Windsor-Essex is continuing to see a sharp decline in new COVID-19 cases, but it remains unclear whether any restrictions will be lifted after nearly two months of lockdown.
Ontario's stay-at-home order is set to expire on Tuesday, and cabinet is meeting Friday to discuss options for potentially reopening the economy.
Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, had no update on what restrictions could look like if and when the order is lifted. He previously said Windsor-Essex meets the criteria for red zone restrictions, which are less strict than the current lockdown.
At a briefing on Friday, he presented an epidemiological update that showed many key statistics related to the pandemic are headed in the right direction.
Given the lengthy lockdown, the turnaround is not surprising to him, but he said no one should let their guard down at this stage.
"When there are low [numbers of] cases in the community, you follow these measures to keep it low," he said.
At one point, COVID-19 tests in Windsor-Essex were coming back positive at a higher rate than anywhere else in the province, Ahmed said. But as of the week that ended on Saturday, the region has dropped to fifth-highest in Ontario, with a test positivity rate of 4.5 per cent.
While case counts have been trending downward for weeks, transmission still remains higher than the provincial average.
The local case rate for the most recent week was about 83 people per 100,000 -- almost half of what it was for the previous week.
Hospitalizations are down as well. The death toll is beginning to stabilize, according to Ahmed, after a month that saw more COVID-19 deaths than all of 2020.
There were two new deaths announced by the health unit on Friday, along with 41 additional cases of the virus.
Active case count remains around 400
There are currently 405 active cases of COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex, three higher than Thursday but still among the lowest the region has seen since late November.
Throughout the region, there are 53 people in hospital with COVID-19, with 10 in ICU.
There are 32 outbreaks active in the region, including five between Windsor Regional Hospital and Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare.
Outbreaks are active at 12 workplaces:
Four in Leamington's agricultural sector.
Two in Kingsville's agricultural sector.
One in Windsor's health care and social assistance sector.
One in Tecumseh's health care and social assistance sector.
Two in Windsor's manufacturing sector.
One in Tecumseh's Windsor's manufacturing sector.
One in a public administration setting in Windsor
There are 15 active outbreaks at long-term care and retirement facilities:
Franklin Gardens in Leamington, with 25 resident cases and 12 staff cases.
Heron Terrace in Windsor, with two resident cases and two staff case.
Chartwell Leamington, with two resident cases and two staff case.
Regency Park in Windsor, with 22 resident cases and 14 staff cases.
Chartwell Royal Marquis in Windsor, with four resident cases and one staff case.
Devonshire Retirement Residence in Windsor, with 48 resident cases and eight staff cases.
Rosewood Erie Glen in Leamington, with 42 resident cases and 10 staff cases.
Augustine Villas in Kingsville, with 66 resident and 20 staff cases.
Sunrise Assisted Living of Windsor, with 15 resident cases and nine staff cases.
Huron Lodge in Windsor, with 48 resident cases and 26 staff cases.
Sun Parlor Home in Leamington with two resident cases and 14 staff cases.
Banwell Gardens Care Centre in Windsor, with 116 resident cases and 64 staff cases.
The Shoreview at Riverside in Windsor, with 30 resident cases and 16 staff cases.
Extendicare Tecumseh, with 90 resident cases and 62 staff cases.
Berkshire Care Centre in Windsor, with 99 resident and 62 staff cases.
The Village at St. Clair in Windsor, with 174 resident cases and 141 staff cases.
Village of Aspen Lake in Tecumseh, with 65 resident cases and 33 staff cases.
COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent, Sarnia-Lambton
Sarnia-Lambton announced two new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, for a total of 1,854 since the pandemic began.
Chatham-Kent Public Health has seen 1,264, seven of which were reported Friday.
There are 49 active cases in Lambton County and 136 in Chatham-Kent.