Active COVID-19 case count continues hit record high in Chatham-Kent

Dr. David Colby, CK Medical Officer of Health. Oct 18, 2017. (Photo by Paul Pedro)

The Christmas holiday break didn’t slow down the number of new cases of COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent.

Chatham-Kent Public Health reported 43 new cases on Tuesday. There were 25 more resolved cases, bringing the number of active cases up to 288, the highest it has ever been.

“I think this is going to get worse before it gets better, and it’s all due to the hyper-transmissibility of this Omicron variant. It’s just so contagious,” Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Colby told Mornings with Dave & Cheryl on Country 92.9 FM CFCO on Tuesday.

Dr. Colby said the high number of new cases is also causing issues when it comes to testing.

“The demand for tests is outstripping the supply,” said Dr. Colby. “So not everybody who would normally get tested is being tested, so this number is a bit of an illusion, and it really should be much higher.”

The number of Chatham-Kent residents hospitalized with the virus is up by four to 14, but no new outbreaks were reported.

Ontario logged 8,825 new cases of COVID-19 this morning, and Dr. Colby said he thinks the province may institute more restrictions to try to slow the spread.

“I think the province will be keeping an eye on the same kind of numbers that I’m keeping an eye on, and I would not be at all surprised to see more enhanced restrictions if the numbers continue to rise,” said Dr. Colby. “I think it will be incumbent on the province to take central action.”

When it comes to long-term care facilities, Dr. Colby said a small number of cases have been reported locally.

“The majority of the people that are [in long-term care homes] are triple-vaxxed, and that does provide a lot more protection than a double vaccination,” said Dr. Colby.

Riverview Gardens in Chatham-Kent sent out a notice on Sunday that a second resident there had tested positive for COVID-19 at the long-term care home, but noted that “the cases do not appear to be connected, with residents living on two separate floors.”

Riverview Gardens also sent a separate release on December 24, advising the public that two employees at the home had tested positive for COVID-19 through onsite rapid testing.

There are two floors in precautionary outbreak status: 6 East and West and 2 East and West. Visiting is also limited to caregivers-only at this time.

“We know how very difficult these measures are for families,” said Director, Seniors Services Mary Alice Searles in a release. “This is not where any of us want to be, especially at this time of year… A big Thank You goes out to our employees who are spending their holidays at Riverview Gardens to take care of the home and those who live here. Riverview Gardens is committed to the safety of our residents and employees, and these measures are to prevent transmission of COVID-19, which continues to spread, with numbers spiking in the community. Thanks goes out to families and friends for patience and understanding as we navigate through. This is one more pivot through the pandemic.”

Dr. Colby said he continues to encourage everyone to get vaccinated or get their third shot as soon as possible.

“Even being double-vaxxed provides significant protection against severe disease, but not very good protection against infection,” said Dr. Colby. “But being triple-vaxxed increases the protection against infection four-fold — so… much, much better.”