Windsor-Essex reports 39 new cases of COVID-19, 1 death on pandemic anniversary

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WECHU CEO Theresa Marentette, shown in a 2019 file photo, reflected on the anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic during the health unit's daily briefing on Thursday. (Sanjay Maru/CBC - image credit)
WECHU CEO Theresa Marentette, shown in a 2019 file photo, reflected on the anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic during the health unit's daily briefing on Thursday. (Sanjay Maru/CBC - image credit)

Windsor-Essex reported 39 new cases of COVID-19 and one additional death on March 11, the date marking a year since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.

There are currently 281 active cases of COVID-19 in the region, and 395 people have died from the virus, as of the latest update from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU).

Overall, 13,299 people within the region have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began.

Theresa Marentette, CEO of WECHU, was asked to share her reflections on the last year during the health unit's daily briefing Thursday. She spoke of the hardships residents have faced and all the work that has been done to get through the pandemic.

"I can't even really comprehend ... the journey we've all been on," she said. "The different impact of COVID throughout our community and different vulnerable populations from the long-term care homes to... the farms in our area, the congregate living settings, the deaths and — it's incredible."

The flag at Windsor City Hall is flying at half mast Thursday in observance of the first anniversary of the pandemic.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Wajid Ahmed, who usually appears at the daily briefing alongside Marentette, is taking a two-week leave of absence, the health unit announced Thursday.

The health unit said it wasn't commenting on the reasons for Ahmed's leave.

Asked about the role Ahmed has played this year, Marentette praised his contributions and said at every moment of the pandemic, he's been accessible, available and working.

"There's never been a downtime for Windsor," she said. "There wasn't a time where we could say, OK, let's have a breather."

Of the 39 new cases announced Thursday, seven are related to outbreaks, 13 are close contacts of confirmed cases, four were community acquired and 15 cases are under investigation.

The region's 395th death was of a man in his 70s who lived in the community, Marentette said.

So far more than 35,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered and 11,775 people have received both required shots.

On Thursday evening, the health unit issued a potential, low-risk COVID-19 exposure at the Real Canadian Superstore at 201 Talbot St. E. in Leamington. The health unit said anyone who visited the location on March 1 from 12 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., March 5 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and March 7 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. should monitor for symptoms 14 days from the date of exposure.

There are 14 ongoing outbreaks.

There are school outbreaks at Bellewood Public School, Monseigneur Jean Noel and W.F. Herman Academy.

An outbreak remains active at Windsor Regional Hospital, and there are three outbreaks in community settings: Victoria Manor, the Downtown Mission and Salvation Army.

Five workplaces have active outbreaks:

  • One in Kingsville's construction sector.

  • Two in Windsor's healthcare and social assistance sector.

  • One in Windsor's repair and maintenance sector.

  • One at a Windsor retail location.

There are also three active outbreaks at long-term care and retirement facilities:

  • Devonshire Retirement Residence in Windsor, with one staff case.

  • Dolce Vita in Windsor, with three resident cases and one staff case.

  • Leamington Mennonite Home with one staff case.

COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent, Sarnia-Lambton

Health officials in Chatham-Kent reported seven new cases of COVID-19 Thursday and there are 46 active cases in total.

In Lambton County, there were 28 new cases, and 152 are active overall. Public health officials said there have been nine cases of variants of concern found in the region, including several found in an outbreak at a school.