Medical officer of health 'cautiously optimistic' as Windsor-Essex COVID-19 rates still high

Windsor-Essex has seen some flattening of the curve, but remains a hot spot for COVID-19 spread, according to data presented by public health officials on Thursday.

Southwestern Ontario health unit reports 31 cases, 1 additional death

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit in southwestern Ontario reported 31 cases and one additional COVID-19 death on Thursday. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

Windsor-Essex has seen some flattening of the curve, but remains a hot spot for COVID-19 spread, according to data released by public health officials Thursday.

The region has the third highest case rate in Ontario and the second highest percentage of COVID-19 tests coming back positive at four per cent, said Ramsey D'Souza, manager of epidemiology with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit. 

"Even though rates are decreasing across the province, our rates continue to be high," he told reporters during a virtual briefing. "We are seeing a stable number of cases in our school-aged children as well, which is reflected in the number of outbreaks we see and also in the number of dismissals that we have as well."

The seven-day case rate has declined slightly from the previous week. It stands at 47.2 cases per 100,000 compared; it was 53.2 the previous week.

Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, acting medical officer of health, said he was "cautiously optimistic," but noted how young people are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 in the region, with about 250 school cohorts dismissed this year.

In the last two weeks, 35 per cent of those who tested positive were children and youth under 19.

In other news, the health unit said there are 33 new cases of COVID-19 and one more person — a man in his 70s — has died after contracting COVID-19.

 In total, 261 cases were active Thursday and nine people with COVID-19 were in hospital.

There were 24 ongoing outbreaks in Windsor-Essex, including 16 in workplaces:

  • Eight in the agricultural sector.
  • One in the food and beverage sector.
  • Four in the health care and social assistance sector.
  • Two in the manufacturing sector.
  • One in a public administration setting.

There are six school outbreaks, three of which were declared on Thursday.

  • St. Anne French Immersion Catholic School.
  • Northwood Public School.
  • Marlborough Public School.
  • École élémentaire Louise-Charron.
  • École élémentaire catholique Georges-P.-Vanier.
  • École élémentaire catholique Sainte-Ursule.

An outbreak at the Downtown Mission has been rescinded, while the Salvation Army shelter remains in outbreak.

A new outbreak was declared at Augustine Villas in Kingsville. An outbreak at La Chaumiere, a retirement home in Belle River, has been lifted.

COVID-19 in Sarnia-Lambton, Chatham-Kent

Chatham-Kent Public Health reported five new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, with the active case rate at 68.

In Sarnia-Lambton, there were 16 new COVID-19 cases and 62 active overall.

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