COVID-19 Outbreaks in Thunder Bay: A Call for Vigilance

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COVID Update

Recent Outbreaks of COVID-19

THUNDER BAY – HEALTH – The Thunder Bay District Health Unit has reported several COVID-19 outbreaks in various facilities as of mid-November 2023, underscoring the ongoing challenge posed by the virus:

  1. Hogarth Riverview Manor: An outbreak was declared on November 18th in the 5 South-Orchid Resident Home area.
  2. St. Joseph’s Hospital: The 3 South-Rehabilitative Care Services unit faced an outbreak on November 17th.
  3. Southbridge Pinewood: COVID-19 struck the Blue Heron Unit on November 17th.
  4. Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre: The 2A unit reported an outbreak on November 15th​​.

Essential Precautions

An outbreak is declared in a facility when there is a higher than normal rate of respiratory or gastrointestinal symptoms among the residents. The public are notified to make sure the many individuals who visit these facilities are aware before they go.

To reduce the spread of illness, it is important to follow the signage posted by the facility as well as all recommendations from staff about personal protective equipment (e.g. masks).

Finally, please avoid visits to any Long-term Care or Retirement Home when you are feeling sick to avoid spreading illness to the residents.

To curb the spread of COVID-19, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit recommends the following precautions:

  • Stay Home if Sick: Monitoring for symptoms and staying home when sick is crucial to prevent spreading the infection.
  • Mask-Wearing: Wearing well-fitted masks in indoor spaces, especially around vulnerable individuals or when recovering from illness, is advised.
  • Vaccinations: Keeping up to date with all COVID-19 vaccine doses and the seasonal flu shot is recommended.
  • Hand Hygiene: Regular hand washing for at least 15 seconds with soap and warm water, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, is essential.
  • Respiratory Etiquette: Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow and dispose of tissues properly.
  • Surface Disinfection: Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected regularly.
  • Ventilation: Maintaining well-ventilated indoor spaces can reduce the risk of airborne transmission.
  • Self-Assessment: Being familiar with the Ontario screening tool for self-assessment and guidance on what to do next is beneficial​​.

Conclusion

The outbreaks in Thunder Bay highlight the continued relevance of COVID-19 in our communities. Adherence to recommended precautions remains a key strategy in controlling its spread and protecting vulnerable populations.

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