Definitions & Terms
Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) receives lab
confirmation about COVID-19 cases when testing is complete. Before sharing this information with media or
posting it to our website, we have to be sure of the facts.
We conduct a full investigation on each case to ensure
that the report is about a resident of the NWHU area and to determine what risk
there is to the community. We act
quickly to ensure that positive cases and contacts are in isolation – this is
important for minimizing risk to the community.
We ask that you wait to share any information about cases until NWHU has
confirmed and shared them on our webpage or social media. For reasons of privacy, NWHU does not release the
location of the residence of people who test positive for COVID-19.
NWHU’s COVID-19 statistics are based on the best
available information at the time of publication. The statistics and notices
provided by NWHU are an important information tool for the public and local
partners to understand the impact of COVID-19 in our communities. Trends over time help all of us to plan our
response to COVID-19, but because of the limitations in reporting methods
day-to-day variations in the numbers should not be used to decide when to start
personal protective measures like physical distancing, mask wearing, or hand
For reasons of privacy, NWHU does not release the
location of the residence of people who test positive for COVID-19.
NWHU’s regional status is determined in
consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health. Details pertaining to
the Ontario Government’s “Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework”: https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-response-framework-keeping-ontario-safe-and-open
Updated daily by 1pm.
Case data are derived from the Ministry of Health Case &
Contact Management (CCM) system, which is the official source for COVID-19
statistics in the province. There may be
times when the COVID-19 statistics on the Ministry’s website do not match those
reported by NWHU because updates take place at different times of the day. Data are being entered into CCM continuously,
and may be amended as new information becomes available.
During the week, our reports are based on the data in
CCM. On weekends, our reports may also
be based on lab results that we receive, incoming reports from other
jurisdictions, and any information that has been entered into CCM. Because we use multiple sources of
information on the weekends, we need to reconcile the statistics during the
week to ensure that no duplicate cases were reported, or cases missed. This explains why reported values may not
correspond to notices sent out on the weekends.
When NWHU receives a new positive test result, case
investigation and contact tracing begins immediately. This allows us to confirm
the test result, make sure that the person with COVID-19 knows how to take care
of themselves and protect others from infection, and to identify others who
might be at risk. As soon as possible
afterwards, NWHU enters case information into CCM.
All data in this report pertains to cases that are
confirmed positive for COVID-19. Any
cases currently considered ‘probable’ for COVID-19 may be included in future
reports if they are subsequently confirmed with positive test results.
“Active Cases” that appear in brackets refer to cases
who have a permanent residence outside of the NWHU region, but are currently
located within our catchment area. These
cases are not counted as part of NWHU’s confirmed case count, as they are
recorded within the region of their home address. NWHU conducts contact tracing and monitoring
of self-isolation for all cases within our region, including anyone who is here
temporarily or not currently identified as a permanent resident.
“Resolved Cases” include the number of individuals with
confirmed COVID-19 whom public health considers recovered from their illness
plus the number of deaths among individuals in which COVID-19 was determined to
be a contributing or underlying cause of death.
Cases assigned as “Other” have a primary residence
outside of the NWHU region and have not been to the NWHU region. Occasionally old addresses are used on lab
requisitions and cases are assigned to a health unit based on their previous
area of residence.
“Hospitalized” refers to cases with a hospital
intervention due to COVID-19 as indicated in CCM.
“Deaths” reported include those who had COVID-19 at
time of death but died of another cause.
“Outbreaks” reflect the following definitions at the
time they were declared open:
staff or patient cases of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 within a specified
hospital unit within a 14-day period where both cases could have reasonably
acquired their infection in hospital is considered an outbreak in a public
Long Term Care Homes: 1 staff or resident case of
laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 is considered an outbreak in long-term care homes
(LTCH), retirement homes (RH) and other healthcare institutions (e.g. group
home, assisted living, group shelter) and declared facility wide.
2 student or staff (or visitor) cases of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19
within a specified class within a 14-day period where at least one case could
have reasonably acquired their infection at school (including transportation
and before/after school care) is considered an outbreak in an educational
1 child or staff (or household member) case of laboratory-confirmed
COVID-19 is considered an outbreak in a childcare establishment.
For more information:
cases in schools and daycares:
cases in long-term care homes:
Our statistics include vaccines administered with NWHU listed as the authorizing organization. Vaccines administered by partner organizations within the NWHU catchment area are not all currently available in the provincial database (COVaxON). This includes any vaccines administered by ORNGE as part of 'Operation Remote Immunity' or any administered by Pharmacists. NWHU will incorporate these statistics if or when they become available.
“Eligible age groups” are determined by vaccine types, characteristics, and availability. Younger age groups will be added as applicable vaccine supply becomes available. Accordingly, the size and characteristics of groups that are considered eligible may vary.
“At least 1 dose” comprises individuals who have received only a 1st, as well as those who have received both 1st and 2nd doses (i.e. they are considered “fully immunized”). This method of categorization allows for comparisons with reports that contain similar statistics.
