Contact tracers 'worked off their feet' as Chatham-Kent becomes COVID-19 hotspot

Chatham-Kent has become one of Ontario's COVID-19 hotspots in the fourth wave of the pandemic.

Dr. David Colby says spread is being fuelled by more contagious delta variant

Dr. David Colby is the medical officer of health for Chatham-Kent. (CK Public Health/YouTube)

Chatham-Kent has become one of Ontario's COVID-19 hotspots in the fourth wave of the pandemic.

There are 116 active cases in the municipality as of Tuesday, along with two outbreaks and 16 people in hospital.

Dr. David Colby, medical officer of health, said the uptick is being fuelled by the delta variant, which is highly contagious.

"Our contact tracers are worked off their feet dealing with this," he said on CBC Radio's Windsor Morning on Wednesday.

Most of the cases are being linked back to direct contacts of confirmed cases as opposed to community spread, he said.

According to the latest provincial epidemiological report, the COVID-19 case rate is for Chatham-Kent for the period between Sept. 4 and 10 is 102.2 per 100,000 people. In Windsor-Essex, where case counts are high but appear to be stabilizing or decreasing, the rate is 103.3.

Windsor has the highest case rate in the province, and Chatham-Kent is at number two. None of the other health units are seeing COVID-19 rates in the same ballpark — Hamilton has the third-highest rate at 57.1.

At the same time, both Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent have vaccination rates lower than the province as a whole.

Colby said that there has been some increase in uptake — particularly for first doses — since the announcement of the provincial vaccination certificate program, but the the percentage of the population 12 and up who have gotten at least one dose stands at 80 per cent.

Across the province, the figure is 84 per cent.

"I'd like to see that number higher," Colby said, adding that the target is a 90 per cent vaccination rate.

With files from Windsor Morning

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