The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) reported 36 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, amid word that the province is set to unveil details of its reopening plan after nearly two months of a stay-at-home order.
Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health for the region, said he was not consulted on that plan, but said the restrictions need to be lifted in a manner that is safe and works for each community.
"I don't know what the final plan would look like, but I would anticipate it has to be gradual, it has to be focused more on lifting the restrictions on less risky activity and going all the way down to the more risky activity for a later part of the restrictions," he said at the health unit's daily briefing on Thursday.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford is expected to make an announcement at 3 p.m., a senior government source told Radio-Canada.
The province has been in a stay-at-home order since April 8 and the premier has previously said it would be in place until June 2.
Astrazeneca 2nd doses could be expedited
Meanwhile, the health unit also expects to have more information to share next week for those who received a dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine at pharmacies, Ahmed said.
The province halted first doses of that vaccine earlier this month over concerns about very rare but potentially fatal blood clots.
While it's possible that people who received that vaccine may be eligible to receive a different product altogether for the second dose, Ahmed said that discussions are occurring with provincial officials about allowing those who need their final dose to get it sooner than the interval known to provide the greatest amount of protection against COVID-19, which is 12 weeks.
"We may offer an expedited second dose for AstraZeneca and we've been in talks in figuring out some of the logistical details of that," he said.
The move would allow vaccines that might otherwise expire to be used.
So far 62.6 per cent of adults, or 213,155 residents, have received at least one dose of a vaccine in Windsor-Essex.
Overall 348 COVID-19 cases are active in the region. To date, 1,500 preliminary or confirmed COVID-19 variants of concern have been identified in the community, 167 of which are active cases.
There are 23 people in hospital, including one person being treated in intensive care.
Of the new cases announced Thursday, 15 were close contacts of previously confirmed cases, 18 were community acquired, one is related to U.S. travel and two are under investigation.
The Southwest Detention Centre remains in outbreak, and eight outbreaks are ongoing at workplaces:
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.
COVID-19 in Sarnia-Lambton, Chatham-Kent
Health officials in Sarnia-Lambton reported three new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, and the active case count stands at 66.
Chatham-Kent Public Health reported one new case of COVID-19, with 36 cases active overall.