Starting to Look Like a Return to Lockdown in Thunder Bay District

COVID-19 Outbreak

Thunder Bay – NEWS – COVID-19 numbers continue a steep upward curve in the Thunder Bay District Health Unit region.

There are now reported outbreaks at high schools, elementary schools, as well as several institutional and long-term care homes.

Today the number of active cases hit 273 active cases with the addition of 41 new cases of the virus reported today.

Hammarskjold High has cases, but as of yet there are no calls declaring it an outbreak. Westgate Collegiate has an Outbreak and today Woodcrest School has been added to the list. There are several schools in both the Lakehead School Board and Catholic School Board with outbreaks of COVID-19.

The Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) and Lakehead Public Schools confirm that an outbreak of COVID-19 has been declared at Woodcrest Public School in Thunder Bay.

There is an outbreak at the Newmont Canada Musselwhite mine. The company issues this statement:

We would like to advise that we have confirmation of a total of three individuals that have tested positive for COVID-19 at our Newmont Musselwhite Mine. The third presumptive case has now been confirmed positive by the Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) and is unrelated to the initial two cases. All three individuals are currently quarantined and are being monitored at the mine site.
Working closely with public health authorities, assessment of exposure risk to other workers as well as identifying and following up on any contacts outside of the site is continuing. Currently as we continue to monitor close contacts and run more COVID tests as required, there will be no one entering or leaving the site.

While Ontario was looking to wait for 28 days before making any changes to the region’s classification under the provincial rules on COVID-19, now it is starting to look like that may change.

The Ontario Government on Monday told NetNewsLedger, “The province will continue to monitor local trends of key public health indicators across the province to determine if public health units should stay where they are or be moved into a different level. Public health units will stay in their level for a minimum of 28 days, or two COVID-19 incubation periods, at which time, the government will assess the impact of public health measures to determine if the public health unit should stay where they are or be moved to a different level”.

The positivity and case numbers for Ontario show Thunder Bay continuing to climb.

The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre has increased the size of the COVID-19 ward, but is likely going to need more beds soon if the numbers keep climbing.

NDP MPP Judith Monteith-Farrell (Thunder Bay-Atikokan) says, “The Ford government needs to provide Thunder Bay with the resources it needs to deal with a surge of COVID-19 cases to avoid another lockdown after Thunder Bay’s medical officer of health signaled Thunder Bay may need to return to lockdown.

“Doug Ford did not provide Thunder Bay with the resources it needed for a safe re-opening. Now we are facing a surge of COVID-19 cases and residents are rightly worried as community spread grows, their hospital fills up, and cases in schools increase.

With the surge of COVID cases among Thunder Bay’s homeless population, Doug Ford needs to support Thunder Bay’s public health team and the work they are doing to ramp up testing, tracing and provide spaces to isolate to keep shelter residents and staff safe. The government must also speed up its vaccine rollout to ensure shelter residents and staff are prioritized and vaccinated quickly.

People need more help to get through the pandemic, and more hope that we can end this. We must do everything we can to avoid another lockdown, more spread, more closed businesses, and more tragedy.

The NDP is proposing positive solutions — the action and investment we need to put the end of this within reach, and to help people get there.”