It appears North Kent is being hit with a disproportionate number of COVID-19 cases.
But the reason is unclear.
Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Colby says Chatham-Kent Public Health officials are “puzzled” as to what appears to be increasedl spread in northern section of the municipality.
Outbreaks at Dresden’s high school and at a Wallaceburg nursing home are currently being probed, Colby says, with contact tracing well underway.
“I can’t give you a reason and it’s too soon to tell,” Chatham-Kent’s top doctor told a media conference last week when asked about the source of the outbreaks.
However, he says it’s likely the details of the Wallaceburg outbreak will resemble those of the Blenheim COVID-19 outbreak last fall.
“We do believe we’ll be able to link it up,” Colby adds.
As of Friday there were 31 cases involving residents and staff at Fairfield Park and one case at Lambton Kent Composite School.
Other businesses in Wallaceburg, including Walmart and an eye glass business, have experienced recent outbreaks.
Under provincial guidelines an outbreak is declared as soon as two or more staff or patients test positive for COVID-19 with a 14-day period in a specified area or service.
Chatham-Kent Public Health was able to determine the source of the Blenheim outbreak and staff created a popular graph to illustrate how impact of the virus.
A total of 21 people attending services at the Word of Life church in downtown Blenheim in October led to the eventually isolation of 500 people across the region.
Those that had to isolate included 170 children attending schools, and 180 local donors who gave blood at a Canadian Blood Services clinic in Chatham.
Colby doesn’t have a clear answer as to why the virus is taking hold in the northeast reaches of Chatham-Kent, except to say it’s a “really difficult virus.
“This is a very, very contagious virus,” Colby says. “Every case reported represents a breakdown in precautions.
“We’ve been harping for months about following protocols and proper use of PPE,” he adds.
Colby is confident the majority of healthcare workers are adhering to safety practices and he is certain there is no “systemic breakdown” when it comes to transmissions.
Pam Wright, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Herald