Windsor

WECHU considering allowing spouses 80 and older to be vaccinated at the same time

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit says it's working on a plan to allow seniors who have been selected to receive their COVID-19 vaccines to bring along their spouse to get their shots as well if they are eligible.

15 cohorts dismissed due to COVID-19 cases in schools

The targeted vaccine clinic at the WFCU Centre is shown during a tour on March 3, 2021. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit says it's considering allowing seniors who are receiving their COVID-19 vaccines to bring along their spouse to get their shot as well if they are eligible.

Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health for the region, said the health unit has heard from community members about the idea and has discussed it with staff.

"If possible we would like to do that, but at this time I cannot commit to when we will start but we are hoping that we can get to that point as logistically, ethically and operationally possible," he said.

Only those who are 80 and older are eligible to receive the vaccine at the new targeted clinic that opened up on Monday.

Vaccine appointments are being assigned randomly rather than first-come first-serve, meaning that households would have to take separate trips to the vaccination site at the WFCU Centre for each appointment.

So far, 12,676 people who are eligible have registered with the health unit to receive an appointment, though the number could drop once duplicate entries are removed, said Theresa Marentette, CEO and chief nursing officer for WECHU.

Overall, nearly 11,600 residents have received both required doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization said Wednesday that the maximum interval between the first and second doses of all three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use should increase to four months in order to boost the number of Canadians being vaccinated.

For the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, for example, that means going from a three-week interval to a full four months.

The recommendation, if followed in Ontario, would open up more opportunities for people to receive the vaccine, said Ahmed.

"When more and more people are protected, the likelihood of transmission continues to go down significantly," he said.

Ahmed said that initial research is showing that a single vaccine dose provides "a good level" of protection from COVID-19, up to 80 or 90 per cent. 

19 new cases, one death

The health unit announced 19 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, as well as one additional death associated with the virus. In total, 389 people have died from COVID-19 in Windsor and Essex County.

Of the new cases, two are related to outbreaks, five are close contacts of confirmed cases, two were community acquired and 10 are under investigation.

There are 44 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the region, nine of whom are in ICU.

15 cohorts dismissed from schools

The health unit also provided an update on COVID-19 cases in schools.

There are a total of 15 cohorts dismissed across 10 schools due to COVID-19 cases, Marentette said. About 314 students have been dismissed.

There are also four daycare cohorts that have been dismissed.

A new COVID-19 outbreak was declared at École Élémentaire Catholique Monseigneur-Jean-Noël on Wednesday.

Eleven other settings are currently in outbreak across the region.

There are two outbreaks at Windsor Regional Hospital and two at shelters serving the homeless population, the Downtown Mission and the Salvation Army.

Outbreaks are active at six workplaces: 

  • One in Leamington's agricultural sector
  • One in Kingsville's construction sector
  • Two in Windsor's health-care and social assistance sector,
  • One in Windsor's repair and maintenance sector
  • One in Windsor's manufacturing sector.

There is one outbreak at a seniors' home. The outbreak at Dolce Vita retirement home was declared Wednesday. Three residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

COVID-19 in Sarnia-Lambton, Chatham-Kent

There were 47 new COVID-19 cases announced in Sarnia-Lambton on Thursday. There are now 106 active cases.

There are two new cases in Chatham-Kent and overall, there are a dozen known cases active in the municipality.

With files from Peter Zimonjic

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