Windsor-Essex is seeing COVID-19 cases rise, and the community can take advantage of the current shutdown to get things under control, according to the medical officer of health.
"This is a great opportunity for us to turn things around and bring our case counts to a level that will allow us to open in a less restricted zone for the reopening," Ahmed said at the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) daily briefing on Monday.
The province-wide shutdown and stay-home order that took effect last week, limiting shopping to essential goods and closing in-person dining, is expected to last four weeks.
And while Windsor-Essex hasn't yet seen the kind of dramatic spike in cases that prompted those new measures, Dr. Wajid Ahmed said residents should remain on "high alert" due to the increases the region is seeing.
The health unit announced 53 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, and a total of 424 cases are active overall.
More than a quarter of those cases, 124, are the more contagious variants of concern that have also been shown to heighten the risk of death.
"Our region is doing OK with the hospitalizations and ICU admissions related to COVID, but it can change very quickly, especially with the variants of concern that have been more predominant in the rest of the province including Windsor-Essex," Ahmed said.
As of Monday, there were six COVID-19 patients in Windsor-Essex hospitals — five of whom who were in intensive-care units.
Ahmed said COVID-19 cases are also rising in schools, with outbreaks declared at two schools and many cohorts dismissed. He said the issue is being monitored and updates will be provided if the risk changes or if a switch to online learning is warranted.
Of the 53 new cases announced on Monday:
19 involve close contacts of cases that were previously identified.
13 were community acquired, meaning there is no known source of transmission
21 are under investigation.
There are eight ongoing outbreaks, including two at schools: Centennial Central Public School and St. Peter Catholic School.
There are also outbreaks at Southwest Detention Centre and Victoria Manor.
There are five workplace outbreaks, taking place in the following settings:
Kingsville's agriculture sector, an outbreak that involves the B117 variant.
Windsor's arts, entertainment and recreation sector.
Windsor's manufacturing sector.
Lakeshore's manufacturing sector.
A personal service setting in Windsor.
COVID-19 exposure ID'd
The health unit has issued a COVID-19 exposure notice for Taco Bell at 3419 Tecumseh Rd. E.
Potential exposure is considered low risk, but anyone who entered the restaurant on the following dates is asked to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for two weeks after the date visited:
April 4 from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
April 5 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
COVID-19 in Sarnia and Chatham-Kent
Lambton Public Health reported 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. There are 127 cases active overall, along with four outbreaks. Fifty-three COVID-19 deaths have occurred since the pandemic started.
Public health officials say they have had to reschedule two immunization clinics due to a delay on 4,000 doses of the vaccine made by Moderna. The clinics were scheduled to take place in Brooke-Alvinston and Forest on Wednesday. The Forest clinic is set to go ahead on Friday while the Brooke Alvinston clinic is scheduled for April 23.
Chatham-Kent Public Health reported an increase of nine new cases; 45 cases are considered active overall. One additional COVID-19 death was reported, bringing the total to 13.