Windsor-Essex health unit supports reopening schools
Dr. Wajid Ahmed says case rates among children are on par with the rest of the population
The Windsor-Essex Health unit is supporting the idea of reopening schools ahead of a provincial announcement on when in-classroom learning can resume.
In recent weeks, amid a lockdown and school shutdown, COVID-19 rates among school-aged children have declined, said Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.
Rates of COVID-19 infections are roughly on par with other populations, according to data Ahmed presented on Wednesday.
However, the percentage of tests that come back positive among school-aged children are higher than the current weekly regional average of about 5 per cent.
Depending on the age group, 10 to 15 per cent of school-aged children who are tested for COVID-19 get a positive result, according to the most recent health unit data.
Ahmed said the rate of testing is going down, and most of the tests are happening only if there's a confirmed exposure or they are symptomatic.
"That's why the likelihood of them coming back positive continues ... to remain high," he said.
The risk of COVID-19 cannot be fully eliminated, Ahmed said, but public health measures do work when they are followed.
Families should assess their own risk before switching from online to in-person learning, he said.
Ontario's education Minister Stephen Lecce is expected to make an announcement on school reopenings on Wednesday.
Ahmed issued an order to cancel in-person learning at Windsor-Essex schools a week before the holiday break. The province later followed suit with its own shutdown, though schools in 19 of the province's 34 public health regions have since reopened.
Ahmed said if the province doesn't announce the reopening of schools Wednesday, he doesn't have the authority to override their order.
Active case count below 500
There are currently 452 active cases of COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex.
On Wednesday, the health unit announced 39 people have been newly diagnosed with COVID-19. Eleven are close contacts of confirmed cases, 10 cases are related to outbreaks, and another three were community acquired. The remaining 15 are under investigation.
Six deaths were announced, one of whom was a retirement home resident.
Throughout the region, there are 68 people in hospital with COVID-19, with nine in ICU
There are 39 outbreaks active in the region, including six between Windsor Regional Hospital and Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare.
Outbreaks are active at 16 workplaces:
- Four in Leamington's agricultural sector.
- Five in Kingsville's agricultural sector.
- One in Leamington's food and beverage sector.
- One in Windsor's health care and social assistance sector.
- One in Tecumseh's health care and social assistance sector.
- Three in Windsor's manufacturing sector.
- One in a public administration setting in Windsor
There are 17 active outbreaks at long-term care and retirement facilities:
- Franklin Gardens in Leamington with 24 resident cases and six staff cases.
- Heron Terrace in Windsor with two resident cases and two staff case.
- Chartwell Leamington with two resident cases and two staff case.
- Regency Park in Windsor with 22 resident cases and 14 staff cases.
- Chartwell Royal Marquis in Windsor with four resident cases and one staff case.
- Devonshire Retirement Residence in Windsor, with 48 resident cases and eight staff cases.
- Rosewood Erie Glen in Leamington, with 42 resident cases and nine staff cases.
- Augustine Villas in Kingsville, with 66 resident and 20 staff cases.
- Sunrise Assisted Living of Windsor, with 15 resident cases and nine staff cases.
- Huron Lodge in Windsor, with 48 resident cases and 26 staff cases.
- Sun Parlor Home in Leamington with two resident cases and 14 staff cases.
- Banwell Gardens Care Centre in Windsor, with 115 resident cases and 64 staff cases.
- The Shoreview at Riverside in Windsor, with 30 resident cases and 16 staff cases.
- Extendicare Tecumseh, with 90 resident cases and 62 staff cases.
- Berkshire Care Centre in Windsor, with 99 resident and 62 staff cases.
- The Village at St. Clair in Windsor, with 173 resident cases and 142 staff cases.
- Village of Aspen Lake in Tecumseh, with 65 resident cases and 33 staff cases.
COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent, Sarnia-Lambton
Sarnia-Lambton announced three new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, for a total of 1,848 since the pandemic began.
Chatham-Kent Public Health has seen 1,237, 12 of which were reported on Wednesday.
There are 61 active cases in Lambton County and 127 in Chatham-Kent.