Windsor-Essex's COVID-19 vaccination rollout is set to hit a milestone Thursday, when vaccines will be administered at the last retirement home in the region awaiting the shot.
The health unit's top doctor also expressed optimism about a "slight improvement" in the region's recent COVID-19 case counts.
But Windsor-Essex is still seeing the consequences of high community spread, according to Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health with Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.
Three new deaths were reported Thursday, and 110 people are currently in hospital with COVID-19.
"All these consequences that we're observing right now is a lagging indicator of what happened a few weeks ago or about a month ago," said Ahmed.
The region reported 101 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday. The three people who died were women who lived in seniors' homes.
There are currently 2,216 active cases of COVID-19 in the region, a number that has fallen by about 600 cases in one week.
"We are making process little by little. I am hopeful. I am optimistic," Ahmed said, adding that the progress is a result of collective efforts to control the spread of the virus.
Vaccinations nearly complete at seniors' homes
Meanwhile, the health unit expects to complete the first wave of shots at seniors' homes Thursday, pending vaccinations at one last facility.
Residents, staff and essential caregivers in more than 40 homes throughout the region were eligible, though many people still need to be vaccinated because COVID-19 meant they couldn't get the shot.
There are 19 homes currently in outbreak, with hundreds of residents and staff infected.
On Wednesday, the health unit announced that second visits to follow up with those still needing a first dose are being delayed due to the tight supply of the Moderna vaccine.
Supply of a second vaccine from Pfizer-BioNtech, which is being distributed through Windsor Regional Hospital, is expected to be drastically reduced as well.
Ahmed said the delay represents a hiccup but that the region is likely ahead of many others in the province when it comes to vaccine rollout.
49 active outbreaks, 11 on farms
Theresa Marentette, CEO and chief nursing officer, said there are 49 active outbreaks in the region.
They include 11 outbreaks in the agrifarm sector with 57 active cases, 255 people recovered and 104 isolating in hotels.
Death toll hits 280
Overall in the pandemic, 280 people in Windsor-Essex have lost their lives to COVID-19.
Of the 101 new COVID-19 cases announced Thursday, 18 are connected to outbreaks, 11 are close contacts of confirmed cases while 72 remain under investigation.
Out of the 49 outbreaks, five were at hospitals. There were four outbreaks active at Windsor Regional Hospital and one at Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare.
A second outbreak at Hotel Dieu's Crisis and Mental Wellness Centre, which was declared on Jan. 9, is now over. The outbreak saw two staff test positive.
Two community settings, both Assisted Living Southwestern Ontario locations, were in outbreak on Thursday.
Outbreaks were active at 23 workplaces:
Seven in Leamington's agricultural sector.
Four in Kingsville's agricultural sector.
Four in Windsor's health care and social assistance sector.
One in Lakeshore's health care and social assistance sector.
One in Kingsville's health care and social assistance sector.
One in Windsor's manufacturing sector.
One in a personal service setting in LaSalle.
One in a public administration setting in Windsor.
One in a retail setting in Essex.
One in a retail setting in Lakeshore
One in a transportation and warehousing setting in Windsor
There are 19 active outbreaks at long-term care and retirement facilities:
Chartwell Leamington in Leamington with one staff case.
Regency Park in Windsor with seven resident cases and five staff cases.
Chartwell Royal Marquis, with one resident case and one staff case.
Harrow Woods Retirement Home, with six resident cases and two staff cases.
Seasons Retirement Home in Amherstburg, with three staff cases.
Devonshire Retirement Residence in Windsor, with 31 resident cases and six staff cases.
Chartwell Royal Oak in Kingsville, with two staff cases.
Rosewood Erie Glen in Leamington, with 36 resident cases and six staff cases.
Leamington Mennonite Home with seven staff cases.
Augustine Villas in Kingsville, with 60 resident and 16 staff cases.
Sunrise Assisted Living of Windsor, with 13 resident cases and eight staff cases.
Huron Lodge in Windsor, with 46 resident cases and 26 staff cases.
Sun Parlor Home in Leamington with two resident cases and 12 staff cases.
Banwell Gardens Care Centre in Windsor, with 115 resident cases and 62 staff cases.
The Shoreview at Riverside in Windsor, with 29 resident cases and 14 staff cases.
Extendicare Tecumseh, with 90 resident cases and 57 staff cases.
Berkshire Care Centre in Windsor, with 98 resident and 61 staff cases.
The Village at St. Clair in Windsor, with 163 resident cases and 132 staff cases.
Village of Aspen Lake in Tecumseh, with 60 resident cases and 30 staff cases.
Sarnia-Lambton saw an increase of 45 new cases of the virus Thursday, for a cumulative total of 1,730.
Chatham-Kent, where cases are trending downward, saw seven new cases, bringing its total to 1,046.