Forget the case count, says Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health

·2 min read

Forget the case count, says Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health.

According to Dr. David Colby, only one number matters now: the number of people in hospitals.

Colby said public health has stopped releasing active case counts in its daily updates. He added that there’s no way to tell how far the virus has spread accurately.

The region’s top doctor admitted that contact tracing has become virtually impossible at this point. He said anyone who feels sick or thinks they may have come in contact with the virus needs to self-isolate.

“We’ve got an overwhelming amount of cases right now, and we’re doing everything we can (with) the ultimate aim of preserving our hospital capacity,” said Colby.

He added there is “no question” that Chatham-Kent is now dealing with community spread and the ramifications of that are profound.

“Many, many times I have said that I have taken comfort in the fact that we don’t have a lot of unlinked cases, well we are flooded with unlinked cases, it is spreading in the community to the point where our case counts have become meaningless because of a shortage of testing,” explained Colby.

According to Colby, the number of cases being identified right now is likely a fraction of the real picture and could be as much as four times higher. However, it is impossible to determine for sure with a lack of testing.

“Everyone needs to do their part to keep themselves and the community safe,” said Colby.

Lori Marshall, President and CEO of Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, echoed Colby’s statement, admitting she is worried about capacity at hospitals across the province.

“Absolutely, I am worried that the capacity will become an issue for every single hospital in the province and not just us.”

Marshall also reported the hospital in Chatham has 33 COVID-19 patients as of Jan. 6. Six patients are in the ICU, and four are in the critical care unit. She added that five ICU patients are on ventilators and are not vaccinated. She also mentioned that nine of the 10 COVID-19 patients in critical care are not vaccinated, and the ICU is 90 percent full.

On Jan. 6, Ontario reported 13,339 COVID cases. Hospitalizations and ICUs continue to increase. Of the 13,339 new cases recorded, the data showed 1,797 were unvaccinated people, 452 were partially vaccinated people, 10,648 were fully vaccinated people, and for 442 people, the vaccination status was unknown.

Ontario reported 2,279 people in hospital wards with COVID-19 (up by 198 from the previous day) with 319 patients in intensive care units (up by 31).

The provincial case total now stands at 841,371. However, due to recent testing eligibility changes, the province warns that counts underestimate the true spread of the virus in the community.

Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News

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