The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported seven new COVID-19 cases for our region Monday, bucking the trend of rising numbers across the province.
One person is a local health-care worker, one person is a resident at a retirement home, one person is at a school, two people had close contacts previously testing positive for COVID-19, one person acquired the virus in the community and one case is still under investigation.
Ontario reported an average of 335 new confirmed COVID-19 infections daily over the last week, prompting Premier Doug Ford and his government to enforce new restrictions on private gatherings.
Medical officer of health, Dr. Wajid Ahmed, said although our region has had the highest rate of COVID-19 in the province despite a relatively smaller population size, Windsor-Essex needs to remain vigilant to avoid further restrictions.
"While this is good news for our region, we cannot be complacent. The new cases we see today are a reaction of what we see two weeks ago," said Ahmed, explaining that two weeks ago our region saw "clusters" which accounted for many of the new cases in Windsor-Essex.
That's the trend health officials are seeing across the province, which is why gathering limits are applied to personal events rather than to businesses.
The limit on indoor gatherings was reduced from 50 people down to ten people, and only 25 people are allowed to gather outside rather than the previous limit of 100 people.
The new limits, which were made effective immediately, will apply to functions such as parties, dinners, gatherings, BBQs or wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, parks and other recreational areas.
Organizers who hold such events face a minimum $10,000 fine and guests could be fined up to $750.
The rules do not apply to "events or gatherings held in staffed businesses and facilities, such as bars, restaurants, cinemas, convention centres, banquet halls, gyms, places of worship, recreational sporting or performing art events."
The limits are set to be in place for the next 28 days.
Ahmed said further restrictions could be imposed across Windsor-Essex or the province.
"Now is the time, please put your effort in the prevention piece," said Ahmed.
"It is time we have now in our region, our case counts have been relatively stable ... we'd like to keep it that way and we can only do it if each of us does our part. It's the only way we can reduce restrictions."
Over the weekend, nine COVID-19 cases were reported for Windsor-Essex.
Three retirement homes are under outbreaks.
At Dolce Vita in Windsor, five residents and two staff members have tested positive for COVID-19.
Rosewood Erie Glen in Leamington had one staff member test positive for the virus.
New Begninnings, also in Leamington, has had an outbreak since August 10. Twenty-one residents have tested positive along with seven staff members.
3 cases at schools
Kingsville District High School has had a confirmed case of COVID-19.
This is the third COVID-19 outbreak at a school in Windsor-Essex. Last week, a case was confirmed at Stella Maris Catholic Elementary School in Amherstburg and days later another case was reported at École secondaire catholique l'Essor in Tecumseh.
In a letter on the Greater Essex County District School Board's website, Kingsville principle Bill Toews said the school has been working with Windsor-Essex County Health Unit by providing a list of students and staff who may have been in contact with the person.
"Both the Vice-principal and I personally contacted any individuals (students and staff) who have an identified high-risk exposure with the confirmed case. If you have not been contacted, you or your child (ren) have not been identified as close contacts," wrote Toews.
A message on the school's website states that the school will remain open.
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:
- Spagos at 3850 Dougall Ave. on Sept. 6, Sept. 9, Sept. 10
- Crunch Fitness LaSalle at 5844 Malden Rd. on Sept. 8.
COVID-19 in Sarnia-Lambton
Lambton Public Health reported one new COVID-19 case over the weekend. There have been a total of 344 cases in Lambton-Kent.
Twenty-five people have died.
COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent
Chatham-Kent Public Health reported no new cases over the weekend. There have been a total of 366 cases in Chatham-Kent.
Two people have died.