Unvaccinated people are 6x more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex

·2 min read
Ten-year-old Jenna Smith was one of the first kids in Windsor-Essex to get a COVID-19 vaccine last Thursday. About 15 new cases reported each day are among school-aged children, according to public health.  (Submitted by Jenna Smith - image credit)
Ten-year-old Jenna Smith was one of the first kids in Windsor-Essex to get a COVID-19 vaccine last Thursday. About 15 new cases reported each day are among school-aged children, according to public health. (Submitted by Jenna Smith - image credit)

During a weekly epidemiology report Thursday, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit showed the dramatic impact COVID-19 vaccination is having on the local community.

People who are unvaccinated in Windsor-Essex are six-times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than those who have been vaccinated, and 4.8-times more likely to end up in intensive care, according to the most recent data.

Unvaccinated individuals are also 3.4 times more likely to contract COVID-19 than those who are fully vaccinated.

Ramsey D'Souza, manager of epidemiology at WECHU, presented the report amid an "explosion of cases" in Windsor-Essex.

"The unvaccinated make up the bulk of our cases" said D'Souza, adding that case rates among unvaccinated people are much higher.

As of Thursday, young people up to the age of 19 make up the bulk of new cases seen over the last two weeks. The health unit reported 83 new cases on Thursday. There are also 23 people in hospital with COVID-19.

Two more people have died due to COVID-19. One person was a man in his 70s, and another a man in his 90s.

Each day, about 15 new COVID-19 cases are among school-aged children, and cases are higher among this group than the overall population, said D'Souza.

About 12,000 Windsor-Essex kids have been dismissed from school due to COVID-19.

Who is vaccinated? Who isn't?

Children aged five to 11 have the lowest vaccination rate in the region because vaccines have only been available to them since last Thursday, though officials say this will increase significantly over the next while.

So far, more than 12.8 per cent of kids in this age group have had their first dose.

Windsor-Essex County Health Unit
Windsor-Essex County Health Unit

However, vaccination rates continue to be low among those aged 18 to 29. In fact, they have the lowest coverage rate in Windsor-Essex.

Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, acting medical officer of health, said that there are a variety of reasons why this age group may be more vaccine hesitant, including their overall perception of the virus compared to individuals who are older.

Overall though, Windsor-Essex has a very low rate of vaccination compared to other regions in Ontario — 25th on the list of regions showing the percentage of eligible people fully-vaccinated.

Windsor-Essex County Health Unit
Windsor-Essex County Health Unit

Overall, case rates have climbed significantly in Windsor-Essex over the last week, with fears they will continue to grow has the holiday season approaches.

"We're already at a rate of activity, quantified by case counts, higher than September," said Dr. Nesathurai, adding that the strain is a burden on the health care system in the region.

The top doctor said vaccines will make the difference, by lowering ICU and hospital admissions, lowering the rate of transmission, and deaths.

Dr. Nesathurai said public health is working hard to ensure school-aged children are protected and can remain in classes in the new year.

WATCH | Want more from WECHU's weekly update? You can watch their full report here:

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