Update on Positive Case of COVID-19 in Sioux Lookout/NWHU Mandatory Mask

I am writing to provide an update on the positive case of COVID-19 with a health care provider (HCP) at the Northern Clinic in Sioux Lookout. This person is doing well and self-isolating at home. As previously mentioned because of meticulous use of personal protective equipment and workplace protocols, all exposures have been determined to be low risk. This situation did not require formal contact tracing as required by Ontario Health Guidelines. Nonetheless, because of the central importance of the Northern Clinic to many of our communities and the generous application of the precautionary principle, the Approaches to Community Wellbeing Preventing Infectious Diseases (ACW-PID) team assessed the situation and determined that all who had low risk contact with the HCP should be offered testing. In collaboration with the Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) we have identified 18 individuals. Most come from the communities and are being contacted by the ACW-PID. Those who live in Sioux Lookout are being contacted by the NWHU. To date, all test results have been negative.

In addition, as a workplace safety and health measure, all clinic staff are being offered testing. To date, all test results have been negative.

I would also like to speak to you on the importance of wearing a mask/face covering. Please view the “Messages Around Wearing a Mask is Changing” please follow the links provided here:

Previously, masks were not seen as important as they are now. Masks are helpful in numerous situations when you cannot physically distance yourself whether it be at the store, appointments etc. It is important to be prepared to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. The messages are changing because the Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) is making masks mandatory on August 17, 2020 in all enclosed public spaces.

NWHU has posted more information about this requirement to its website at nwhu.on.ca/covid19/Pages/masks. Please view a demonstration of how to put on and take off masks here. This item is of particular relevance as community members begin to do more travel from communities. It will be important that members are prepared for the requirement to wear face coverings in certain settings and have the required equipment and training.

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