Health officials in Windsor-Essex are continuing to stress the importance of following lockdown rules as the region grapples with more than 40 COVID-19 outbreaks.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit announced 157 new cases of the virus on Tuesday, along three new outbreaks and the deaths of two people, a man and a woman both in their 70s.
In total, there are 1,797 active cases of COVID-19 within the region, and 129 people have died from the illness.
Of the 44 active outbreaks declared across the region, 18 are at long-term care homes.
Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health with WECHU, said the outbreaks are concerning but most are well contained.
"There are five or six homes that are still evolving or struggling with the containing the outbreak," he said.
The Village at St. Clair, which has been in outbreak for weeks, has more than 200 cases of COVID-19 and 22 residents have died from the illness.
There are also 10 outbreaks across the agricultural sector, with a total of 59 active cases, according to Ahmed.
Virtual assistant launched
The health unit announced the launch of a new virtual tool that allows people who have tested positive to receive text messages and provide the information of their close contacts. Participation is optional.
"It will allow us to reach the contacts in a more timely manner," said WECHU CEO Theresa Marentette.
Highest positivity rate in the province
Windsor-Essex has been a grey lockdown zone for about two weeks and a province-wide lockdown with a few new restrictions took effect on Boxing Day.
"If we want to really get in control, we need to follow those lockdown measures to save lives, that's the most critical thing," Ahmed said.
"And then we have to talk about how we ... bring everyone back with their mental health, with their social wellness with their economic well-being."
For the week ending on Dec. 19, Windsor-Essex had a test positivity rate of 9.6 per cent, Ahmed said.
The seven-day rolling average for per cent positivity is the highest in the province, exceeding that of Peel region and Toronto.
Snapshot of the pandemic in Windsor-Essex
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 7,211 cases of COVID-19 have been reported within Windsor-Essex.
The source of all but 16 of the cases announced on Tuesday remain under investigation, according to the health unit.
There are 79 people hospitalized with COVID-19, with 17 in ICU. In addition, there are 131 suspected cases in hospital.
Outbreaks are active at two schools, Immaculate Conception Catholic School and St. Mary French Immersion Catholic Elementary School, though schools are on holiday break.
There are also three hospital outbreaks, one at Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare and two on different floors at Windsor Regional Hospital's Met campus.
Four community settings — Salvation Army Center of Hope, Manor Lodge House, Victoria Manor Supportive Living and Assisted Living Southwestern Ontario — are also in active outbreak.
Outbreaks are active at 17 workplaces
Six in Leamington's agriculture sector
Four in Kingsville's agriculture sector
One in Windsor's health care and social assistance sector
One in Essex's health care and social assistance sector
One in Lakeshore's health care and social assistance sector
One in Tecumseh's health care and social assistance sector
One in Tecumseh's manufacturing sector
One in Windsor's food and beverage service sector
One in a personal service setting in LaSalle
There are 18 COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term care and retirement homes:
Chateau Park in Windsor with three staff cases
Leamington Mennonite Home in Leamington with three staff cases.
Riverside Place in Windsor with three staff cases.
Brouillette Manor in Windsor with one staff case.
Augustine Villas in Kingsville with one staff case.
Sunrise Assisted Living of Windsor with four resident cases and four staff cases.
Huron Lodge in Windsor with 15 resident cases and seven staff cases.
Chartwell Classic Oak Park LaSalle with one staff case.
Sun Parlour Home in Leamington with four staff cases.
Banwell Gardens Care Centre in Windsor with 41 resident cases and 17 staff cases.
The Shoreview at Riverside with seven resident cases and five staff cases.
La Chaumiere Retirement in Puce with one staff case.
Extendicare Tecumseh in Tecumseh with 51 resident cases and 21 staff cases.
Berkshire Care Centre in Windsor with 45 resident and 38 staff cases.
The Village at St. Clair in Windsor with 115 resident cases and 74 staff cases.
Country Village in Woodslee with three resident cases and two staff cases.
Chartwell St. Clair Beach in Tecumseh with 54 resident cases and nine staff cases.
Village of Aspen Lake in Tecumseh with seven resident cases and four staff cases.