Chatham-Kent COVID-19 cases trending in right direction: Health officer

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After seeing a sharp uptick in COVID-19 cases, Chatham-Kent is now heading in the right direction, according to the municipality's top public health doctor.

Dr. David Colby, medical officer of health for Chatham-Kent, said new cases have decreased in recent days, though he'd like to see the active case count a lot lower than where it's at.

As of Wednesday, there are 91 active cases in the region.

"Our active cases are trending down considerably," he said at a Chatham-Kent Board of Health meeting Wednesday.

Colby said he didn't know whether the trend was the result of the provincial lockdown or if the region is finally done with seeing the impact from holiday gatherings.

The health unit reported 11 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. Five people are currently hospitalized and five people have died of COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent since the pandemic began.

There are nine active outbreaks, down three since Tuesday.

Unlike Windsor, Chatham-Kent has yet to receive a supply of the COVID-19 vaccine. The health unit is still awaiting word on when that will happen.

"When we get them is up to the province," Colby said of the vaccines. "I advocate as much as I can to get them."

Colby said he's hopeful that he will have "a lot better news" to share during the next board meeting.

He said there will be some "reallocation decisions" made at the provincial level due to news of delays affecting the Pfizer-BioNtech shot, but couldn't provide further detail on how it would affect Chatham-Kent.

Nonetheless, he said the health unit would be ready to start administering vaccines to seniors' facilities shortly after they arrive.

Board of Health endorses paid sick days

During the meeting, the Chatham-Kent Board of Health passed a resolution to send a letter to the provincial government advocating for paid sick days.

The move follows a similar effort by the board of health in Toronto, sparked by concern that some workers are faced with the choice between going to work sick and potentially spreading the virus, or staying home and not getting paid.

The motion called on the province to make 10 or more sick days available annually during infectious disease emergencies such as the pandemic, and require employers to provide at least five paid sick days at other times.