December 7th, 2020 – The Marathon Family Health Team (MFHT) and the North of Superior Healthcare Group (NOSH) are announcing the 8th, 9th and 10th positive cases of COVID-19 in Marathon.
All patients who have tested positive for the virus have been contacted by the Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) and are self-isolating at home to prevent further spread of the virus. The exposure category of all new positive cases in our community were identified as “close contact” by the TBDHU.
Outbreak notification from Barrick Hemlo
Last week, an outbreak was declared by the TBDHU at the Barrick Hemlo, Williams Mine. In response to the outbreak and the increasing number of positive cases in the mine community, all employees and contractors who worked Day Shift from November 21st to November 25th and/or who worked Night Shift from November 26th to November 29th were asked to go home on December 5th and to self-isolate. These individuals were asked to self-isolate because they are all considered to be high risk contacts.
All individuals who worked these shifts are encouraged to call the TBDHU at 807-625-5900 if they have symptoms, if they develop symptoms, or if they have had any symptoms at some point since November 21st. All other people living in the same household must also self-isolate if the worker has or has had symptoms.
Notification from Holy Saviour School
On December 6th, Holy Saviour School announced a second confirmed case of COVID-19 in their school. This has led to many members of the school community being asked to self-isolate by the TBDHU. Due to this and the rise in positive cases within Marathon, Holy Saviour School announced that they will be moving to distance learning at this time.
All members of the Holy Saviour School community, including children and parents, are encouraged to continue to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. If there is symptom onset, first self-isolate, and then call the TBDHU or the Marathon Family Health Team to book an appointment to be tested for COVID-19.
The TBDHU is completing very thorough contact tracing and will contact those who are considered high risk contacts of the children from Holy Saviour School who have tested positive for COVID-19. In this case, all workers from Barrick Hemlo who are considered “close contacts” will not be contacted by TBDHU. Instead, they are encouraged to call TBDHU to advise them that they are a close contact and to ask about COVID-19 testing. TBDHU will guide individuals on what to do.
Getting tested for COVID-19 at the Marathon COVID-19 Assessment Centre
To help limit the further spread of COVID-19 in our communities and to help our local healthcare system manage the cases, all close contacts of the recently confirmed positive cases will be asked to self-isolate and to possibly get tested for COVID-19. Those who require testing will be advised by the TBDHU to contact the MFHT to arrange an appointment for testing at the Assessment Center (see below for instructions on how to contact the MFHT).
To manage this large increase in COVID-19 testing demand, the Marathon COVID-19 Assessment Centre will be expanding their hours and increasing the amount of healthcare providers available to provide testing. MFHT and NOSH want to assure our communities that we have the capacity to test everyone in our community who needs to be tested.
Self-isolation is about protecting others and slowing down the spread of COVID-19. It is very important that anyone who has the virus, or might have been exposed to it, limits the number of people they come into contact with for 14 days. This is the most effective way of preventing COVID-19 from spreading in our communities.
For more information on self-isolation and how to do it properly, please click here or visit the Marathon Family Health Team – Health Promotion Facebook page.
How you can make a difference
Stay home as much as possible by limiting visits to essential businesses (e.g. the grocery store and pharmacy) to once per week, ordering take out instead of dining in and working from home, if able, etc. Limiting your outings and keeping them short can reduce the risk of virus transmission in our communities.
Limit your close contacts to the people you live with as much as possible. Remember that some people don’t notice their symptoms of COVID-19 until five or six days after becoming infected. Therefore, we don’t know who can be transmitting the virus in our communities without knowing it. A safe approach to take is to assume that everyone has COVID-19 (even though they may not) and to act accordingly.
Individuals who live alone, including seniors, may consider having close contact with another household to help reduce the negative impacts of social isolation.
Continue to do your best when it comes to following public health recommendations:
- Staying home if you have symptoms, even if they are mild
- Maintaining two metres of physical distancing from others
- Wearing a face covering when around others who are not from your own household, especially if physical distancing cannot be maintained
- Washing your hands thoroughly and regularly
- Avoiding touching your face
- Limiting travel outside of Northwestern Ontario, unless it’s necessary
Contacting the MFHT
If you have any symptoms associated with COVID-19 or are concerned that you need to be tested for COVID-19, first self-isolate, then contact MFHT by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Emailing the clinic is currently the most effective way of reaching us. If you don’t have access to a computer or have an email address, you can contact us by calling 807-229-3243.
All new case information can be found on the TBDHU website (www.tbdhu.com/news) and Facebook page. If you have any questions related to COVID-19, please contact the TBDHU for more information. Public health professionals are here to guide you and to provide you with individualized advice during these uncertain times.