37 new cases today, as WECHU warns to celebrate Easter with new traditions

·3 min read
An employee of cake shop wraps a chocolate Easter bunny with a mask in Lykovrisi, northern Athens, on Wednesday, April 8, 2020. Here in Windsor, officials caution residents to follow all public health guidelines for the second Easter holiday during the pandemic.  (Thanassis Stavrakis/The Associated Press/The Canadian Press - image credit)
An employee of cake shop wraps a chocolate Easter bunny with a mask in Lykovrisi, northern Athens, on Wednesday, April 8, 2020. Here in Windsor, officials caution residents to follow all public health guidelines for the second Easter holiday during the pandemic. (Thanassis Stavrakis/The Associated Press/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Ahead of a suspected province-wide COVID-19 shutdown Thursday, Windsor-Essex health officials told residents to work on new traditions this Easter weekend that will reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

During Thursday's COVID-19 briefing, medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed said residents should plan a virtual meal, keep any gatherings outdoors with a maintained physical distance and wear a face covering if distancing can't be maintained. The rules are ones that the health unit has emphasized countless times before, but they come ahead of an expected shutdown from the province.

Though Windsor-Essex is not seeing case rates or hospitalizations as high as the rest of the province, Ahmed said if Ontario Premier Doug Ford declares a province-wide shutdown it makes sense to restrict mobility.

"Broader lockdown results in much better containment of the disease," he said. "Because of the mobility and the risks, if you lockdown one area and you leave the other you see more trend for people leaving one area and going into another one to do various things."

Ahmed continued to say that he knows how difficult restrictions can be on people, but says if the situation is dealt with now, it will "keep everyone safe."

The health unit reported 37 new COVID-19 cases Thursday. Of these, 17 are close contacts of a confirmed case, five are community acquired, two are from a COVID-19 outbreak and 13 are still being investigated.

The pandemic has claimed 403 lives in Windsor-Essex.

As of Thursday, 81,335 people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

There are 14 people in hospital with the disease, with four in intensive-care — this hasn't changed since Wednesday.

There are 79 preliminary or concerned cases of COVID-19 that involve variants of concern in Windsor-Essex. Four cases are the variant first found in the U.K.

There are 337 active local cases, and seven ongoing outbreaks.

Two community settings are in outbreak:

  • Victoria Manor.

  • South West Detention Centre.

The outbreak at the Downtown Mission, which sparked the largest outbreak among the region's homeless population, has now been cleared.

Four workplaces are in outbreak:

  • Two in Kingsville's agriculture sector

  • One in Essex's manufacturing sector.

  • One in Lakeshore's manufacturing sector.

One school, W.F. Herman Academy, remains in outbreak.

Long weekend schedule for vaccine clinics

The WFCU Centre in Windsor and Libro Credit Union Centre in Ahmerstburg are fully booked Thursday and Friday, according to the health unit's CEO Theresa Marentette. Both centres will be closed Sunday and Monday but appointments are available starting Tuesday.

Nature Fresh Farms Recreation Centre in Leamington is closed this weekend and will reopen Wednesday and Thursday.

The St. Clair College Sportsplex will be open Saturday, Sunday and Monday and has availability for appointments.

Windsor Hall in the city's downtown will be open Friday to Monday and has availability.

COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent, Sarnia-Lambton

There are 12 new cases of COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent, and 83 are active overall. Ten people have died in the region and five people are currently in hospital as a result of the disease.

In Sarnia-Lambton, 178 cases are active overall. Fifty people have died after contracting the disease since the pandemic started.