'Please be patient:' WECHU says nearly 12,000 seniors signed up to receive vaccine

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WECHU says 144 vaccinations took place at the WFCU Centre on Monday. (Guy Quenneville/CBC - image credit)
WECHU says 144 vaccinations took place at the WFCU Centre on Monday. (Guy Quenneville/CBC - image credit)

COVID-19 vaccinations for seniors 80 and older are ongoing in Windsor-Essex, but the region's top doctor says it will take a while to protect everyone who is eligible.

"We are going though the list as quickly as possible and will continue to schedule people for vaccination," medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed said at the health unit's daily briefing on Tuesday. "Please be patient with us."

About 11,800 people have pre-registered to be vaccinated since appointment applications opened up last Thursday, said Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) CEO and Chief Nursing Officer Theresa Marentette.

The health unit said 144 people who are 80-plus were vaccinated on opening day of its clinic at the WFCU Centre on Monday.

In Chatham-Kent, however, more than 2,000 people in that age group were vaccinated at its clinic on the weekend.

WECHU's vaccine clinic planning was based on receiving up to 2,000 doses of the vaccine per week, and the current supply of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine is being shared between the seniors' clinic and vaccinations for health-care workers at the St. Clair College Sportsplex, Marentette said.

"We developed a process that will use the vaccine that we have, and we have made it a very safe experience for our seniors," she said, adding that she doesn't imagine 1,000 vaccinations taking place per day at the targeted clinic with the senior population.

A second vaccination site, in Leamington, is expected to open next week, and the health unit hopes to vaccinate about 200 people per day at each site.

Total vaccinations given out so far

According to WECHU, 27,835 doses of the vaccine have been given out in Windsor-Essex since the region got its first shipment in December.

Of those doses, more than 11,500 are second shots.

5 deaths due to COVID-19

Five more people in the region have died after contracting COVID-19. The two men in their 60s and three women in their 80s had been living in the community.

The health unit also reported 23 new cases of the virus on Tuesday.

Of those new cases, five are related to outbreaks, three are close contacts of confirmed cases, five were community acquired and the rest are under investigation.

There are 11 COVID-19 outbreaks, including two at Windsor Regional Hospital and two at shelters serving the homeless population — the Downtown Mission and Salvation Army.

Outbreaks are active at five workplaces: one in Leamington's agriculture sector, one in LaSalle's finance and insurance sector, two in Windsor's health-care and social assistance sector and one in Windsor's repair and maintenance sector.

While earlier this year almost half of the seniors homes in Windsor-Essex had outbreaks of COVID-19, there are only two currently active.

Franklin Gardens in Leamington has 38 resident cases and 16 staff cases of COVID-19, and Regency Park in Windsor has 25 resident cases and 15 staff cases.

COVID-19 in Sarnia-Lambton, Chatham-Kent

Ten new COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Sarnia-Lambton, public health officials said Tuesday. The number of active cases dropped from 98 to 73.

Lambton Public Health is one of half a dozen health units in Ontario that is piloting the new provincial COVID-19 vaccine appointment system. Vaccine bookings for paramedics started on Monday.

Chatham-Kent saw no new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. The number of active infections fell by from 15 to 13.