“Percentages” are based on characteristics of population parameters that apply. Populations parameters from communities who have received vaccines from partner organizations are excluded from NWHU’s dataset if no immunization data is uploaded to the provincial database. This may occur due to a lack of data entry or information sharing agreements. NWHU will Incorporate these data when and if they become available
Population size estimates of the NWHU catchment may vary by 13% or more depending on the information source (i.e. Statistics Canada, IntelliHealth Ontario etc.) and characteristics of data gathering. These estimates have proportional differences among them including 'people in different age groups', and 'people in different sociodemographic groups including race'. These differences can result in significant reporting variances among different organizations and reports. Currently, the largest and most current total population estimates from IntelliHealth Ontario are used on the NWHU website. Accordingly, reporting of vaccination estimates may not reflect those from other sources that utilize population parameters from different sources. Estimates with lower population totals (including Statistics Canada) have the potential to over-report vaccination percentages in certain cases.
As with population estimates for any region, the total number of people living on-reserve, including proportions in different age & socioeconomic groups, may differ according to the information source and methods of information gathering. NWHU uses the most recent and reputable estimates available that pertain to population size of 'on-reserve' communities. We will incorporate newer and more accurate data if or when it becomes available.
Vaccine data reporting differences: Why might inconsistencies appear to occur?
Over time changes in eligible groups and population parameters will occur, and NWHU incorporates this information at the time of reporting. The data for many eligible individuals may not be currently available to the NWHU via partner organizations or provincial databases. As these data become available, those numbers will be included in our analysis, resulting in increases or decreases in performance numbers based on the completeness of the data available. The ultimate goal of the NWHU is to make sure that every eligible person receives a vaccine if they want one, and this means adapting metrics as new information sources become available. In some circumstances this will result in changes to reported statistics. When numerical parameters offer estimates within a range of values, NWHU may tend to adopt conservative values to avoid shortages in dose allocation. Progress rates may decline in times when individuals from small remote communities are being vaccinated: this is because although it is important to make the time and resources available to vaccinate these communities, they account for a very small fraction of the entire population.
Timeliness of Reports: Reporting time depends in part on data access and availability. Provincial databases can, at times, be unavailable for various reasons including maintenance downtime and bandwidth availability. NWHU will issue late reports immediately after regaining data access that was temporarily unavailable.
Updated Mondays by 1pm. Data Source: Ontario Laboratories Information System (OLIS). Test restults are grouped according to the primary residence address provided by the individual at time of testing.
Tests per 100,000 people’ refers to the number of
tests done per every 100,000 people living in each region. This is calculated by dividing the total
number of tests done by the most recent population estimate, then multiplying
that number by 100,000. A higher testing
rate indicates that a greater proportion of the population has been tested.
‘Positivity Rate’ (or Percent Positivity) refers to the
percentage of tests completed which were positive for COVID-19. This is calculated by dividing the number of
positive tests by the total number of tests completed, then multiplying by 100
to obtain a percentage. A lower percent
positivity indicates that more people are being tested who are not infected. Percent positivity is used to monitor the
community infection rate.
||Atikokan, Seine River 23A, Seine River 23B, Neguaguon Lake 25D |
||Dryden, Wabigoon Lake 27, Machin, Oxdrift, Vermilion Bay, Eagle River, Eton-Rugby, Minnitaki, Wabigoon, Melgund, Eagle Lake 27, Ignace |
||Emo, Sabaskong Bay (Part) 35C, Chapple, Barwick, Finland, Manitou Rapids 11 |
||Fort Frances, Alberton, La Vallee Township, Devlin, Couchiching 16A, Rainy Lake 17A, Rainy Lake 17B, Rainy Lake 18C, Rainy Lake 26A |
||Kenora , Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls, Keewatin, Norman, Jaffray-Mellick, Minaki, Redditt, Whitefish Bay 32A, Whitefish Bay 33A, Whitefish Bay 34A, Shoal Lake (Part) 39A, Shoal Lake (Part) 40, Shoal Lake 34B2, Rat Portage 38A, The Dalles 38C, Kenora 38B, Northwest Angle 33B, English River 21, Wabaseemoong, Lake Of The Woods 37, Sabaskong Bay (Part) 35C, Sabaskong Bay 35D |
||Rainy River, Big Grassy River 35G, Dawson, Morley, Sleeman, Stratton, Rainy River, Unorganized, Lake of the Woods, Morson, Big Island Mainland 93, Long Sault 12, Saug-a-Gaw-Sing 1 |
||Red Lake, Ear Falls, Balmertown, Cochenour, Madsen, Mckenzie Island, Wabauskang 21 |
||Sioux Lookout, Pickle Lake, Hudson, Bearskin Lake, Cat Lake 63C, Deer Lake, Kee-Way-Win, Lac Seul 28, Neskantaga, MacDowell Lake, Muskrat Dam Lake, North Spirit Lake, Osnaburgh 63B, Pikangikum 14, Poplar Hill, Sachigo Lake 1, Sandy Lake 88, Slate Falls, Weagamow Lake 87 |
Public Health Units comply with the Personal Health
Information Protection Act (PHIPA), and cannot publicly release information that
can identify individuals with COVID-19. When
case data released by NWHU & the province is combined with a specific
location, it can allow a person to be identified because of our small
population and geography.
NWHU is normally under a legal obligation to group
cases using up to 4 regions in the catchment area. We are presently able to report by 8 ‘health
hubs’ instead of by 4 larger regions. Legal
compliance is preserved because case numbers are high enough that information
released by the Ministry cannot be linked to the cases we announce.
Supplementary Data Resources