The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) is expanding COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to another group of seniors: those in the age range of 70 to 74.
Theresa Marentette, CEO of WECHU, said as of Friday, appointments for people in that age range can be booked at one of the health unit's four targeted clinics.
The vaccinations are occurring by appointment only, and bookings can be made on the health unit's website or WEVax.ca.
"You'll be able to choose your preferred location and appointment time based on availability," Marentette said.
Nearly a quarter of those in the age group have already gotten their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, many through a pilot project ongoing at 57 local pharmacies, Marentette said.
Case rate has fallen
Meanwhile, Dr. Wajid Ahmed, the region's medical officer of health, said the latest COVID-19 rates show some improvement but it's too early to say whether the local trend will continue in a downward direction.
"It's just the early indication that at least we are not getting worse. We're either stable or moving in a better position," he said during his weekly epidemiological summary at the health unit's daily briefing on Friday.
His report showed that the region's most recent weekly case rate per 100,000 people — 38.1 — is within the criteria for the region to see a switch from the red level of COVID-19 restrictions to orange, though the current percentage of test results coming back positive — 3.5 per cent — is too high.
The province did not announce any change to COVID-19 restrictions within Windsor-Essex on Friday. The region has been at the red level since mid-February.
The health unit also announced 16 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday. Ten people diagnosed were close contacts of previous cases, five cases community acquired and one case is under investigation
There are 226 cases active, and the death toll has stood at 401 since March 16.
Fifty-five cases of COVID-19 that involve variants of concern have been identified locally. Two have been confirmed to be the variant first found in the U.K. while the rest of the results are preliminary.
Seventeen people are currently in hospital, including six in intensive care.
So far 77,670 vaccine doses have been administered in the region.
There are currently 11 active outbreaks throughout the region.
Five community settings are in outbreak:
The Welcome Centre.
The Salvation Army.
The Downtown Mission.
South West Detention Centre.
Five workplaces are in outbreak:
One in Kingsville's agriculture sector
One in Essex's manufacturing sector.
One in Tecumseh's manufacturing sector.
One in Windsor's public administration sector.
One in Windsor's repair and maintenance sector.
One school, W.F. Herman Academy, has an active outbreak.
The health unit also issued a low-risk COVID-19 exposure notice for the Tim Hortons in Devonshire Mall Friday afternoon. Anyone who visited the location on March 16 between 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. is asked to monitor for symptoms 14 days from the date of exposure, according to the health unit.
COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent, Sarnia Lambton
There were 29 new cases announced in Sarnia-Lambton on Friday. There are currently 217 active cases in the region.
Chatham-Kent saw seven new cases. The number of active cases dropped below 100, however, to 97.
Lambton Public Health is a grey "lockdown" zone while Chatham-Kent is at the red level.
Neither region saw any change to their COVID-19 restriction level on Friday.