WINDSOR, ONT. -- On the one-year anniversary since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, Chatham-Kent’s Public Health officer declared the municipality was the top area in the country to administer the first doses of the vaccine based on the proportion of the population.

Dr. David Colby said that so far 11,000 people or 10 per cent of Chatham-Kent’s population had rolled up sleeves for a shot.

“This little community has once again hit the ball out of the park,” said Colby.

Colby and other community leaders credited the success on the cooperation among agencies and community compliance to get the vaccine out as equitability and quickly as possible.

Despite the good news, Colby added the race remains between the vaccine and new variants.

Recently the region has experienced another spike with active cases now at 46 compared to 11 two weeks ago which Colby called a disturbing trend.

He added a number of the cases were from indoor gatherings.

“One contagious person indoors will ensure a large number cases will result,” said Colby.

Civic leaders remind residents to continue to exercise constraint to prevent the spread.

“We will be the authors of own future,” said Don Shropshire, CAO of Chatham-Kent.

Mayor Darrin Canniff said business owners are worried about a third wave, which could trigger another lockdown for the area.

Caniff was told by business owners, “it will negatively affect our business if there is a third shutdown.”

Despite the progress, Caniff said the area was still months away before a significant portion of the population is vaccinated.

Colby said he has heard varying opinions on levels for a herd immunity of COVID from different experts, some who say close to 60 per cent and other who say closer to 80 per cent of a population would need to be vaccinated in order to indirectly protect the general population.

Colby said variants might move that threshold so everyone must remain vigilant