Windsor-Essex surpasses 10,000 COVID-19 cases
Region reporting a record 288 new cases of the virus
Windsor-Essex health officials are reporting 288 new cases of COVID-19, a record increase that has brought the region's overall case total past 10,000.
Just over 2,800 of those cases remain active, according to the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.
There were 11 deaths reported by the health unit on Wednesday, nine of which took place in long-term care.
On Tuesday, the provincial government reinstated a provincial emergency and announced that schools in COVID-19 hotspots including Windsor won't reopen until at least Feb. 10.
The province also announced a stay-at-home order and reduced hours for some businesses.
Tap on the player below to hear how people in Windsor feel about going into another strict lockdown:
Ahmed said he needs to see the details in the plan in order to weigh in on whether it reflects the concerns raised by public health and the epidemiological data.
"I would wait for the actual legislation before jumping into conclusions at this time but it is important that we get the basic message … stay home, stay safe."
Why is Windsor-Essex so hard hit?
Health promotion specialist Ayah Karra-Aly says there's a number of factors at play, but compliance plays a huge part.
The cases we're seeing, Karra-Aly said, are the result of holiday gatherings and the fact that before Windsor-Essex went into lockdown, people were given two days notice to go out and do all their Christmas shopping.
"It's hard ... because not everyone understands the severity of the virus and they think that if they're young, they have nothing to lose, for example, if they get the virus then that's fine, 'I'm not hurting anybody,' but you are without knowing it," she said.
She added that Windsor being a border city likely also contributes to the spread, with essential workers possibly bringing the disease across the border.
As for what's to come, Karra-Aly said cases and hospitalizations will likely continue to surge until the vaccine rollout picks up.
During his daily COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday, Ahmed shed light on the details of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
Phase one of the vaccinations, targetting priority populations, are taking place now. Mass vaccinations are expected to begin in March and April and more groups will be able to get the vaccine. By the final phase, starting in September, everyone who wants the vaccine can get it.
"We have a huge task between now and up until August to make sure that we are vaccinating the majority of the people in Windsor-Essex," he said.
During the peak, which could happen between April and June, he estimated 4,000 to 8,000 people per day will be vaccinated by the health unit.
In addition to the provincial guidelines, a prioritization committee has been struck locally to ensure the rollout is ethical and consistent, given the complexity of the matter, Ahmed said.
"We want to make sure that the vaccine is going to the right people at the right time," he said.
45 outbreaks across the region
Windsor-Essex is among the areas hardest hit by the virus in Ontario.
Cases have been surging dramatically since the second wave of the virus arrived in the fall — more than 6,000 new cases have been identified since mid-October.
Since the pandemic began, there have been 10,278 COVID-19 cases recorded in Windsor-Essex and 237 deaths.
Of the 288 cases announced Wednesday, 19 are outbreak-related, 20 are close contacts of confirmed cases, five are community acquired and 244 are still being investigated. There are 99 people currently in hospital.
There are 45 outbreaks active across the region.
Two community settings — both Assisted Living Southwestern Ontario locations — are also in active outbreak.
Two outbreaks are active at Windsor Regional Hospital's Ouellette campus.
A new school outbreak was declared at Queen Victoria Public School, despite the fact that all schools have been closed since prior to the holiday break. Ahmed said the declaration is not a reflection of ongoing risk but the lag in identifying infections as well as the onset of new ones.
Outbreaks are active at 19 workplaces:
- Four in Leamington's agriculture sector.
- Four in Kingsville's agriculture sector.
- Three in Windsor's health care and social assistance sector.
- One in Leamington's health care and social assistance sector.
- One in Lakeshore's health care and social assistance sector.
- One in Windsor's food and beverage service sector.
- One in a personal service setting in LaSalle.
- Three in public administration settings in Windsor.
- One in a retail setting in Essex.
There are 21 active outbreaks at long-term care and retirement facilities:
- Richmond Terrace in Amherstburg with two staff cases
- Chartwell Royal Marquis, with one resident case and one staff case
- Harrow Woods Retirement Home, with five resident cases and one staff case
- Seasons Retirement Home in Amherstburg, with two staff cases
- Devonshire Retirement Residence in Windsor, with nine resident cases and two staff cases
- Iler Lodge in Essex, with two staff cases
- Chartwell Royal Oak in Kingsville, with two staff cases.
- Rosewood Erie Glen in Leamington, with 15 resident cases and three staff cases
- Chateau Park in Windsor with four staff cases.
- Leamington Mennonite Home in Leamington, with six staff cases.
- Brouillette Manor in Tecumseh, with three staff cases.
- Augustine Villas in Kingsville, with 34 resident and four staff cases.
- Sunrise Assisted Living of Windsor, with eight resident cases and eight staff cases.
- Huron Lodge in Windsor, with 44 resident cases and 23 staff cases.
- Sun Parlor Home in Leamington, with seven staff cases.
- Banwell Gardens Care Centre in Windsor, with 106 resident cases and 42 staff cases.
- The Shoreview at Riverside in Windsor, with 24 resident cases and nine staff cases.
- Extendicare Tecumseh, with 80 resident cases and 51 staff cases.
- Berkshire Care Centre in Windsor, with 93 resident and 58 staff cases.
- The Village at St. Clair in Windsor, with 149 resident cases and 109 staff cases.
- Country Village in Woodslee, with three resident and three staff cases.
- Village of Aspen Lake in Tecumseh, with 50 resident cases and 21 staff cases.