The number of COVID-19 related deaths in Chatham-Kent has increased to 18.
“This just underscores the serious nature of this virus again and encourages everyone to please get vaccinated if you are not vaccinated already. Definitely expressing our condolences and sympathies to the family,” said Chatham Kent Health Alliance President and CEO Lori Marshall.
While Marshall did not give out the person’s gender or age, Chatham-Kent’s Medical Health Officer of Health, Dr. David Colby, said, “the person was unvaccinated.”
Marshall said 13 people who tested positive remain under the care of CKHA with five individuals in the Intensive Care Unit, with four of them on ventilators.
Chatham-Kent public health also reported two more COVID-19 outbreaks in the region on Sept. 24.
The Copper Terrace long-term care home in Chatham has three cases, while Tilbury District high school has two, the health unit stated on its website.
With 13 new confirmed cases, as of Sept. 24, there are currently 112 active cases in the community after factoring in recoveries.
The vaccination rate is up slightly in Chatham-Kent, with 75 percent of the population, 12 and older, having received two doses and 81 percent with one dose.
Dr. Colby reminds everyone that while the vaccine doesn’t eliminate the virus altogether, it does prevent serious illness and hospitalization.
“The virus is not like a football; you don’t just grab it and throw it and pass it on. You’ve got to catch the infection in order to transmit it to others. A vaccine very much lessens the chance that you’ll catch this infection and will have a very large effect on the transmission in a community,” said Colby. ” For those (vaccinated) that acquire the infection, there are studies that show they shed less virus and for a shorter period of time.”
According to Colby, only one vaccinated person in Chatham-Kent has gotten sick enough to go to the hospital.
He added he believes the number of COVID-19 cases has peaked and maybe on the way down.
Colby also said he is pleased to hear the latest news regarding Pfizer announcing their COVID-19 vaccine is safe and protective in kids aged five to 11.
They plan to ask for authorization to use the vaccine in children in that age range in Canada, the United States, Europe and elsewhere as soon as possible.
The companies said the vaccine generated an immune response in the five- to 11-year-olds in their Phase II/III clinical trial that matched what they had previously observed in 16- to 25-year-olds.
Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News