2nd doses of Moderna vaccine headed to Windsor-Essex LTC homes as province changes Pfizer plan

The COVID-19 vaccination rollout is continuing in Windsor-Essex this week, with residents at some long-term care homes set to receive their second dose of the vaccine.

Health unit reports 68 new cases, 1 new death on Monday

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported 60 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

Residents in Windsor-Essex long-term care homes will receive their second doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine this week, while shortages of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine due to supply issues mean a major change to the province's overall plan for vaccine rollout

Theresa Marentette, CEO and chief nursing officer of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, said the unit will be starting the next wave of vaccinations on Thursday using its existing supply of the Moderna vaccine. It expects another shipment to arrive the week of Feb. 1. 

The vaccine is one of two approved for use in Canada. Both require a second dose in order to be effective against the virus that causes COVID-19.

Shipments of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine are seeing significant delays, prompting Windsor Regional Hospital (WRH) to stop administering first shots and delay second doses. 

In a news release Monday, the hospital said it is forced to delay second doses by 42 days rather than the 28 day window that was initially recommended. But according to Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization, the increase is expected to provide "similarly high protection" as seen with the 28 day period. 

By Monday, WRH said it will have vaccinated about 7,091 people with first doses, 2,154 of them with second doses. At this time, the hospital said it is about 10 per cent shy of vaccinating some individuals listed under the province's phase 1 priority grouping, including long-term care and retirement home staff, congregate care staff, essential caregivers, higher risk local Indigenous populations and Windsor-Essex hospital staff. 

This suggests that nearly 5,000 people will have to wait longer than expected to get the second shot. 

These local delays are the result of a cancelled Pfizer-BioNTech shipment that was expected in Canada on Monday and a 50 per cent drop in supply for deliveries in the next four weeks.

Laura Tamblyn Watts is the CEO of CanAge, a national seniors' advocacy organization. She says evidence shows that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine can travel to care homes. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

The provincial COVID-19 vaccine distribution task force announced Monday that due to the Pfizer-BioNTech shortages, vaccinations will be delayed for health-care workers and essential caregivers to focus on other priority groups such as long-term care residents.

But initially the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was not going to care homes as it had to be kept in cold temperatures and did not travel well as a result. 

CBC News reached out to the health unit to ask how the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine would be added to its rollout plan, but it was unavailable to provide further comment. 

"Ontario was very conservative with following the Pfizer recommendations to the letter and keeping the Pfizer vaccine in a minus 70 containment space which made transport to long-term care very difficult," said Laura Tamblyn Watts, CEO of CanAge, a national advocacy group for seniors.

"Since then however, we have seen excellent evidence that it can be transported and that even one dose can be protective, so it seems that the evidence is allowing us to get the first shots into the arms of people sooner and that the Pfizer vaccine can go to long-term care." 

Active cases declining

The health unit reported 68 new cases of the virus on Monday, the fifth time this month that daily case counts have dipped below 100.

The sources of the majority of new infections are under investigation, while three cases are linked to outbreaks, one was community acquired and another is a close contact of a confirmed case.

One additional death was reported, a woman in her 90s who was a resident of a long-term care home. 

There are 107 COVID-19 patients in hospital, with 16 in intensive care. 

The number of active infections has declined by more than 1,100 since last Monday.

Given the lower cases counts, current contact management efforts are going well and staff are reaching people in a timely manner, Marentette said.

"We do have good resources, I feel, to continue to address the new cases that we receive," she said.

"We also know that overall testing is down a little bit in our area as well, so we want to make sure that we are ready for any cases ... that come our way."

Despite the recent decline in cases, there are still 52 outbreaks active in the region, including six between Windsor Regional Hospital and Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare.

Outbreaks remain active at two Assisted Living Southwestern Ontario locations.

Outbreaks are active at 25 workplaces:

  • Seven in Leamington's agricultural sector.
  • Five in Kingsville's agricultural sector.
  • Six in Windsor's health care and social assistance sector.
  • One in Lakeshore's health care and social assistance sector.
  • One in Kingsville's health care and social assistance sector.
  • One in Windsor's manufacturing sector.
  • One in a retail setting in Windsor.
  • One in a retail setting in Essex.
  • One in a retail setting in Lakeshore.
  • One in a transportation and warehousing setting in Windsor.

There are 19 active outbreaks at long-term care and retirement facilities:

  • Heron Terrace in Windsor with one resident case and one staff case.
  • Chartwell Leamington in Leamington with two resident cases and one staff case.
  • Regency Park in Windsor with seven resident cases and seven staff cases.
  • Chartwell Royal Marquis, with one resident case and one staff case.
  • Harrowood Senior Community Living in Harrow, with six resident cases and two staff cases.
  • Devonshire Retirement Residence in Windsor, with 44 resident cases and six staff cases.
  • Chartwell Royal Oak in Kingsville, with two staff cases.
  • Rosewood Erie Glen in Leamington, with 38 resident cases and seven staff cases.
  • Leamington Mennonite Home with seven staff cases. 
  • Augustine Villas in Kingsville, with 64 resident and 18 staff cases. 
  • Sunrise Assisted Living of Windsor, with 15 resident cases and eight staff cases. 
  • Huron Lodge in Windsor, with 47 resident cases and 25 staff cases. 
  • Sun Parlor Home in Leamington with two resident cases and 13 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 57 staff cases.
  • Berkshire Care Centre in Windsor, with 99 resident and 61 staff cases.
  • The Village at St. Clair in Windsor, with 163 resident cases and 136 staff cases.
  • Village of Aspen Lake in Tecumseh, with 64 resident cases and 32 staff cases.

COVID-19 in Sarnia-Lambton and Chatham-Kent

In Lambton County, 11 new cases were reported on Monday. Chatham-Kent, which does not release new data over the weekend, saw an increase of 42 cases.


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