3 more people have died from COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex, 125 in hospital
14 patients in intensive care locally
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting Thursday three more people have died due to COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex.
The health unit provides very few details around deaths in the community — such as vaccination status or underlying health issues — due to privacy concerns. The health unit did say:
- One man was in his 70s from the community.
- One woman was in her 80s from the community.
- One man was in his 90s from the community.
Deaths of people that occur "in the community," is a classification used by WECHU to signal that these individuals were not members of long-term care or retirement homes.
So far, 524 local residents have died due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
The health unit is also reporting there are 125 people in local hospitals, including 14 people in intensive care.
The health unit recorded 324 new cases for Windsor-Essex Thursday, 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.
For the last month, acting medical officer of health for the region Dr. Shanker Nesathurai has said that local public health is relying on the province to develop new metrics or measurements on how to track COVID-19.
"I think that we're in a very challenging situation now because we don't have a clear metric of the burden of disease," Nesathurai said during a media briefing Thursday.
CEO Nicole Dupuis said that WECHU's website will look different next week, as officials decide what measurements they can use to engage the public on how the virus is tracking locally.
"As we've noted with the change in testing, information we have has changed. We are working on a dashboard of indicators and we plan to have that up and running next week and our local data page will change next week," said Dupuis.
The health unit is considering information like hospitalizations and wastewater testing as being primary indicators for the spread of the coronavirus.
An epidemiology summary is also usually provided to the media and publicly on the health unit's website, but since local data is changing, no summary was provided Thursday.
Outbreaks in the community are continuing to surge, as of Thursday.
According to WECHU, Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare is in an outbreak in two units. But in a media release issued Wednesday, the hospital said four units are currently under an outbreak.
As of Thursday, the hospital said 18 patients and 18 staff have tested positive in those units.
Meanwhile at Windsor Regional Hospital, seven units are under an outbreak.
Due to the growing spread, Windsor Regional Hospital is asking anyone recently discharged from the facility to monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms.
There are 15 workplaces and 34 community settings under an outbreak, meaning two or more people have tested positive for COVID-19 in enough time to indicate they may have spread it in the setting.
There are now 23 retirement or long-term care homes under outbreak, however that's down from 26 on Wednesday.
Ford expected to announce eased restrictions
Ontario Premier Doug Ford is scheduled to make an announcement Thursday morning on his government's plan to begin lifting COVID-19 public health measures in the province.
The changes will include that restaurants and gyms can reopen at 50 per cent capacity on Jan. 31, government sources told Radio-Canada. Requirements for masking and COVID-19 vaccine passports will be in place, one source said.
Currently, food and drink establishments in Ontario are only allowed to offer takeout, drive-thru and delivery services. No indoor service is allowed.
COVID-19 in Sarnia-Lambton, Chatham-Kent
Lambton Public Health reported no new deaths in the region Thursday.
On Wednesday, Chatham-Kent Public Health reported another two people have died, raising the total to 38.
Nineteen people were in hospital with COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent as of Wednesday.