Despite rising hospitalizations and cases in Windsor-Essex, WECHU not imposing more restrictions
The new case rate for COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex is now among the highest in the province, at a time when hospitalizations and ICU admissions are also spiking, according to data from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.
Windsor-Essex recorded 89 new cases Wednesday, adding to the surge of new cases over the past week.
According to the health unit, the burden of disease is starting to affect the community in big ways.
“We can manage with the current burden of disease,” WECHU’s acting medical officer of health Dr. Shankar Nesathurai said during his morning media briefing Wednesday. “If we had five times as many cases, I fear we would saturate our resources.”
Dr. Nesathurai attributes the bulk of disease spread to clusters from social and recreational events and unvaccinated individuals.
“We’re going into a season when there will be more human to human interaction,” he said. “We are very concerned that we’re going to see increasing number of cases over the next few weeks.”
To draw a comparison, there were 4,185 COVID-related hospitalizations in the state of Michigan on Monday, which set a new record. In Ontario, 296 people are currently hospitalized and 21 people are in hospital with COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex, making up nearly seven per cent of all hospitalizations, province-wide.
Hospital officials call this number a “disproportionate” number when comparing our population size to other regions of Ontario.
Despite recent and looming surges and an open border with recently loosened restrictions, the health unit is not keen to impose new restrictions at this time.
“We are reluctant to put in additional public health measures if they’re not necessary,” said Dr. Nesathurai. “They remain available depending on what the data might lead us to.”
But the acting medical officer of health said the burden of disease is starting to have ripple effects on the community.
There have been 600 school cohort outbreaks this school year alone, leading to about 12,000 youth missing in-person learning while on isolation.
Dr. Nesathurai is appealing to unvaccinated people in their 50s and 60s to get their shots out of civic responsibility.
“Think about the real superheroes, which are those little kids who are being inconvenienced in their school to protect people in their 50s and 60s who elect not to get vaccinated,” he said.
There are also 28 current outbreaks in the community, split between schools, workplaces and long-term care homes, which is once again raising concern for how these trends will impact local healthcare.
“That’s very concerning that we are seeing that spike already,” said Dr. Karen Riddell, the chief operating officer at Windsor Regional Hospital.
She says there are currently 12 beds in the intensive care unit occupied by COVID-19 patients. Unlike non-COVID related stays which Riddell says last for about four days, patients admitted to the ICU with COVID-19 can stay from 14 days to a month, sometimes longer.
She told CTV News if there are too many additional ICU cases, it could force hospital administrators to once again make tough decisions about cancelling elective surgeries.
“We won’t want to put those off again we want people to be able to get the care they’ve been waiting for,” Riddell said.
“Those are the kinds of things that keep us awake at night."