WECHU poised to announce plan for 80+ COVID-19 vaccinations
Health unit says details will be announced Thursday
Windsor-Essex residents will soon learn when COVID-19 vaccines will be available to people 80 and older.
Theresa Marentette, CEO of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU), said the plan will be unveiled on Thursday.
Dr. Wajid Ahmed, the region's medical officer of health, said on CBC Radio's Windsor Morning earlier on Wednesday that the details were being finalized and he expects the vaccinations to start some time next week.
At the health unit briefing, Ahmed urged patience since it will take some time to vaccinate everyone. There are close to 20,000 people in the target population, he said. Those who have been vaccinated still need to follow public health measures, he said.
The development follows calls to prioritize seniors to receive their shots, including from Dr. Ahmed himself.
"Eighty-plus in my community, these [residents] are my priority," he said in the interview. "These are the people who I want to provide the level of protection that they need."
Overwhelmingly, the region's COVID-19 deaths have been among seniors, and while those living in long-term care and retirement homes have already been vaccinated, those living in the community have yet to receive vaccines.
In total, about 11,500 people in the region have received both required doses of the vaccine, which includes residents, staff and caregivers at seniors homes, as well as some priority health-care workers.
On Wednesday, the health unit announced 49 new cases of COVID-19. Thirty-three of those cases are connected to outbreaks, two were close contacts of confirmed cases, five were community acquired and nine are still being investigated.
There are 42 people in hospital with COVID-19, including five in intensive care units.
Since the pandemic began, 376 people have died from COVID-19 locally.
The health unit also issued a low risk public exposure notice on Wednesday for a Petsmart at 4001 Legacy Dr. in Windsor. It said anyone who attended the store on Feb. 20 between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. should monitor for symptoms 14 days from the date of exposure.
On Tuesday, WECHU announced it was opening up a new registration form for organizations that employ high-risk health-care workers to get their vaccines at the St. Clair College Sportsplex as early as next week.
A parallel process is being set up to administer vaccinations for 80-plus seniors at a different site.
As for the rest of the senior population, Ahmed said the vaccination rollout will depend on when additional vaccine supply comes in.
"We are probably looking at, I would say, at least two to three weeks if not longer," he said on Windsor Morning.
12 outbreaks remain active
There are currently a dozen outbreaks active in Windsor-Essex.
Two are taking place at Windsor Regional Hospital and two are active at shelters serving people experiencing homelessness, the Downtown Mission and Salvation Army.
Up until Tuesday there were 70 cases at the Mission and there have been some new ones associated with the Salvation Army but Ahmed could not immediately say how many on Wednesday.
The city is working on a plan to open up the aquatic centre to house those affected by the outbreak.
There are four active outbreaks at workplaces:
- One in an agriculture setting in Leamington.
- One in LaSalle's finance and insurance sector.
- One in Windsor's health care and social assistance sector.
- One in a Windsor manufacturing setting.
There are four active outbreaks at long-term care and retirement facilities:
- Franklin Gardens in Leamington, with 38 resident cases and 18 staff cases.
- Regency Park in Windsor, with 25 resident cases and 15 staff cases.
- Rosewood Erie Glen in Leamington, with 43 resident cases and 10 staff cases.
- The Village at St. Clair in Windsor, with 177 resident cases and 143 staff cases.
COVID-19 in Sarnia-Lambton, Chatham-Kent
There was one new COVID-19 case announced by Chatham-Kent Public Health on Wednesday, and 17 cases are active overall. Nine people have died due to COVID-19 since the pandemic started.
Sarnia-Lambton reported three new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, and the number of active cases has dropped by 22 since Tuesday. Seventy-two remain active.