March 28, 2020

Yesterday afternoon, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) received a report of a second confirmed case of COVID-19 in the TBDHU region. This is travel related and unrelated to the first case of COVID-19 reported earlier on that day.

An individual in their twenties who returned from the United States approximately two weeks ago developed symptoms while self-isolating at home. They phoned TBDHU and were referred to the COVID-19 Assessment Centre of Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre where they were tested.

A public health investigation and follow-up began immediately on receipt of the positive result. As part of this, public health nurses work with the individual to determine others who may have been exposed when the individual was infectious and potentially transmitting the virus. Follow-up is done with those individuals as well. In general, for returning travellers, travelling companions, people who are in the same household and other close contacts may be identified for follow-up.

“The public health investigation and follow-up is ongoing, however, it is clear that people have been taking precautions including self-isolating,” said Dr. Janet DeMille, Medical Officer of Health. “This is important as it helps contain the virus to a group of closely linked individuals and reduces the likelihood of spread in the community.”

The federal Quarantine order that came into effect earlier this week directs all returning international travellers to self-isolate for 14 days. Individuals who develop symptoms during this time can call TBDHU for guidance and referral to assessment and testing as needed.

As we begin to see increasing numbers of cases of COVID-19 in this area, TBDHU would like to remind you of the measures you can take to protect yourselves and reduce the spread of the virus to others.

 Wash your hands frequently for at least twenty seconds with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer
 Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
 Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or into your arm, not your hand
 Stay home if you are sick
 Practice social (physical) distancing by avoiding close contact with other people. This means staying at least 2 metres (6 feet) apart from others.
 Clean and disinfect surfaces around you, especially high touch surfaces, for example phones and door knobs

If you think you may have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, first self-isolate and then use Ontario’s Self-Assessment Tool to see if you need to seek further care.

If individuals in self-isolation develop symptoms, they should contact the Thunder Bay District Health Unit at (807) 625-5900 or toll-free: 1-888-294-6630.

For additional information about COVID-19 and the TBDHU area, please see the TBDHU website\coronavirus and social media channels.  Additional updates will also be provided as needed.

Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.