993 new COVID-19 cases reported as of Christmas Eve in Windsor-Essex
Health unit reported no new deaths for the region in southwestern Ontario
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit in southwestern Ontario on Wednesday reported 993 new COVID-19 cases that go back to Dec. 24.
Local public health had suspended daily updates due to the holidays. Here's the newly released breakdown of cases:
- Dec. 24: 162.
- Dec. 25: 122.
- Dec. 26: 107.
- Dec. 27: 262.
- Dec. 28: 153.
- Dec. 29: 187.
Public health reported no new deaths for the region during this period. Currently, there are 1,125 active cases in the community.
Two confirmed cases of the Omicron variant were reported in Windsor-Essex over the past couple weeks. No new cases were reported by WECHU on Wednesday, but officials say there is a lag for positive case results, whether a variant is detected or not.
"I think that the general view is that by the end of the month, Omicron will be the dominating strain," acting medical officer of health Dr. Shanker Nesathurai said in a media briefing Wednesday.
WECHU also reported Wednesday that vaccine rollout has been busy over the holidays with up to 3,000 people getting a jab at the mass vaccination site daily. Booking availability, at WeVax.ca, has also opened for the vaccination sites in Leamington and Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare. Appointments at those locations start Jan. 5.
Two long-term care homes in the region remain under outbreak — Franklin Gardens Long-Term Care Home and Sun Parlor Home for Senior Citizens.
There are outbreaks across nine workplaces and four community settings in the region, however the heath unit provides little data that could identify these places.
Eighteen schools and child-care centres are under an outbreak, meaning a positive case was identified, investigated, and potentially dismissals. Those settings are:
- Leamington District Secondary School.
- Centennial Central Public School.
- East Mersea Public School.
- John Campbell Public School.
- Our Lady of the Annunciation Latchkey Daycare and Learning Centre.
- M S Heatherington Public School.
- Maranatha Christian Academy.
- St. Teresa of Calcutta Catholic School.
- Stella Maris Catholic School.
- E Elem C Ste-Marguerite-D'Youville.
- Gore Hill Public School.
- St. Louis Catholic School.
- D M Eagle Public School.
- George P Vanier Elementary School.
- Olivia DiMaio Early Childhood Centre, Lakeshore.
- Jack Miner Public School.
- Cosmopolitan Kids Inc.
- Kingsville District High School.
COVID-19 tests limited locally, no-visitor policies in hospitals
There's limited availability for a COVID-19 test appointment in Windsor, just days after the holidays.
Windsor Regional Hospital's COVID-19 assessment centre — which is by appointment only — had no or very limited slots for the week, as of Wednesday morning.
The hospital's Paediatric Urgent Medical Assessment youth clinic at the Met campus had some slots available Thursday of this week only, as of Wednesday morning.
A spokesperson for the hospital told CBC News on Tuesday it is difficult to create more appointments, but officials are aware of the demand.
The Medical Laboratories of Windsor, which provides free symptomatic COVID-19 testing by appointment, also had to create more room for appointments on Tuesday due to demand following the holidays.
"One thing to think about is as testing capacity becomes diminished — where we currently are at in the pandemic — case counts are not the best metric to measure burden of disease in the community," Nesathurai said on Wednesday.
Windsor-Essex's top doctor explained that deaths, hospitalizations and intensive care patients with COVID-19 may be a better indicator for how the disease is tracking in the community as case counts become unmanageable to predict.
"We'll wait for provincial guidance on this item but with diminished testing there's limited or no ability to call outbreaks."
This week, Windsor Regional Hospital, Erie Shores HealthCare and Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare have implemented no-visitor policies amid the spike in new cases.
The policy begins Thursday, with some exceptions for dying patients, child birth or minors.
Hospital officials say the decision was made to protect both patients and staff.
COVID-19 in Sarnia-Lambton, Chatham-Kent
Sarnia-Lambton reported 532 active COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday.
Chatham-Kent reported 18 new COVID-19 cases with 287 active cases.