Windsor

Rise of COVID-19 cases in Windsor-Essex no surprise after reopening, says hospital chief of staff

Windsor Regional Hospital's chief of staff says the rise in community spread of COVID-19 was not a surprise after the region entered Stage 2 of reopening, and would be surprised to see the area enter Stage 3 this week. 

Dr. Wassim Saad said uptick due to relaxed safety measures, COVID-19 fatigue

Dr. Wassim Saad is chief of staff at Windsor Regional Hospital. He says it's not "unexpected" the region is seeing an uptick of COVID-19 cases. (Amy Dodge/CBC)

Windsor Regional Hospital's chief of staff says the rise in community spread of COVID-19 was not a surprise after the region entered Stage 2 of reopening, and would be surprised to see the area enter Stage 3 this week. 

Dr. Wassim Saad said the spread of the virus isn't under control in the agricultural sector, and that the rise in cases due to community spread is because of more people gathering together. 

"We knew that once we went to Stage 2 that we were going to see more cases and it just naturally comes with any infectious disease and with the pandemic," he said.

"I think we did a great job of flattening the curve, but when you start to open up the economy again and people start to move around and congregate you're going to have more cases. So this is not completely unexpected."

Saad said he is worried about people becoming too relaxed with safety guidelines after the region entered Stage 2. 

"That's why we're seeing a lot of gatherings — downtown, in private, barbecues, family functions — that have more people than should attend. And those precautions of physically distancing and wearing a mask even in those settings is not being observed," he said. 

This "blip" in new cases is hopefully just that, said Saad. But if it is not, there could be implications. 

"If we don't see that and we're starting to see the curve sort of inflect upwards and see more and more cases then I think we're going to be in a situation where we're not going to be able to open up again and in fact maybe roll back some of those measures that were put in place like we're seeing in other areas of the world that open up a bit too fast and now we're seeing a resurgence of the virus," said Saad. 

Saad also says COVID-19 fatigue is a factor when it comes to peoples' safety. 

"You can be vigilant and strict with all your PPE guidelines and requirements as long as you possibly can. But at some point, you feel tired and you're fatigued and you want to relax some of those measures," he said. 

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported 41 new COVID-19 cases on Monday. The weekend also saw high numbers of the disease, and on Friday medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed reported that Windsor-Essex had the highest rate of COVID-19 in Ontario.

Right now at the Met Campus of Windsor Regional Hospital, Saad said three or four people are in the ICU with COVID-19. Two others are hospitalized there with the virus. One person is in hospital at the Ouellette Campus.

Windsor Regional Hospital cleared to open second testing centre

A second COVID-19 assessment centre is opening to test people for the virus at Windsor Regional Hospital's Met campus — but not until late August. 

The hospital says Ontario Health approved the second site to meet testing demands coming this Fall. 

According to a press release, the hospital saw a record 452 individuals seeking a test on July 20, and nearly 20,000 people have visited the hospital for a test since opening in March. 

The Ouelette campus testing site is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends.

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