Windsor-Essex passed a milestone in COVID-19 vaccinations over the weekend — more than 50 per cent of all residents have now had at least one shot, said the southwestern Ontario region's medical officer of health.
"While this is good news, we continue to post daily COVID-19 case counts in our community," Dr. Wajid Ahmed said during the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) daily briefing on Tuesday.
"More than half of these cases are variants of concern that continue to pose the threat that things can change quickly."
The WECHU reported a two-day increase of 50 new cases: 34 on Monday and 16 on Tuesday, a multi-day total released due to the Victoria Day holiday.
As of Tuesday, 246,632 vaccine doses had been administered and 227,602 people have had at least one dose, representing 66.7 per cent of all adults.
As of this week, a new population will become eligible to receive their second shots, the health unit said.
Those who received the AstraZeneca vaccine from March 10 to 19 will be eligible to get their second dose at select pharmacies.
WECHU CEO Theresa Marentette said around 4,500 doses have been earmarked for local pharmacies, and the majority will get their allocation on Tuesday. Details on which pharmacies will be stocked with the shot will be made available on the health unit's website, she said.
On Sunday, following a Friday announcement from the province, local vaccine eligibility was expanded to those 12 and up.
The announcement was made ahead of the previous provincial plan, which had been set for the week of May 31.
In the meantime, there will be limited capacity for that population to get vaccinated, said Marentette.
"We have increased a few of our appointments throughout all of the sites this week just a little bit to accommodate some people, but the majority will probably have to wait until May 31 or after that for more availability," she said.
Old Sears being considered for vaccination site
The health unit and its partners have begun discussions on consolidating the four Windsor vaccination sites down to one, but no transition date has been set, the WECHU said.
"These are sites that are for other purposes and those conversations are just beginning to happen. It's a timing issue for sure. We want to make sure that we have as many people vaccinated as we can with first doses and we will be beginning our second doses soon."
Marentette confirmed one of the locations being discussed is the former Sears space at Devonshire Mall.
Vaccinations are now offered at:
Windsor Family Credit Union Centre.
St. Clair College Sportsplex.
Moy Medical Center.
There are also two locations in Essex County: Nature Fresh Farms Recreation Centre in Leamington and Libro Credit Union Centre in Amherstburg.
360 active cases
Throughout Windsor and Essex County, 360 known COVID-19 cases were considered active Tuesday. Of those, 195 involve more contagious variants of concern.
Of the 50 new cases reported between Monday and Tuesday, 12 were close contacts of confirmed cases, six cases were community acquired, three were outbreak related and 29 were under investigation
Twenty-one people who tested positive for COVID-19 were in hospital Tuesday and there have been 424 deaths locally since the pandemic began.
An outbreak at Southwest Detention Centre has been active since April 23.
The 10 ongoing outbreaks at workplaces are:
One in Kingsville's agriculture sector.
Four in Windsor's health-care and social assistance sector.
One in Lakeshore's health-care and social assistance sector.
Two in Windsor's manufacturing sector.
One in Windsor's mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sector.
One in Windsor's food and beverage sector.
Chatham-Kent and Sarnia-Lambton
Lambton Public Health has reported four new cases since Sunday. Fifty-five cases were active overall and 60 people have died from COVID-19 in the region.
The number of active cases in Chatham-Kent has grown by three since the municipality's last update on Friday, 24 cases active in total Tuesday.