20 cases connected to new community cluster in Windsor-Essex

A graphic illustrating how a second community cluster formed in Windsor-Essex. (Photo courtesy of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit)

The region’s Medical Officer of Health is again urging people to be mindful of how COVID-19 spreads after detailing a second community cluster of cases.

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported a previous cluster on September 2 involving 31 cases.

Dr. Wajid Ahmed told reporters the latest cluster started with a family gathering at Blue Mountain in Collingwood on September 5.

“Within the same family, a child had a celebration which prompted some of his friends to go into a restaurant and then as a group they all decided to go to a cottage in Tobermory,” explained Ahmed.

So far, 20 cases have been connected. Of those, 14 are adults between the ages of 20 and 29, two are children between 10 and 19, and two others are in their 50s.

Ahmed said 19 of the cases have been confirmed, and the last case is considered probable. All of the patients are symptomatic, but two have been discharged. The health unit is still following 17 cases.

He is hopeful the chain of transmission has been stopped and there will be no other cases connected to the cluster.

“They’re all linked at this time to family and friends and limited to that setting,” said Ahmed.

The age of the majority of the cases follows a province-wide trend of younger cases. Ahmed suggested it may be connected to so-called “COVID fatigue”, exhaustion with the social distancing measures.

However, as the weather cools, and people hold more of their social gatherings inside, he believes the region will see more community clusters, simply because people are in closer quarters.

“That’s a concern that everyone is having right now,” said Ahmed. “We heard it even from our premier. He’s looking into these private parties, including consideration of reducing the limit for social gatherings.”

Meanwhile, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported five new cases Thursday. Of those, three patients caught the virus in the community, one case had close contact with a patient who has already tested positive, and the fifth case is under investigation.

The total caseload in the region is now 2,613. The number of active infections is 95 and 2,442 cases are considered resolved.