Windsor-Essex sees COVID-19 case rate improve but not enough for orange: WECHU

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WECHU CEO Theresa Marentette appears in a file photo. The health unit reported 29 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday. (Sanjay Maru/CBC - image credit)
WECHU CEO Theresa Marentette appears in a file photo. The health unit reported 29 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday. (Sanjay Maru/CBC - image credit)

The COVID-19 case rate has fallen in the last week for Windsor-Essex, but not enough to meet the criteria for loosened restrictions, according to the public health unit.

Ramsey D'Souza, manager of the epidemiology team with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU), presented a weekly epidemiological report on Friday morning.

For the seven-day period that ended on Thursday, the local case rate per 100,000 people was 46.5, he said.

While the number is an improvement from last week's rate of 54.8, it remains far above the case rate of 25 to 39.9 that is part of the criteria for a switch from the red zone to orange.

The region saw the percentage of people who tested positive for the virus rise slightly, to 2.7 per cent, though the reproduction value — or number of people infected by each person with the virus — fell from the previous week.

"We see some numbers in the red, some numbers in the orange category," D'Souza said

The province controls where regions stand in its colour-coded restrictions framework, typically making announcements on Friday afternoons.

Theresa Marentette, CEO and chief nursing officer of WECHU, said she hasn't had conversations with provincial officials about the region's status this week, and her educated guess is that Windsor-Essex will be staying put in the red zone.

Registration system temporarily closing

The health unit's registration system for 80-plus residents seeking vaccination appointments is shutting down Saturday afternoon, though Marentette said anyone who pre-registered will be contacted with their appointment, and the health unit expects to complete vaccinations next week.

The phone number for vaccine appointments will still be available while the online system is down.

The health unit is moving to a new system but officials are still working on whether the region will be switching to the provincial portal, which is opening to residents 75 and up next week, or pursuing a different option.

WECHU plans to start booking appointments for 75 to 80 year olds next week, Marentette said.

The health unit reported 29 new cases of the virus on Friday, and 279 cases are active overall.

Of these cases, six cases are close contacts of confirmed cases, three are related to outbreaks, two were community acquired, and 18 are under investigation.

There were no new COVID-19 deaths announced Friday, and overall 401 residents of Windsor-Essex have died from the illness. That's about three per cent of all people who tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

Twenty-one people are in hospital, including four in ICU.

There are currently 11 active outbreaks spread across sectors.

Four community settings are in outbreak:

  • The Salvation Army.

  • The Downtown Mission.

  • Victoria Manor.

  • South West Detention Centre.

Five workplaces are in outbreak:

  • One in Essex's manufacturing sector.

  • One in Tecumseh's manufacturing sector.

  • One in Windsor's public administration sector.

  • One in Windsor's retail sector.

  • One in Windsor's repair and maintenance sector.

Two outbreaks are active at long-term care and retirement facilities:

  • Riverside Place in Windsor, with one staff case.

  • Leamington Mennonite Home, with one staff case.

COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent, Sarnia-Lambton

Sarnia-Lambton saw an increase of 35 new cases on Friday. There are now more than 200 active in the region.

In Chatham-Kent, there were 21 new cases. The active case count stands at 91.