CBC Windsor July 31 COVID-19 update: 21 new cases, majority due to community spread

Here's what you need to know about COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex on Friday, July 31.

Windsor Regional Hospital chief of staff concerned over amount of patients hospitalized with disease

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported 21 new COVID-19 cases for our region Friday. 

Eleven of the new cases are due to community spread, seven are in the farming industry, and three are under investigation. 

The health unit reported that a Windsor restaurant employee was working at Chuck's Roadhouse Bar & Grill at 6675 Tecumseh Rd. E while infectious with COVID-19.

The employee worked on July 24 and 25, and more information is coming later today, say officials. The health unit will also be visiting the restaurant today to ensure safety measures are in place. 

Medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed said the employee was using PPE and physical distancing measures were maintained, meaning exposure to the public remains at a "low risk." However, the health unit says they will be contacting people who attended the business on those days to follow up with them. 

The health unit has conducted 3,810 inspections this month alone in relation to patio and mask regulations, but no fines have been issued. 

Municipal breakdown of COVID-19 cases

Windsor-Essex continues to have the highest rate of COVID-19, Ahmed reported during his epidemiological summary on Friday. 

The health unit also released a map of the geographical distribution of COVID-19 cases in Windsor-Essex. 

Members of the public have been demanding the information, however Ahmed says it only shows where people are living which is not an indiction of where they might have contracted the virus or which is the "safest" neighbourhood. 

This map shows the geographical distribution of COVID-19 cases, but only shows where those individuals who tested positive for the disease live and not where they contracted the virus. Grey areas indicate there are no cases. (Windsor-Essex County Health Unit)
Medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed, cautioned that the maps showing where people who had tested positive for COVID-19 liver is not an indication of which neighbourhoods are safest. (Windsor-Essex County Health Unit)

In the last week, the majority of new cases of the disease have come from the Leamington and Kingsville areas.

Men in their 20s continue to be most at risk for contracting the virus, and over the last two weeks, this demographic has seen the highest rate of new cases. 

But community spread is on the rise, said Ahmed, and the bulk of new outbreaks are not coming from farms in Essex County. 

The curve for Windsor-Essex is now showing that community spread is rising. 

The curve now shows a rise in community cases of COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex. (Windsor-Essex County Health Unit)

On Thursday, the health unit reported 10 new cases of COVID-19 —the lowest daily count of new cases since July 12. However two people have died this week after testing positive for the disease, while daily counts of new cases continue to be higher than what the region has seen during the onset of the pandemic. 

Hospital at capacity, officials considering overflow options 

Windsor Regional Hospital is currently at capacity and they're seeing more patients suspected to have COVID-19.

Hospital chief of staff Dr. Wassim Saad said officials are considering reopening the field hospital at St. Clair College's Sportsplex because the curve is not flattening in Windsor-Essex. 

"Unfortunately it's not coming down, and that's a problem," said Saad. "If there is a silver lining here, our ICU is not at capacity — not that we want it to be at capacity. The overall hospital is at or above capacity not just because of COVID-19 patients but also general medical patient."

Saad said as the hospital returned to performing elective surgeries and treating heart and stroke patients who have delayed their treatments due to the pandemic, hospital beds have filled up. 

The surge of new COVID-19 cases seen regionally is concerning to Saad, who hopes the hospital can continue to offer elective surgeries and treat those patients. 

"I don't think we need to roll back anything now but if we don't get control of this and numbers continue to rise that may become a possibility."

As of Thursday, the hospital had 63 in-patients with suspected COVID-19 cases, and nine with confirmed cases. 

Saad said there has also been a shift in the demographics of those who are on ventilators due to the disease. He said they are younger than at the start of the pandemic, with some patients in their 30s. 

WATCH | The health unit's COVID-19 update for July 31:

Windsor-Essex outbreaks  

There are currently 12 workplaces under a COVID-19 outbreak, which means two or more employees have tested positive for the disease.

That includes one construction company in Leamington, one manufacturing workplace in Tecumseh, two workplaces in Kingsville, one in Leamington and two in Windsor.

There are also five outbreaks in the agricultural sector in Leamington and Kingsville. So far, there have been 1,096 total cases of the virus detected among workers in the agri-farm sector. 

Three long-term care facilities and retirement homes are also experiencing outbreaks in the region.

Chartwell in Leamington has two staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19. The Village of Aspen Lake in Windsor and Kingsville's Augustine Villas also have two staff members each who tested positive. 

COVID-19 in Sarnia-Lambton

Lambton Public Health reported three new cases of COVID-19 in the region. There have been 302 total cases and overall, there have been 25 deaths. 

Another 265 people have recovered.

COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent

Chatham-Kent's health unit is reporting two new cases of COVID-19. The area has had 243 total cases.

Four people are in hospital and 51 others are self-isolating with the disease. 

In Chatham-Kent, one person has died due to COVID-19 and 187 people have recovered. 

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.