95 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex Thursday

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex has nearly doubled in a week's time.

WECHU says 14 people are in intensive care locally

File photo of ambulances parked outside the Windsor Regional Hospital - Ouellette Campus. The local health unit reported Thursday, there are 95 people hospitalized locally with COVID-19. (Mike Evans/CBC)

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex has nearly doubled in a week's time. 

Last Thursday, there were 49 people hospitalized locally with COVID-19. Today, there are 95 people in hospital, according to the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU). That includes 14 patients in intensive care locally. 

"In my experience as a hospital doctor, 95 people is a significant burden on a hospital," said acting medical officer of health, Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, during a media briefing Thursday. 

"If that number was zero, there would be 95 beds available to people who have scheduled care or other services or care they might need."

The top doctor for the region said the increase of hospitalizations locally are an "unrecognized burden of COVID-19" on the community, adding that it is also an indicator of how the virus is spreading here. 

A spokesperson for Windsor Regional Hospital said Thursday that the hospital has not had to transfer any COVID-19 patients elsewhere for care, and has accepted patients from elsewhere in this region. 

Another positive sign for the hospital is that the rate of workers cleared to return to work following COVID-19 isolations is starting to outpace how many workers need to stay home. 

As of Thursday, 382 staff members were home in isolation of the 4,800 hospital employees. Of those off of work, 213 have tested positive for COVID-19, while the others are close contacts of positive cases. 

Another 151 staff have returned to work recovered from COVID-19.

Meanwhile at Erie Shores HealthCare in Leamington, the hospital is at 138 per cent capacity.

A spokesperson for the hospital said they have not transferred any COVID-19 patients elsewhere, mainly due to the capacity issues at surrounding hospitals. 

Hospitals across Ontario have had to scale back their procedures due to the strain of the Omicron variant. 

The health unit recorded 409 new cases of COVID-19 for Windsor-Essex, but due to the lack of available testing and provincial changes to case and contact management, this number continues to be lower than is accurate.

WECHU officials say they are looking for new provincial guidance to change what metrics they use to track the "burden of disease" in the community, as case counts will continue to become less accurate. 

The health unit also reported COVID-19 outbreaks in 29 community settings and eight workplaces. 

There are now 23 long-term care or retirement homes under an outbreak locally, up from 22 on Wednesday. 

Windsor Regional Hospital is currently experiencing outbreaks at four separate units, and Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare is also seeing outbreaks at two units. 

COVID-19 in Sarnia-Lambton, Chatham-Kent

Lambton Public Health reported Thursday two more people have did in the region due to COVID-19, bringing the death toll to 93 people.

Chatham-Kent officials have closed municipal offices in Ridgetown, Tilbury and Dresden for five days effective immediately, due to staffing levels and COVID-19 protocols. 

A spokesperson for the municipality said while the Dresden municipal office is closed, the Service Ontario office there is still open.

There are three municipal offices open — in Chatham, Wallaceburg and Blenheim.

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