COVID-19 claims 17th Chatham-Kent resident

A 17th Chatham-Kent resident – and the second this week – has died of COVID-19.

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A 17th Chatham-Kent resident – and the second this week – has died of COVID-19.

The woman in her 60s died Tuesday at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance but was was reported Thursday by the Chatham-Kent public health unit.

“I was not directly looking after this case … but the case did have significant comorbidities, which always increase the likelihood of a poor outcome,” said Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s medical officer of health.

The woman’s death was not related to the Chatham hospital’s medicine unit outbreak that was declared over last week, said health alliance president and CEO Lori Marshall.

Chatham-Kent was still at 14 active cases Thursday, matching its lowest total for the past three months. One new case was reported and none were resolved.

COVID-19 vaccine demand in Chatham-Kent remains high, Colby said.

“We haven’t got a levelling-off yet,” he said. “The province changing the eligibility criteria has always kept our intake lines and computers very, very busy indeed. We haven’t reached any kind of saturation point where we’re open for business and nobody is showing up.


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“Our limiting factor continues to be vaccine supply. We have a tremendous capacity to give vaccines.”

He hopes to have at least one dose into 70 per cent of Chatham-Kent residents 18 and older by next week.

“We’re just about there. We’re on the cusp and vaccinating a lot of people every day, about one per cent of our population,” he said. “It’s really important not only for their own health but for the health of everyone and to facilitate the opening, everybody does the right thing and rolls up their sleeves.”

The Chatham-Kent public health unit reported Thursday morning at least one dose had been given to 65 per cent of local residents who are 12 and older, 68.2 per cent who are 18 and older, and 89.5 per cent who are 60 and older.

For 12- to 17-year-olds, 27.4 per cent have received a dose.

Second doses had been given to 11.7 per cent of residents 18 and older.

A total of 69,713 doses had been administered in Chatham-Kent, with 60,647 residents receiving at least one dose and 10,109 receiving two.

The province’s three-step reopening plan is tied to vaccination rates and other public-health numbers. Ontario will begin the first step Friday.

“This is a very incremental reopening,” Colby said. “Not a whole lot changes, so my big caution is for people not to think about this as an either/or situation, that we’re either open or locked down. This is a slight relaxation in some of the rules.

“I think it makes sense because outdoor activities are prioritized and we know that outdoor exposures are much lower.”


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The loosened restrictions allow for outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people, outdoor dining with up to four people per table, non-essential retail at 15 per cent capacity, religious services indoors at 15 per cent capacity and overnight camping at campgrounds.

“It’s certainly sensible that we start to gradually reopen things, but I still advise caution,” Colby said. “We’re still under a significant number of restrictions and that’s the way it should be. But as we get more and more people vaccinated, then this will be much better.”

The Chatham hospital had five COVID-19 patients – four Chatham-Kent residents and one non-resident. Four were in the medicine unit and one was in the intensive care units.

No patients were on ventilators. Two of 10 ICU beds were occupied. Occupancy in the medicine, surgical and critical care units was 69.2 per cent.

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