The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported three new COVID-19 cases for our region Friday.
Two cases are travel-related, one to the U.S. and one outside of the U.S. and one case was acquired within the community. Currently 42 cases are active and being monitored by the health unit.
In his weekly epidemiological summary, medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed reported a significant delay in one-day turnaround for COVID-19 tests signalling the strain seen on Ontario labs.
Ahmed said less than 10 per cent of tests are coming back within one day and close to 50 per cent come back within two days.
Windsor-Essex has continued to test high volumes of people, but public health labs are having trouble keeping up as cases surge elsewhere in Ontario, said Ahmed.
Another trend noted by the health unit is that there has been a spike in absenteeism among school-aged children. The health unit regularly monitors absenteeism as a way to track other potential virus, explained Ahmed, and moreso during the pandemic.
Absenteeism started to increase around Sept. 28, but the health unit is currently not sure why.
Ahmed said officials are using the data to find out more.
"In the last few weeks, the trend continues where we see majority of cases in people ages 20 to 29 and we're seeing more cases in those aged 0 to 19 as well," he said.
The outbreak at Dolce Vita retirement home in Windsor is now over.
Province to study public health guideline compliance
The Ontario government plans to find out whether people are following COVID-19 prevention measures such as physical distancing and wearing a mask — and if not, why not.
It's called "health behaviour surveillance," and while that term might sound like it involves the province spying on you, that's not what will be happening.
In this case, surveillance means doing surveys. Premier Doug Ford's government will ask questions about people's compliance with public health guidelines to try to better understand some of the behaviours driving Ontario's upsurge in COVID-19 cases.
Experts in the field say health behaviour surveillance is crucial work that can help rein in the spread of infections, provided the government does it right. However, they question why the province has waited until the pandemic's second wave to hit to commence the research.
The government plans to start the work this month by surveying representative samples of the population across the province.
COVID-19 in Sarnia-Lambton
Lambton Public Health reported one new COVID-19 case Thursday. There have been a total of 347 cases in Lambton County.
Twenty-five people have died.
COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent
Chatham-Kent Public Health reported no new COVID-19 cases Thursday. There have been a total of 369 cases in Chatham-Kent.
Two people have died.