WINDSOR, ONT. -- The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting a new record number of new COVID-19 cases in the region and three new deaths.

A man in his 40s from the community, a woman in her 70s from the community, and a woman in her 90s from a long-term care home. The health unit says both women had underlying health conditions, but are still looking at the man’s history.

“It has been a difficult year for so many of you who have lost loved ones to COVID and other disease and other circumstances, our hearts truly go out to each and every one of you," WECHU CEO Theresa Marentette said during Wednesday's update. "We are saddened to report an additional three deaths today.”

WECHU reported 250 new COVID-19 cases in the region on Wednesday.

This is the ninth triple-digit day in a row for in the region. The previous single-day highest was 243 last Friday.

Here’s the breakdown of new cases:

  • 32 related to outbreaks
  • 13 are close contacts of a confirmed case
  • 6 community acquired
  • 199 under investigation

“I saw the number and I was surprised but we had actually consulted with our epidemiologist and he had given us some projections so we were aware that the numbers were going to continue to increase. We know that there are continue to be cases and outbreaks in the long term care homes," Marentette said. 

Windsor-Essex medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed said over the next week, it is expected the number of cases will be similar.

“I think it’s unfortunate that now we are seeing these numbers consistently in the triple digits and consistently more than 150. It is a big risk for our community and we want to remind people about this opportunity with everything that’s happening around us to be safe, to follow all these measures to keep everyone safe," he said. 

"I’m confident at least in the few days when people start to follow all these measures we’ll start to see a decline in the numbers."

The WECHU says there are 1,305 active cases. There are 76 people in the hospital with confirmed cases of COVID-19 including 16 in the ICU.

The death toll related to COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex has reached 105. Sixty-two deaths are related to residents in retirement or long-term care homes and two are related to migrant workers.

There are 34 outbreaks in the region:

  • 14 outbreaks at LTC and retirement homes
  • 12 outbreaks at workplaces
  • 3 community outbreaks
  • 2 school outbreaks
  • 3 hospital outbreaks

Dr. Ahmed took the time Wednesday to wish residents a happy holidays and remind all to stay safe and follow public health measures.

“Our collective action will make a difference in what we experience in January and into the coming year," he said. "Together we can minimize the impact of COVID-19 in our community, protect our healthcare system and save the lives of our friends and family."

Dr. Ahmed reminded residents to avoid social gatherings, celebrate with those in your household and suggested celebrating with others vritually.

“This is the time of giving, this is the time to be kind, this is the time to give gifts to everyone, and right now the best we can all give is to give them the gift of health by following public health guidance to keep everyone around you safe," he said. 

The health unit's next live video briefing will be Tuesday, Dec. 29.