The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit will release its first set of COVID-19 numbers for 2022 tomorrow, but the case count might not accurately reflect the burden of disease in the community.
At the end of last week, the provincial government announced it was changing testing eligibility, which means that not everyone can receive a test if symptomatic. In response, Ontario epidemiologists said this greatly reduces the significance of new daily case counts as a measure of community spread.
In an attempt to curb the significant spread the province has seen over the holidays — with more than 16,000 new cases reported Sunday — officials announced a list of new measures Monday, including virtual classes for students beginning Wednesday.
In a news release Monday, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) said the provincial service that helps contact positive cases is delayed "due to a high volume of cases across Ontario."
Last month, (WECHU) said it would be switching to a provincial system for case and contact management, which prioritizes people who are most vulnerable and at high-risk. Following this, it said people who test positive should inform their own close contacts.
WECHU said if someone is symptomatic, has been exposed or has tested positive on a rapid test or PCR from an assessment centre, the person should immediately isolate and inform their close contacts.
"It is possible that you will not be contacted during your contagious period," WECHU said in the release.
In an interview with Windsor Morning Monday, CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital David Musyj said they are still seeing a steady number of COVID-19 patients in hospital.
As of Monday morning, Windsor Regional Hospital has 29 patients with COVID-19, four of whom are in the ICU.
He said they are currently trying to balance the pause on some elective surgeries with visitor restrictions and the continued spread of the disease.
LISTEN: Musyj speaks about hospital resources
"We're just starting to see the patients impacted by Omicron becoming hospital inpatients because again our hospital is a trailing indicator to the movement of the virus through the system," Musyj said.
"The concern is what they're projecting over the next two to three weeks with respect to hospital admissions related to COVID and non-COVID and the impact that's going to have on our system."
Kids COVID testing clinic available for online booking
In a news release Sunday, Windsor Regional Hospital said it has launched a new online booking system for COVID-19 testing appointments at its Ouellette Campus Assessment Centre and Paediatric Urgent Medical Assessment (PUMA) clinic at its Met Campus.
Appointments begin on Tuesday and can be booked starting today. People can also call 519-973-4443 to book appointments.