Windsor-Essex health officials reported an increase of 14 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, continuing a trend of declining case counts amid growing vaccination rates in the region.
Due to a cleanup of previous data, however, the region's overall case count throughout the pandemic only rose by two cases. The total currently stands at 16,592.
Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health, speaking at a live briefing on YouTube Thursday, discouraged people from skirting public health guidance in light of the recent reduction in new cases.
"We have been seeing some decline in the last week or so, so we'd like to see that trend continue," he said.
Meanwhile, the province announced that per new guidance from the National Advisory Council on Immunization supporting the mixing of COVID-19 vaccines, Ontarians who received the AstraZeneca shot can receive a different product for their second dose if they choose to.
Officials previously have said that the chance of a rare blood-clotting syndrome that has been associated with the vaccine is even lower for the second dose if there was no reaction after the first.
Appointments can be booked at participating pharmacies across the province starting tomorrow, and starting next week they will be able to book their appointment on local and provincial booking website.
WECHU CEO Theresa Marentette confirmed the local health unit would be sticking with the provincial schedule and aiming to offer a booking pathway online as of June 7.
Ahmed said that whether people choose AstraZeneca or another product, they must wait at least 12 weeks to book the second appointment.
In Windsor-Essex, there are 165 active COVID-19 cases. Just two weeks ago, the active case count was nearly 350.
Of the 14 new cases announced Thursday, two are close contacts of confirmed cases, five are considered community spread, meaning the transmission source isn't known, one is outbreak related and six are under investigation still.
So far, 253,255 people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, not including any residents who may have been vaccinated in the U.S.
To date, 71.7 per cent of adults are vaccinated with one dose or more.
Thirteen people were hospitalized with COVID-19 locally, including five in intensive care.
There are seven outbreaks, including one at the Southwest Detention Centre that has been ongoing since late April.
The remainder of the outbreaks are at workplaces:
One in Kingsville's agriculture sector.
Two in Windsor's health-care and social assistance sector.
One in Lakeshore's health-care and social assistance sector.
One in Tecumseh's manufacturing sector.
One in Lakeshore's finance and insurance sector.
One in Windsor's food and beverage sector.
Chatham-Kent and Sarnia-Lambton
Chatham-Kent Public Health recorded two new COVID-19 cases, and 17 people have active cases of COVID-19 in the municipality overall.
In Sarnia-Lambton, four people have newly tested positive. The region's active case has fallen from 35 on Wednesday to 31 on Thursday.