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 weekdays 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:
Our statistics include vaccines administered with NWHU listed as the authorizing organization within the provincial database.
“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. Currently, eligible age groups include anyone 12 years of age or older, to be consisent with Provincial data.
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.
Includes the following Municipalities and Census Divisions
Dryden / Red Lake
Dryden, Eagle Lake 27, Eagle River, Ear Falls, Eton-Rugby, Ignace, Machin,
Madsen, Mckenzie Island, Melgund, Minnitaki, Oxdrift, Red Lake, Vermilion
Bay, Wabauskang 21, Wabigoon, Wabigoon Lake 27
English River 21,
Jaffray-Mellick, Keewatin, Kenora , Kenora 38B, Lake Of The Woods 37, Minaki,
Norman, Northwest Angle 33B, Rat Portage 38A, Redditt, Sabaskong Bay (Part)
35C, Sabaskong Bay 35D, Shoal Lake (Part) 39A, Shoal Lake (Part) 40, Shoal
Lake 34B2, Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls, The Dalles 38C, Wabaseemoong,
Whitefish Bay 32A, Whitefish Bay 33A, Whitefish Bay 34A
District of Rainy River
Alberton, Atikokan, Barwick,
Big Grassy River 35G, Big Island Mainland 93, Chapple, Couchiching 16A,
Dawson, Devlin, Emo, Finland, Fort Frances, La Vallee Township, Lake of the
Woods, Long Sault 12, Manitou Rapids 11, Morley, Morson, Neguaguon Lake 25D,
Rainy Lake 17A, Rainy Lake 17B, Rainy Lake 18C, Rainy Lake 26A, Rainy River,
Rainy River Unorganized Territory, Sabaskong Bay (Part) 35C, Saug-a-Gaw-Sing
1, Seine River 23A, Seine River 23B, Sleeman, Stratton
Bearskin Lake, Cat Lake 63C,
Deer Lake, Hudson, Kee-Way-Win, Lac Seul 28, MacDowell Lake, Muskrat Dam
Lake, North Spirit Lake, Osnaburgh 63B, Pickle Lake, Pikangikum 14, Poplar
Hill, Sachigo Lake 1, Sandy Lake 88, Sioux Lookout, Slate Falls, Weagamow
Primary residence is outside
of the NWHU catchment area
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.
Supplementary Data Resources