Though case counts remain high, the COVID-19 rate in Windsor-Essex has shown some improvement in the last week, according to the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.
The average number of cases the region is reporting daily has fallen to about 60, from 70 the previous week, Ramsey D'Souza, manager of epidemiology for the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, told reporters.
Despite the decrease, case rates are higher here than almost anywhere else in the province. The latest provincial statistics show Windsor-Essex has the second-highest rate per 100,000 people among 34 health units, eclipsed only by Chatham-Kent.
Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, acting medical officer of health, said the region is at a "pivotal time" and the presence of COVID-19 in the community is greater than in the third wave.
He appealed to those eligible and who are not yet vaccinated — an estimated 70,000 local residents — to get their shots.
"It is something that we can all do to try to minimize the burden of COVID-19 on the community."
On Wednesday, the health unit declared an outbreak at St. Joseph's Catholic High School in Windsor and ordered a switch to online instruction.
Five cases have been identified. Nesathurai said the school captures an area with a lower vaccination rate. He said the decision to close the school also reflects the prevalence of the virus in the community overall.
47 new cases
Forty-seven more people in Windsor-Essex have tested positive for COVID-19, the health unit announced Thursday.
There are 416 cases active overall. Currently, 17 people with COVID-19 are in hospital and 22 outbreaks are ongoing.
The outbreaks include one at Berkshire Care Centre, one at South West Detention Centre and one at a Kiwanis camp in Leamington.
The remainder are at various workplaces:
Seven agriculture businesses in Leamington.
One agriculture settings in Kingsville.
Five health-care and social assistance workplaces in Windsor.
One health-care and social assistance workplace in Kingsville.
One health-care and social assistance workplace in LaSalle.
Two manufacturing settings in Windsor.
One fitness and sports setting in Windsor.
One in a retail setting in Windsor.
The health unit issued a COVID-19 exposure alert in relation to the Downtown Windsor Farmers Market. Anyone who attended on Sept. 11, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., is urged to self-monitor for symptoms until Sept. 25. Anyone who is considered a high-risk contact, and should therefore get tested for COVID-19, will be contacted by the health unit.
COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent, Sarnia-Lambton
In Chatham-Kent, 19 new COVID-19 cases were reported Thursday. In total, there are 115 active cases.
Intensive care units at the municipality's hospital, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, are currently at 100 per cent capacity. Sixteen COVID-19 patients are hospitalized, five of whom are in ICU, the hospital's president told reporters on Thursday.
"I am both disheartened and quite worried about our situation at the hospital currently," said CKHA president Lori Marshall.
Lambton Public Health reported 11 new cases, and 35 cases are active overall.