“A matter of time” before Omicron reaches NWHU, says Dr. Kit Young Hoon
With the rise of the Omicron variant and concerning COVID-19 numbers in neighbouring communities, residents of the Northwestern Health Unit should tread more carefully despite the relatively low and stable case counts, says medical officer of health Dr. Kit Young Hoon.
The NWHU reported one new case in the Kenora region on Tuesday, bringing the active case count to 18, which includes eight cases in the Sioux Lookout area, five in Dryden and Red Lake, three in Kenora, and two in Rainy River. One resident was in hospital with the virus as of Tuesday.
It’s a reassuring picture compared to neighbouring regions, Young Hoon noted, “We’re surrounded by a number of jurisdictions where case counts are either high or increasing,” she said, referring to Winnipeg, Minnesota, and Thunder Bay, where the active case count has spiked to 135.
Young Hoon urges residents to carefully weigh what risks they take, given that and the uncertainty over the Omicron variant, which scientists have warned contains a number of mutations that makes it more contagious. Young Hoon says that makes the variant a “significant” development.
“I do think it’s just a matter of time and we will see the Omicron variant in our catchment area,” she said.
Young Hoon said she saw no need yet for new public restrictions over the holidays in the NWHU, but asked residents to exercise caution. “I would encourage people to just think about risk as they’re making plans for the holidays,” she said. That means limiting the number of people they interact with, “but also thinking about being more deliberate about how you’re socializing – if outdoors is an option, maybe consider that.”