The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) says seniors in Windsor shouldn't be getting assigned to a COVID-19 vaccination appointment in Leamington but the CEO acknowledged that there may be some hiccups in the plan.
Theresa Marentette, CEO of WECHU, explained that Leamington, Kingsville, Essex and Lakeshore residents who are 80 and older are supposed to be getting selected to receive vaccines at the Nature Fresh Farms Recreation Centre in Leamington, which opened on Monday.
People with addresses in Tecumseh, LaSalle, Amherstburg and Windsor are getting their names selected for appointments at the WFCU Centre site.
The health unit set up its own registration system for appointments ahead of a provincial one, and those selected to receive vaccines are being picked randomly.
"There may be some issues, I know there was a [news] story, but whatever happened, that wasn't our intent to have people come here unless there's the ability, or they want to," she told reporters at the Leamington vaccination site, formerly known as the Leamington Kinsmen Recreation Complex, on Wednesday morning.
"We're trying to make it as good as we can knowing it's not perfect."
Marentette and Medical Officer of Health Dr. Wajid Ahmed took media outlets on a walkthrough of the Leamington facility on Wednesday morning, along with Leamington Mayor Hilda MacDonald, Essex County Warden Gary McNamara and Kristin Kennedy, CEO of Erie Shores Healthcare.
Six stations for vaccinations have been set up at the site, and the health unit says it hopes to vaccinate nine people every 15 minutes.
Mary Ellen Davison, 81, said she felt "terrific" after receiving the shot on Wednesday, and said her experience at the facility couldn't have been better.
"I was excited to get the injection," she said.
Davison, who lives in Windsor, said it wasn't an issue for her to get to Leamington to receive her vaccination, but said it could be a problem for others, particularly those who are older.
Yvonne Parent, 82, admitted she was a bit nervous to get the shot Wednesday but said was feeling OK afterward.
She's looking forward to being a step closer to things getting back to normal, saying she doesn't go out anymore.
On Monday, the day the clinic opened, 168 people were vaccinated.
The clinic is currently open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., but the health unit aims to extend hours when there's more supply of the vaccine.
The region is expecting to see a large increase in the availability of vaccines by the end of March, from about 4,000 doses weekly to up to 13,000, according to Ahmed.
As of Tuesday, there were more than 13,600 eligible seniors pre-registered to receive a vaccine appointment, but officials have stressed it will take some time for everyone to receive a shot.
So far, 1,300 people within that age group have been vaccinated against COVID-19 at the Leamington and Windsor sites.
Amherstburg is being considered for a future vaccination site in Essex County, Ahmed said.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported 36 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday.
There are 15 ongoing outbreaks.
They include one at Windsor Regional Hospital, one at Victoria Manor, and two at shelters serving people who are homeless, the Downtown Mission and Salvation Army.
Six workplaces have active outbreaks:
One in Kingsville's construction sector.
Two in Windsor's healthcare and social assistance sector.
One in Windsor's manufacturing sector.
One in Windsor's repair and maintenance sector.
One at a Windsor retail location.
There are also three active outbreaks at long-term care and retirement facilities:
Devonshire Retirement Residence in Windsor, with one staff case.
Dolce Vita in Windsor, with three resident cases.
Leamington Mennonite Home with one staff case
There are three school outbreaks — at Bellewood Public School, Monseigneur Jean Noel and a new outbreak at W.F. Herman Academy.
COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent, Sarnia-Lambton
Health officials in Chatham-Kent reported eight new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, and officials announced that more people are eligible to be vaccinated. Those 75 and older and all health-care workers can call to book an appointment.
In Lambton County, there were 13 new cases recorded, and 137 are active in total.