The upward trend of COVID cases in Chatham-Kent is prompting warnings from health officials.
“I am extremely concerned about the recent uptick in cases,” says Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Colby. Aug. 20 the county had six new cases to push the active total to 33.
Chatham-Kent is still far from the totals of some neighbours; Middlesex-London had 38 new cases last Friday for 152 total active and Windsor-Essex saw 69 new infections as their active count leapt to 363.
“We have no outbreaks at the present time which is good news. And we’re able to link almost all of our cases to other cases,” says Colby on some of the positives he’s seeing.
But, “The links are commensurate with what we’ve been warning everyone about, that Delta is extremely contagious... We may need more physical distancing than what our recommendations have reflected thus far,” says Colby.
Colby says most people getting sick share something in common. “Almost without exception our cases are in unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated people. Almost all of them are in people that have had no COVID vaccine at all.”
“This has been consistent now for weeks. There have been two or three (cases) in the last several weeks that have had some degree of vaccination and none of those have had severe disease.”
“What is becoming increasingly clear is that this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” says Colby.
Last Friday Chatham-Kent had 77 per cent (71,646) residents with one dose and 69 per cent (65,051) fully vaccinated.
Aug. 19 there were three patients in hospital with COVID, one of them in the ICU. Chatham-Kent Health Alliance President and CEO Lori Marshall says rising ICU intakes in the province is another worrying trend.
“The majority of patients in hospitals across the province continue to be individuals who are not yet fully vaccinated.”
The emergency room is another place seeing increased demand. Marshall is asking people to try and limit their visits so hospitals don’t become overwhelmed.
“At our emergency department, visits overall are back at, or above, our pre-COVID levels in terms of the number of visits per day,” says Marshall.
“We encourage people to reach out to their primary care provider or family doctor or nurse practitioner… as an option versus coming to emergency for things that could be seen in that area.”
Colby says there’s still time to halt COVID’s trek and avoid a devastating fourth wave. “This is really something that needs to be addressed before we are in a full blown wave… If you visualize this as a graph we’re still in the foothills, not looking at the Matterhorn peak yet. So the time to act is now.”
Alex Kurial, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Independent