With the number of active COVID-19 cases in Windsor-Essex falling below 200 as of Wednesday, the trend is headed in the right direction, according to the region's chief medical officer of health.
"This has been a success for our community," Dr. Wajid Ahmed said at the Windsor-Essex Count Health Unit (WECHU) briefing on YouTube Wednesday morning.
"Especially in the third wave, I think we dodged a bullet because of our high vaccination rate and our community sticking to the public health measures."
In the third wave, Windsor-Essex saw an uptick in cases but wasn't nearly as hard-hit as the rest of the province, which saw months of surging case counts and hospital admissions.
Ahmed added that he was confident the region's numbers would be in good shape by the week of June 14, when the province is expected to enter the first phase of its COVID-19 reopening plan, depending on trends at that time.
Following a decline in cases across the province, Premier Doug Ford, along with his health and education ministers, are holding a press conference at 1 p.m. where they are expected to comment on whether school will resume in-person for the first time since April or whether online learning will be in place for the remainder of the school year.
In Windsor-Essex, there are 197 active COVID-19 cases, down from 358 two weeks ago.
On Wednesday, the health unit reported 18 new cases of COVID-19.
The local vaccination rate continues to grow daily, with 250,857 people having received at least one dose since the vaccination effort began in December. A little more than 71 per cent of adults are vaccinated with one dose or more, along with more than 7,000 youth.
The health unit, which is looking to boost that youth vaccination rate, is offering a pop-up vaccine clinic in Essex for those aged 12 to 17, as well as their immediate family members.
The clinic is taking place at the Essex Centre Sports Complex from noon to 7 p.m. on Thursday. As many as 500 vaccines will be available, according to WECHU CEO Theresa Marentette.
She said 426 people were vaccinated at a similar youth clinic held in Lakeshore on Tuesday.
18 new cases
Of the new COVID-19 cases announced Wednesday, five were due to close contact with a confirmed case, four were community acquired — meaning no known source of transmission — one case is related to an outbreak and eight cases remain under investigation.
Of the 197 active cases, 101 were caused by the more contagious variants of concern. To date, the region has recorded 1,802 preliminary or confirmed variant cases, the vast majority of which were identified as the B117 variant first found in the U.K.
Eleven people were in hospital with COVID-19 cases locally, including six in intensive care.
There are 10 outbreaks, including what is considered a community outbreak at the Southwest Detention Centre.
Since the outbreak at the jail was declared in April, 14 cases have been found among inmates and staff. Ahmed said Wednesday that just two cases are currently active and the health unit anticipates rescinding the outbreak in the short-term.
The other nine outbreaks are at workplaces:
One in Kingsville's agriculture sector.
Three in Windsor's health-care and social assistance sector.
One in Lakeshore's health-care and social assistance sector.
One in Windsor's manufacturing sector.
One in Tecumseh's manufacturing sector.
One in Lakeshore's finance and insurance sector.
One in Windsor's food and beverage sector.
Chatham-Kent and Sarnia-Lambton
Chatham-Kent Public Health recorded no new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, and there are 15 active cases in the municipality overall.
Lambton Public Health reported six new cases Wednesday and one additional COVID-19 related death. There have been 61 fatalities due to COVID-19 in Sarnia-Lambton since the pandemic began. The region's active case count stands at 35.