Windsor-Essex lowers vaccine eligibility to 40 in COVID-19 hot spots

·3 min read
The mass vaccination clinic at the WFCU Centre is shown during a tour on March 3, 2021. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC - image credit)
The mass vaccination clinic at the WFCU Centre is shown during a tour on March 3, 2021. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC - image credit)

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) has expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility for those 40 and up.

As of Tuesday, those 40 and up (or turning 40 this year) can book an appointment at a mass vaccination clinic if they live in one of the provincially designated hard-hit areas, the health unit announced Tuesday.

In Windsor-Essex, there are seven postal codes that have been deemed COVID-19 hot spots: N8X, N8Y, N9A, N9B, N9C, N8H, N9Y.

The health unit says that those over 40 with "at-risk" health conditions, which include autoimmune disorders, diabetes, mental health disorders and more, are also now eligible to register for an appointment on the health unit's website.

The move to lower the age for vaccines within hot spots follows a similar announcement from the province. On Tuesday morning, the provincial government said it was lowering the minimum age from 50 to 45.

Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health for Windsor-Essex, said that the region is expecting an increase in the vaccine supply, and dropping the eligibility to 45 within hot spots would have been helpful, but not enough to achieve the coverage he wants to see.

"We know that these hot spots are hot spots for a reason. And a lot of these cases of COVID are coming from that region," he said at the health unit's daily briefing on Tuesday.

1 additional death

The health unit also reported one additional death from COVID-19, that of a man in his 50s, and 47 newly diagnosed cases.

There are 20 residents in hospital, including five in intensive care units.

Since the vaccine rollout began, 141,554 people in Windsor-Essex have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Across Windsor-Essex, the list of people who are eligible for vaccines has expanded in recent days and weeks.

Previously, those 50 and up who live in hot spots could book an appointment at one of the mass vaccination clinics, along with those 60 and up outside of hot spot areas.

Adults 40 and up are eligible to receive their shots through the pharmacy vaccination program, along with several other populations including child-care workers and those with high-risk health conditions.

Of the 47 new COVID-19 cases announced Tuesday, 25 are close contacts of previously confirmed cases, five were community acquired, one cases is outbreak related and 16 are under investigation.

Overall, 452 cases of COVID19 are active, along with 14 outbreaks.

There are 10 workplace outbreaks, including:

  • Three in Leamington's agriculture sector.

  • One in Windsor's construction sector.

  • One in Lakeshore's food and beverage sector.

  • One in Windsor's food and beverage sector.

  • Two in Windsor's health care and social assistance sector.

  • One in Windsor's repair and maintenance sector.

  • One in Windsor's retail sector.

An outbreak is ongoing at the Southwest Detention Centre. And while students are currently learning from home, there are two school outbreaks: Ecole Secondaire Catholique l'Essor and Amherstburg Public School.

One long-term care home, Extendicare Southwood Lakes, is also in outbreak, with three cases among staff.

COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent, Sarnia Lambton

There are 69 active COVID-19 cases in Sarnia Lambton, including eight announced on Tuesday. Four outbreaks are also ongoing.

Chatham-Kent has 35 active COVID-19 cases, which includes four reported on Tuesday. The municipality has one outbreak active.