Another life lost to COVID-19

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Chatham-Kent Public Health is reporting another death linked to COVID-19.

Spokesman Jeff Moco said the latest casualty is a woman in her 60s who died at a hospital outside of the region. Citing privacy, he could not say if the woman was among the patients recently transferred from a local hospital to one in another city.  The woman’s death marks the 31st of pandemic in Chatham-Kent.

On Friday, the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) also reported a slight drop in the number of COVID-19 patients in the Chatham hospital. Director of Communications Fannie Vavoulis said 29 patients with the virus are in the hospital. That’s down from 34 earlier this week. She said 19 of the 29 are unvaccinated and six are in the ICU. Five of the ICU patients are on ventilators. ICU capacity is now at 70 per cent, after being at 100 per cent on Tuesday. CKHA also reported 85 staff are off due to COVID-19 or exposure to it. That’s up from 78 reported on Thursday.

Local public health officials also reported 72 new cases on Friday, but that’s an underestimation based on low reporting habits and changing testing eligibility. The public health unit reported no new outbreaks, but five small outbreaks continue. They’re all at retirement and long-term care homes. St. Angela’s Meadow Retirement Lodge in Chatham has three cases, Wallaceburg Retirement Residence has two cases, Hudson Manor in Tilbury has four cases, Tilbury Manor Nursing Home has four cases, and Riverview Gardens in Chatham has two cases. A workplace outbreak with 18 cases at a manufacturing facility was declared over on Wednesday.

In Ontario, 43 more deaths linked to COVID-19 were reported. The province says the high number of reported deaths is due to a “data cleanup.” Of the 43 deaths, 42 happened over the last 10 days. The other happened in April. The province also reported on Friday a record high 2,472 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 and 338 people are in the ICU with the virus. Officials said 232 are not fully vaccinated or have an unknown vaccination status and 106 are fully vaccinated. There are also 11,899 new cases across the province.