The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported 24 new COVID-19 cases for our region Tuesday and another person has died.
A man in his 70s has died with complications associated with respiratory failure, said Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health. The man contracted the virus through community spread and was admitted to hospital sometime in mid-July, later being transferred to ICU. He had many underlying health concerns, said Ahmed.
Of the new cases, 11 are farm workers, nine are in the community and four cases are being investigated.
There have now been 2,245 confirmed cases of the disease in Windsor-Essex and 1,434 of those cases have been resolved. Overall, 70 people have died in our region due to COVID-19.
On Tuesday, Dr. Ahmed said the community would not be ready for Stage 3 of reopening if people are careless with following recommendations to protect themselves against the spread of the virus.
"Everyone is at risk, it's everywhere, so we must follow each one of us the measures we are asking you to follow," he said.
Ahmed explained how the virus lives inside the human body and looks to escape through the nose or mouth via droplets. Anyone within two-metres could come into contact with those droplets in the air, if the infected person is not wearing a mask.
Transmission can also happen if someone touches those droplets on a surface or another person, and then touches their own face, eyes, nose or mouth.
"We are still seeing the cases in our community and it highlights the need for education in our communication," said Ahmed.
It's important for people to limit their close contacts, also known as social bubbles, to limit this spread said Ahmed.
Why not share where community spread comes from?
Many people have asked the health unit — including some municipalities like Essex — for a deeper breakdown of where the community spread is coming from.
The health unit said while the do provide municipal breakdowns of community spread on Fridays, they do not want to undermine the importance of taking public health measures
"Overall as a community we're still looking to see that we 'get it,'" he said, explaining that moving into Stage 3 relies on our community's ability to follow these regulations and lower the rate of the spread of the virus.
WATCH | The health unit breaks down how COVID-19 is spread in the community:
On Monday, the health unit reported 41 new COVID-19 cases in our region, and over the weekend 56 new cases were reported. The health unit reported Friday that the area now has the highest rate of COVID-19 in the province.
There are currently 11 workplaces under a COVID-19 outbreak, which means two or more employees have tested positive for the disease.
That includes one manufacturing workplace in Tecumseh, one in Kingsville, one in Leamington and two in Windsor.
There are also six outbreaks in the agricultural sector in Leamington and Kingsville. So far, there have been 1,061 total cases of the virus detected among workers in the agri-farm sector.
Three long-term care facilities and retirement homes are also experiencing outbreaks in the region.
Chartwell in Leamington has two staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19. The Village of Aspen Lake in Windsor and Kingsville's Augustine Villas also have two staff members each who tested positive.
Province considers regional reopening for Stage 3 in Windsor-Essex
During Monday's daily COVID-19 briefing, the province's associate medical officer of health Dr. Barbara Yaffe said they are considering splitting Windsor-Essex up once again when it comes to moving to Stage 3 of reopening — potentially leaving Kingsville and Leamington behind.
"We are working very closely with the health unit in Windsor-Essex with respect to their outbreaks, and prevention and control thereof, so we have to look into the distribution of the outbreaks and the trends in terms of deciding which parts — if the whole health unit or parts of the health unit can move forward," she said.
The idea doesn't come as a surprise to Leamington Mayor Hilda MacDonald, who says she understands if the decision is made to leave the municipality behind, but still feels disappointed.
"I think the data shows that we do not have our arms around this COVID pandemic locally and if I was a numbers person, I would say the same thing," she said, adding that it doesn't come as a shock since Leamington moved to Phase 2 later than the rest of the region.
"I quite honestly think that we need to learn to deal with Phase 2 before we move to Phase 3," MacDonald said.
"The businesses that are affected, I get that. I feel for them, but we need to have our residents understand. We need to get the province to help us with the agri-food industry and getting that under control. We don't have that under control yet."
Windsor Regional Hospital cleared to open second testing centre
A second COVID-19 assessment centre is opening to test people for the virus at Windsor Regional Hospital's Met campus — but not until late August.
The hospital says Ontario Health approved the second site to meet testing demands coming this Fall.
According to a press release, the hospital saw a record 452 individuals seeking a test on July 20, and nearly 20,000 people have visited the hospital for a test since opening in March.
The Ouelette campus testing site is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends.
COVID-19 in Sarnia-Lambton
Lambton Public Health reported four new cases of COVID-19 in the region. There have been 299 total cases and overall, there have been 25 deaths.
Another 262 people have recovered.
COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent
Chatham-Kent's health unit is reporting seven new cases of COVID-19. The area has had 226 total cases.
One person is in hospital and 44 others are self-isolating with the disease.
In Chatham-Kent, one person has died due to COVID-19 and 180 people have recovered.
As of Wednesday, those using CK Transit services are required to wear a face mask. CK Health says with the removal of seating restrictions, it will be harder for people to physically distance from one another.