The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported five new COVID-19 cases for our region on Thursday and have identified another cluster of cases that have resulted due to social gatherings.
Medical officer of health, Dr. Wajid Ahmed, said through case and contact investigation, health unit officials are able to trace where cases come from by identifying contacts of those who are affected.
About 20 people — 19 confirmed and one highly probably — have tested positive for COVID-19 in this new cluster.
The majority of these individuals are between the ages of 20 and 29 years old.
"The initial cluster started sometime in early September when there was a family gathering at Blue Mountain in Collingwood," explained Ahmed.
"Some members ended up attending another family gathering and there was some exposure."
One of the children of one of the families involved had a celebration which prompted some other group of friends to attend a restaurant, and then a cottage in Tobermory, and a number of individuals have been potentially exposed from the cottage, said Ahmed.
It's not clear if the involved people acquired the virus from outside Windsor-Essex, or if someone who attended the gatherings already had it before attending.
Ahmed said anyone with ever minor COVID-19 symptoms should not be attending any events or gatherings and should self-isolate.
This is the second "cluster" of cases seen in Windsor-Essex linked back to social gatherings.
The health unit previously reported 37 people were linked to a cluster of events earlier this month.
Of the five new cases reported today, one case was a close contact of someone who had COVID-19, three people acquired the virus in the community and another remains under investigation.
There are outbreaks at three local retirement homes.
New Beginnings retirement home in Leamington remains under an outbreak with 21 residents positive for the disease along with seven staff members.
A staff member at Rosewood Erie Glen in Leamington has tested positive COVID-19.
Two staff members and four residents at Dolce Vita in Windsor have tested positive.
Health unit happy with how elementary school handled 1st COVID-19 case
The health unit will allow the teacher of a student who tested positive for COVID-19 at Stella Maris Catholic Elementary to keep attending the Amherstburg school if they are deemed a low-risk contact.
The case is the region's first at an elementary school since schools reopened last Thursday.
About 20 students were sent home to self-isolate Tuesday after one of their classmates tested positive for the virus. The school was notified that morning, and students were dismissed throughout the day.
During the health unit's daily COVID-19 briefing Wednesday, Ahmed said he's happy with how the school handled the situation.
"We've tried to identify any potential risk to anyone outside that case and to that classroom," said Ahmed.
Health officials are advising close contacts of the student — classmates and siblings, for example — to self-isolate for 14 days and to get tested for COVID-19 within five days of the initial reported exposure. It's a recommendation, however, and is not mandatory.
If no symptoms develop, classmates of the student will be allowed to return to school after 14 days.
Potential public exposures
Over the past few weeks, the health unit has flagged several businesses for potential COVID-19 exposures.
In each case, a customer or staff member has tested positive and the health unit wants anybody who may have come into contact to be alerted, self-monitor for symptoms and seek care if symptoms develop.
The affected businesses and dates include:
- Kindred Credit Union at 243 Erie St S. on Sept. 3, Sept. 4
- The Chelsea at 576 Ouellette Ave. on Sept. 6
- Spagos at 3850 Dougall Ave. on Sept. 6, Sept. 9, Sept. 10
- Crunch Fitness LaSalle at 5844 Malden Rd. on Sept. 8.
- Ciocario Club at 3745 North Talbot Rd. on Sept. 4.
- Shopper's Drug Mart at 3950 Dougall Ave. on Sept. 4.
COVID-19 in Sarnia-Lambton
Lambton Public Health has reported no new cases of COVID-19 since Thursday. The region is recording a total of 343 cases.
Twenty-five people have died.
COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent
Chatham-Kent Public Health reported no new cases on Wednesday. There have been a total of 366 positive cases, with three active cases in that community.
Two people there have died from the disease.