As COVID-19 cases rise in Ontario, local top doc hopes Windsor-Essex keeps 3rd wave at bay

·3 min read
Dr. Wajid Ahmed, Windsor-Essex's medical officer of health, says people need to continue to follow all public health measures now in place, even though COVID-19 case numbers are low locally. (Jennifer La Grassa/CBC - image credit)
Dr. Wajid Ahmed, Windsor-Essex's medical officer of health, says people need to continue to follow all public health measures now in place, even though COVID-19 case numbers are low locally. (Jennifer La Grassa/CBC - image credit)

As COVID-19 cases rise once again in Ontario, local health officials say they aren't yet seeing the same increase in Windsor-Essex and hope it stays that way.

"I really hope and pray that we don't have to deal with a third wave I think our community has suffered enough and our health-care workers have suffered enough, like it's been exhaustive," said medical officer of health for Windsor-Essex Dr. Wajid Ahmed.

"Everyone is burnt out at this time and we really hope that we don't have to deal with the third wave."

Premier Doug Ford has already cautioned Ontarians against making plans to gather over the upcoming Easter weekend, hinting that further restrictions will be announced in the coming days. It's unclear whether restrictions would impact Windsor-Essex, and Ahmed said he has not been part of any conversations, so is unsure how the region will be impacted.

But Ahmed emphasized the need for local restaurants and bars, which have been allowed to expand their capacity limits as of March 20, to continue to adhere to public health guidelines so the same spike in cases isn't seen locally.

The health unit reported 54 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday. Of these, 20 are close contacts of a confirmed case, seven are community acquired and 27 are still being investigated.

Ahmed did not have an update on the several clusters resulting from three funeral gatherings that the health unit spoke about on Tuesday. The latest numbers provided note 30 COVID-19 cases have come from these gatherings.

The pandemic has claimed 403 lives in Windsor-Essex, and 13,891 people have tested positive.

As of Wednesday, 78,615 people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Ahmed said that because of the vaccine pilot project that rolled out at local pharmacies, Windsor-Essex is "ahead" of many other regions in the province.

"The coverage rate for 60 to 64 is pretty high and thanks to all the pharmacies who rolled out the vaccine for us in that particular age group," said Ahmed. "We need more vaccine, we've got our clinics and when there's more vaccine, we should be able to vaccinate more people and get our region as safe as possible."

There are 14 people in hospital with COVID-19, including four in intensive care.

Seventy cases of COVID-19 that involve variants of concern have been identified locally. Three have been confirmed to be the variant first found in the U.K., while the rest of the results are preliminary.

There are 329 active local cases and eight ongoing outbreaks.

Four community settings are in outbreak:

  • The Welcome Centre.

  • The Downtown Mission.

  • Victoria Manor.

  • South West Detention Centre.

Three workplaces are in outbreak:

  • One in Kingsville's agriculture sector

  • One in Essex's manufacturing sector.

  • One in Lakeshore's manufacturing sector.

One school, W.F. Herman Academy, has an active outbreak.

COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent, Sarnia-Lambton

There are nine new cases of COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent and 79 are active overall. Ten people have died in the region and four people are in hospital.

In Sarnia-Lambton, 179 cases are active overall. Fifty people have died after contracting the disease since the pandemic started.