Thunder Bay

Community officials respond to first COVID-19 case in Sioux Lookout

Sioux Lookout municipal officials and health centre staff say they have been preparing to handle COVID-19 cases in the community, and continue to remain diligent in monitoring the “emergent public health crisis”.

A reduction of municipal services in response to COVID-19 has resulted in a lay off of 42 staff

Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre has started the process of moving hospital patients who are awaiting long-term care to temporary transitional spaces in response to the COVID-19 virus. The northwestern Ontario town, located 375 kilometers from Thunder Bay, reported it's first confirmed case of COVID-19 on April 2, 2020. (Meno Ya Win Health Centre )

Sioux Lookout municipal officials and health centre staff say they have been preparing to handle COVID-19 cases in the community, and continue to remain diligent in monitoring the "emergent public health crisis". 

The message from town officials and Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre (SLMHC) comes after the Northwestern Health Unit confirmed the first positive case of COVID-19 in the northwestern Ontario town, which is home to over 5600 people. 

"On Thursday, April 2, the municipality was notified that the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Sioux Lookout," said Mayor Doug Lawrance in a media release. "All residents must continue to follow the directives of public health officials."

Officials have implemented a number of measures to protect against the spread of the COVID-19 virus, including closures of all municipal facilities to the public through April 30, 2020, with the exception of the Hidden Lake Landfill site and the Sioux Lookout Airport. 

The ongoing reduction in municipal services and operations has resulted in a temporary lay off of 42 staff members. 

"The municipality will continue to closely monitor the public health crisis and will provide updates to the community in terms of its impacts on Municipal operations and services, as new information becomes available," said Municipal CAO, Michelle Larose.

Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre prepared for COVID-19 cases

Health officials at the SLMHC said they have been preparing for potential COVID-19 cases through the implementation of a pandemic plan.

"We recognize that a confirmed case of COVID-19 may raise fear and anxiety among the communities we serve and we want to encourage you to stay informed with the most reliable information and resources," said Heather Lee, SLMHC president and CEO.

Visitor restrictions at SLMHC facilities are in place, and moves have been made to create more space at the hospital. 

"This past week we have started the process of moving a number of hospital patients who are awaiting long-term care placement to temporary transitional spaces created at the W. A. "Bill" George Extended Care facility. We will continue to explore more opportunities for transitional space should the need arise," read a statement from the SLHHC.

For more information on Sioux Lookout's COVID-19 plans and protocols visit the municipal website.

For more information about SLMHC's COVID-19 response visit their website.

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