The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported 993 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, that go back to Dec. 24.
Local public health had suspended daily updates due to the holidays. On Wednesday, they reported a breakdown of cases:
162 for Dec. 24
122 for Dec. 25
107 for Dec. 26
262 for Dec. 27
153 for Dec. 28
187 for Dec. 29
Public health reported no new deaths for the region during this time period. There are 1,125 active cases in the community at this time.
There have been two confirmed cases of the Omicron variant reported in Windsor-Essex over the past couple weeks. No new cases were reported by WECHU on Wednesday, however officials say there is a "lag" for positive case results, whether a variant is detected or not.
"I think that the general view is that by the end of the month Omicron will be the dominating strain," acting medical officer of health Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, said in a media briefing Wednesday.
After the hiatus is status reporting, WECHU also reported Wednesday that vaccine rollout has been busy over the holidays with up to 3,000 people getting a jab at the mass vaccination site daily. Booking availability, at WeVax.ca, has also opened for the vaccination sites in Leamington and Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare. Appointments at those locations start Jan. 5.
Two long-term care homes in the region remain under outbreak — Franklin Gardens Long-Term Care Home and Sun Parlor Home for Senior Citizens.
There are outbreaks across nine workplaces and four community settings in the region, however the heath unit provides very little data that could identify these places.
There are 18 schools and childcare centres under an outbreak, meaning a positive case was identified, investigated, and potentially dismissals. Those settings are:
Leamington District Secondary School
Centennial Central Public School
East Mersea Public School
John Campbell Public School
Our Lady of the Annunciation Latchkey Daycare and Learning Centre
M S Heatherington Public School
Maranatha Christian Academy
St. Teresa of Calcutta Catholic School
Stella Maris Catholic School
E Elem C Ste-Marguerite-D'Youville
Gore Hill Public School
St. Louis Catholic School
D M Eagle Public School
George P Vanier Elementary School
Olivia DiMaio Early Childhood Centre, Lakeshore
Jack Miner Public School
Cosmopolitan Kids Inc.
Kingsville District High School
COVID-19 testing limited locally, hospitals implement no-visitor policies
There's limited availability for a COVID-19 test appointment in Windsor, just days after the holidays.
Windsor Regional Hospital's COVID-19 assessment centre — which is by appointment only — had no or very limited slots for the week, as of Wednesday morning.
The hospital's Paediatric Urgent Medical Assessment youth clinic at the Met campus had some slots available Thursday of this week only, as of Wednesday morning.
A spokesperson for the hospital told CBC News on Tuesday that it is difficult to create more appointments, but that officials are aware of the demand.
The Medical Laboratories of Windsor, which provides free symptomatic COVID-19 testing by appointment, also had to create more room for appointments on Tuesday, due to the demand following the Christmas holidays.
"One thing to think about is as testing capacity becomes diminished— where we currently are at in the pandemic — case counts are not the best metric to measure burden of disease in the community," Nesathurai said on Wednesday.
Windsor-Essex's top doctor explained that deaths, hospitalizations, and intensive care patients with COVID-19 may be a better indicator for how the disease is tracking in the community as case counts become unmanageable to predict.
"We'll wait for provincial guidance on this item but with diminished testing there's limited or no ability to call outbreaks," he said.
Meanwhile, both Windsor Regional Hospital and Erie Shores HealthCare have implemented no-visitor policies amid the spike in new cases.
The policy begins on Thursday, with some exceptions for dying patients, child birth, or minors.
Hospital officials say the decision was made in order to protect both patients and staff.
COVID-19 in Sarnia-Lambton, Chatham-Kent
Sarnia-Lambton reported 532 active COVID-19 cases in the community as of Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Chatham-Kent reported 43 new COVID-19 cases with 288 active cases in the community.