Workplace COVID-19 cases on the rise in Windsor-Essex, health unit says

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The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported 72 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. (Vince Robinet/CBC - image credit)
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported 72 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. (Vince Robinet/CBC - image credit)

Windsor-Essex is seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases in workplaces, according to the region's medical officer of health.

Dr. Wajid Ahmed said Wednesday that businesses should keep as many workers at home as possible, review their policies, and make sure public health guidelines are being followed.

"With the variants of concern on the rise, cases can increase rapidly, especially in the workplace, and can potentially lead to closure of the workplace, which can have an impact on the business," he said at the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) daily briefing on Wednesday.

He added that despite the increase, the cases tend to be contained and situations where workers are intentionally going to work while ill have been rare.

Ahmed, who has the authority to order businesses to shut down, said he would take such action if necessary.

72 new cases

The health unit reported 72 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, and overall 486 cases are active.

Twenty-nine per cent of the active cases involve COVID-19 variants of concern, which are more contagious.

Vaccine discussions

As of Wednesday's health unit update,140,510 vaccine doses have been administered locally, and 127,056 people have received at least one dose.

While local health officials have previously said that despite the expansion of vaccine eligibility to more and more groups of people, the region hasn't seen a boost to its vaccine allotment.

But on Wednesday, Ahmed said Windsor-Essex will be seeing an increase in the supply of vaccine.

"Some of these conversations and discussions are ongoing. We don't have a set number or allocation formula or anything like that at this time that would help us to say with certainty how much of those additional vaccines we will get," he said.

He said, however, that the region has a capacity to vaccinate significantly more people per day than are currently receiving their shot.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 14,965 COVID-19 cases recorded in Windsor-Essex and 411 deaths.

Of the new cases announced Wednesday, 29 are close contacts of previously confirmed cases, five were community acquired, three are outbreak related and the remainder are under investigation.

There is one outbreak at a school, St. John Vianney Catholic School in Windsor.

There are also six outbreaks at workplaces:

  • Two in Leamington's agriculture sector.

  • Three in Windsor's health care & social assistance sector.

  • One in Windsor's manufacturing sector.

COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent, Sarnia-Lambton

Lambton Public Health reported 17 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. Overall, there are 84 active cases and three outbreaks.

In Chatham-Kent, no new cases were announced. There are 36 active cases overall, and three ongoing outbreaks.