Windsor-Essex allowing people vaccinated up to May 9 to book 2nd dose Saturday

Tens of thousands of Windsor-Essex residents will soon become eligible to book their final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Region saw increase of 4 COVID-19 cases on Friday

The targeted vaccine clinic at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ont., on March 3. Tens of thousands of Windsor-Essex residents will soon become eligible to book their final dose against COVID-19. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

Tens of thousands of Windsor-Essex residents will soon become eligible to book their final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Residents who got their first shot of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNtech or Moderna) up to and including May 9 will be eligible to book an appointment vaccine as of 8 a.m. Saturday, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) in southwestern Ontario announced Friday.

Those who received the Oxford-AstraZenca vaccine for their first dose and would like a different brand to complete their vaccination are eligible if eight weeks has passed since the first shot.

The health unit is urging patience given the large volume of people who will become eligible on the same day. Medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed said to book online rather than by phone if you have computer access.

"Don't freak out, even if you can't book the appointment right away. There will be plenty of vaccines, there will be plenty opportunity," he said at the health unit's briefing on Friday.

Previously, only those 70 and up and anyone vaccinated as of April 18 — or April 23 for the AstraZeneca vaccine — were eligible. Between April 19 and May 9, first doses were provided to nearly 56,000 people, the health unit's statistics show.

WECHU is offering second-dose appointments ahead of the provincial schedule. Within regions that use Ontario's booking system, those vaccinated on or before May 9 will be eligible as of Monday.

WECHU reported four new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, with the region's active case count lowering to 56. Seven people are being treated for COVID-19 in local hospitals.

Ahmed and health unit CEO Theresa Marentette praised the efforts of the community in keeping case counts down.

"I can't say enough about our community ... how we handled the third wave. I think this has been amazing," he said, adding he wants people to continue taking public health precautions.

Windsor-Essex wasn't nearly as hard hit in the third wave of the pandemic as other parts of Ontario, but the latest data show case counts and other pandemic-related indicators are declining sharply from previous levels this spring.

Pandemic indicators falling

In his weekly epidemiological summary, Ahmed said the seven-day case rate up to Thursday has fallen to 13.2 per 100,000 people — that's less than half of what was seen two weeks ago.

At the same time, the vaccination rate is climbing. Ahmed said the number of shots going into arms each day has reached 7,000, though the seven-day average is around 5,400.

So far, 73.1 per cent of adults in the region have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 29.2 per cent are fully vaccinated.

Jail outbreak cleared

An outbreak that has been active at the Southwest Detention Centre since April 23 has been cleared, and three remaining outbreaks are ongoing.

There are two outbreaks at workplaces: 

  • In Windsor's health-care and social assistance sector. 
  • At one manufacturing workplace in Tecumseh. 

One community outbreak is ongoing: 

  • Casa de Dios y Puerta del Cielo church in Windsor. 

COVID-19 in Sarnia-Lambton, Chatham-Kent

Chatham-Kent Public Health reported one new COVID-19 case on Friday, with six cases still active overall. 

A single case was diagnosed in Sarnia-Lambton. Twenty-three cases are currently active, along with one outbreak.

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