As of Saturday morning, more Windsor-Essex residents will be able to book an appointment for their final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Medical Officer of Health Dr. Wajid Ahmed said that starting at 8 a.m., anyone who received their vaccine before the end of March, or anyone 70 and older who is eligible for another dose, will be allowed to book their second appointment.
The expansion of second-dose eligibility is occurring ahead of a previous schedule set by the province.
The provincial government initially had said that those 70 and up could be eligible to book their second shot as of June 14, but announced on Friday that for areas that use the provincial vaccination booking system, anyone turning 70 in 2021 or older will be able to book as of Monday, along with anyone who got their first shot on or before April 18.
In Windsor-Essex, the health unit is going with March 31 instead of April 18, given the size of the population that was vaccinated within that window, Ahmed explained. Appointments can be booked via WEvax.ca
At a briefing broadcast live on YouTube Friday, Ahmed presented his weekly epidemiological report, a snapshot of the region's pandemic and vaccination data.
It showed a sharp decline in COVID-19 case rates compared with last week.
Declining case rate
For the previous seven-day period, there was a local COVID-19 incidence rate of 34.5 cases per 100,000 people. That's down from 46.8 for the previous period.
"[In the] last week we have seen some improvement and our cases are actually going down," Ahmed said.
As of Friday's update, 162 cases of COVID-19 are active, about 57 per cent of which involve the more contagious variants of concern.
16 new cases Friday
There was a day-over-day increase of 16 COVID-19 cases reported on Friday.
Of those additional cases, eight are close contacts of confirmed cases, seven are considered community spread, meaning the transmission source isn't known, and one is under investigation still.
Thirteen people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 locally, including five in intensive care.
So far, 256,079 people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, which is 58.5 per cent of the population, including youth.
A fraction of that number — 35,884 people or 8.2 per cent of the population — have gotten both required doses.
There are seven outbreaks, including one that has been active at the Southwest Detention Centre since 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 Windsor's food and beverage sector.
Chatham-Kent and Sarnia-Lambton
Chatham-Kent Public Health reported three new COVID-19 cases Friday, and the number of active cases is at 17, remaining unchanged from Thursday.
In Sarnia-Lambton, there were nine new cases. The region's active case total remained at 35.