one in the Dryden health hub, one in the Kenora health hub and three in the Sioux Lookout health hub.

There are currently 35 active cases in the region.

During the week of March 22 to March 28, there were 31 new confirmed cases in the region. Twelve in the Kenora area, 10 in the Sioux Lookout area and nine in the Dryden area.

Of the 31 new cases, three were related to an outbreak, 16 were close contacts of previous cases and the source of exposure remains unknown for 12 of the new cases.

Three new hospitalizations also occurred during this period. There are currently four people in the region hospitalized due to COVID-19.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been a total of six deaths. This number includes anyone who had COVID-19 at the time of death but did not necessarily die of COVID-19

To date, the NWHU has administered 9,402 doses of the Moderna vaccine.

Last week, the NWHU was struggling to fill spots at the vaccine clinics but are now fully booked. Young Hoon said they expect more clinics to be added this week and will inform the public when appointments are available.

Despite the rise in case numbers and the variant of concern, Young Hoon said the region is expected to stay in the red zone of the provinces framework because incidence rates are not increasing.

Natali Trivuncic, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort Frances Times