On the same day that vaccine appointments opened up to all adults for the first time in Windsor-Essex, the local public health unit also extended eligibility to two other groups: teenage essential workers and children 12 and older with some health conditions.
Theresa Marentette, CEO of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU), made the announcement Tuesday at the health unit's daily briefing on YouTube.
Residents turning 16 this year or older who are front-line essential workers — employed in roles in the food service industry, for example — are eligible to book their first vaccine appointment as of Tuesday morning.
Children 12 and up who have certain health conditions are also eligible to receive the shot. The list, which includes conditions such as diabetes and kidney diseases, is available on the health unit's website.
Across the province, everyone 18 and older became eligible to book appointments on Tuesday morning.
Locally, the vaccination rate among adults is already 60.2 per cent in Windsor-Essex, meaning 205,356 people have received one or more doses.
Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health, stressed that non-vaccinated residents should book their appointments as soon as possible.
"Our vaccine coverage rate is increasing, but we need to get to to a level where the ongoing transmission is stopped," he said.
Ahmed said he hopes that offering COVID-19 vaccines to younger populations will contribute to lower case rates in the region.
On Tuesday, the health unit reported the region's lowest daily case count seen since late March. There were 16 new cases of COVID-19, and 335 cases are active overall. Fifty-five per cent of the active cases involve variants of concern, according to the health unit.
Of the new cases, five were close contacts of previously confirmed cases, nine were community acquired and two were under investigation.
There is one outbreak active in a community setting, the Southwest Detention Centre, as well as eight outbreaks at workplaces:
Three in Windsor's health care and social assistance sector.
One in Lakeshore's health care and social assistance sector.
Two in Windsor's manufacturing sector.
One in Windsor's mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction sector.
One in a retail setting in Windsor.
COVID-19 in Sarnia-Lambton, Chatham-Kent
On Tuesday, Sarnia-Lambton's public health unit opened vaccine eligibility to those 12 and up at its Point Edward Arena site.
There was one new case of COVID-19 announced and one additional death reported in the region. Overall, 73 cases are active in Sarnia-Lambton. Fifty-eight deaths linked to COVID-19 have occurred since the pandemic began.
Chatham-Kent Public Health reported six new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, with 35 cases active overall.