December 16, 2021 - With the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases in Ontario, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) is strongly recommending that residents avoid all non-essential travel outside of Northwestern Ontario. This is regardless of an individual’s vaccination status.
“With the rise in case numbers in many jurisdictions, and the increased risk related to omicron, travel is not advisable at this time and should be for urgent or essential reasons only,” said Dr. Janet DeMille, Medical Officer of Health. “People that are planning to travel are encouraged to rethink their plans and consider deferring their travel to a better time.”
Cases in Ontario have increased significantly in the past week, including 2,421 new cases reported today, and are projected to be over 10,000 per day shortly. Recent cases in the TBDHU area have come from outside Northwestern Ontario – including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Manitoba and from other jurisdictions within Ontario and in Canada. With the highly transmissible omicron variant spreading rapidly, travel poses an increased risk. Reducing travel and taking precautions is an important measure to reduce this risk.
Any returning travelers or visitors from other areas, are recommended to take extra precautions by limiting their interactions to a small number of people for 10 days following travel, monitoring themselves for symptoms, and not attending any gatherings.
If residents do travel outside of Northwestern Ontario, it is strongly recommended that they follow all public health measures when they are away to reduce their risk. This includes avoiding gatherings and crowded spaces, wearing masks and limiting interactions with others. Check the travel guidance on the TBDHU website for more information on how to stay safe while travelling.
When individuals return to this area, it is recommended that they stay at home as much as possible for 10 days following their return, limit close interactions with others, and only go out for essential reasons, in addition to vigilantly monitoring themselves for symptoms. If symptoms develop, they should isolate fully and arrange for testing. Let employers/workplaces know that travel has taken place, and follow their direction regarding returning to work following travel.
TBDHU encourages everyone, whether you have been vaccinated or not, to continue following all public health measures to protect the health of individuals and our health system. If you develop any COVID-19 symptoms, even mild ones, isolate immediately and arrange to get tested at your local assessment centre.
Visit the TBDHU COVID-19 Travel page for more information.
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