Active COVID-19 cases in Chatham-Kent dip slightly

File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / famveldman

After weeks of steady increases, the number of active COVID-19 cases in Chatham-Kent is starting to drop slightly.

CK Public Health reported 18 new cases of the virus, along with 25 recoveries Wednesday, bringing the total number of active cases in the community to 144.

The region’s total case count since the start of the pandemic stands at 3,256.

According to Chatham-Kent Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Colby, there has not been a COVID-related death since December 9, which leaves the local death toll unchanged at 25.

There are nine outbreaks across the municipality, including seven at elementary schools. A total of 18 cases have been linked to a recent wedding and another 15 have been linked to an outbreak at a manufacturing plant.

“The most chilling thing here is that 22.5 per cent of our cases are unlinked to other known cases,” said Colby. “The is the highest ever in Chatham-Kent and that indicates that we have community spread outside of our contact-tracing abilities. It’s spreading in the community.”

The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance is also reporting that 12 patients are being treated for COVID-19 in the hospital.

In Chatham-Kent, adults have an 87.4 per cent first-dose coverage rate and a full vaccination rate of 84.9 per cent. Youth aged 12 to 17 have a 75 per cent first-dose coverage rate and a full vaccination rate of 71.4 per cent. Children aged 5 to 11 have a 26.1 per cent first-dose coverage rate and a full vaccination rate of 1.8 per cent.

When asked about those planning to gather over the holidays, Colby said the best advice would be to make sure that all guests are vaccinated.

“We still think that being fully vaccinated is better than repeated testing,” said Colby. “The best advice would be to make sure that all your guests are fully vaccinated – and for those over 50, I would say that’s with three doses.”

He said that while rapid tests are extremely accurate, they serve to provide a very brief snapshot of someone’s COVID-19 status.

“If you get a negative test at 9 a.m., that probably means you didn’t transmit COVID-19 to anyone in the recent past, but you could be infectious by noon,” said Colby. “The tests are quite accurate.”

Across the province, there were 1,808 new cases reported Wednesday, the highest single-day COVID-19 case total in months.