The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported one new case of COVID-19 in our community Thursday, and that the region's flu shots have arrived for distribution.
Currently there are 37 active COVID-19 cases in Windsor-Essex and two people are in hospital with the disease. The new case reported is related to travel outside of North America.
Chief nursing officer and health Unit CEO Theresa Marentette said during a Thursday press briefing that the health unit has received this year's flu shots on schedule.
"We have received our shipment of vaccine which will go to high-priority groups, so long-term care homes and hospitals will be our first priority group," said Marentette. "After Thanksgiving, typically the vaccine will be distributed for everyone else in the public."
Pharmacies also get direct distribution from the province, Marentette said, and pharmacies also have those vaccines now.
"Right now we're on target for what we usually get every year," she added.
Thanksgiving gatherings could fuel COVID-19 transmission
Ontario could be "on the brink of disaster," a Toronto epidemiologist said Wednesday, as officials continued to urge families to scrap Thanksgiving gatherings amid soaring COVID-19 cases.
This week, the province — and public health officials in the hot zones of Toronto and Ottawa — stressed the safest way to celebrate is with only members of your own household.
Locally, it's something medical officer of health, Dr. Wajid Ahmed is concerned for too.
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"I can understand everything that people are experiencing right now, this is not the same time as before," he said on CBC Radio's Windsor Morning.
"But maybe with different traditions, just this time this year."
Officials and medical experts have been emphasizing that the large, extended family gatherings are not a good idea.
In fact, any indoor gathering is not recommended by health officials at this time.
"Anyone who lives in the same house as you, they are your household contacts, even if it's 10," said Ahmed, explaining that celebrating with those you live with is the safest option for Thanksgiving this year.
Public exposure notices
On Tuesday afternoon, the health unit alerted the public to COVID-19 exposures at three stores:
- Value Village at 4322 Walker Rd. in Windsor on Sept. 25, 26
- Walmart at 3120 Dougall Ave. in Windsor on Sept. 21, 26
- Walmart at 400 Sandwich St. S. in Amherstburg on Sept. 25 - 30
In a news release, the health unit said the exposure risk is low, but they advise that anyone who visited the stores on the specified days monitor for symptoms 14 days from the date of exposure.
How and where to book a COVID-19 test
Walk-in tests for the novel coronavirus ended across the province over the weekend, and anyone in Ontario who wants to take a COVID-19 test will need to book an appointment at an assessment centre or select pharmacies.
According to the province, those looking to book a test at an assessment centre should do so only if they:
- have a symptom of COVID-19
- have a high-risk exposure to someone who has the virus as informed by your public health unit or exposure notification through the COVID Alert app
- is a resident or works in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak
- Residents or workers in long-term care home
- Visitors to a long-term care home
- Residents or workers in homeless shelter
- International students that have passed their 14-day quarantine period
- Farm workers
- Individuals who require a COVID-19 test for international travel clearance
- Self-Identify as Indigenous
- Resident or worker in other congregate living settings and institutions
Windsor Regional Hospital is operating two assessment centres — one at the hospital's Ouellette Campus and one at St. Clair College's Sportsplex.
People can no longer walk-in for testing at these facilities, and instead will have to book an appointment online here, or get assistance by calling 519-973-4443. Those sites are open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Erie Shores HealthCare is also operating an assessment centre under the same criteria as Windsor Regional Hospital.
Those looking to book a test at Erie Shores Healthcare can do so online here or call 519-326-2373 extension 4263. The assessment centre in Leamington is open every day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Asymptomatic testing is currently available at three Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacies in Windsor.
The person must also fall under one of five categories:
- Living, working in or visiting a long-term care facility.
- Residing or volunteering at a shelter.
- Have been given a clearance for international travel.
- An international student travelling into the country to start school after the 14-day isolation period ends.
- An Indigenous person.
For more information or to find a testing site closest to you, visit Ontario's COVID-19 testing website.
COVID-19 in Sarnia-Lambton
Lambton Public Health reported no new COVID-19 cases since last week. 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 on Wednesday. There have been a total of 371 cases in Chatham-Kent.
Three people have died.