“This is something that needs immediate action,” says new MOH about vaccination

96-year-old John Percival receives his first dose of Pfizer vaccine from RPN Kristin Persichetti. Mar. 6, 2021 (BlackburnNews.com photo by Stephanie Chaves)

The region’s new Medical Officer of Health urges everyone who has not been vaccinated, to just do it.

Hundreds of students have been dismissed from school because they’ve had contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus. Cohorts at daycares and St. Clair College are self-isolating.

“For every person that is a case, there can be six, seven, eight, nine, a dozen people in self-isolation. The burden of COVID-19 cases is not just on the individual cases,” said Doctor Shanker Nesathurai. “That is probably, in my mind, as key a metric of what is the burden of illness.”

On Wednesday, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported 44 new cases of COVID-19. There are 429 active infections in the region, and our positivity rate is the highest in Ontario at nine per cent.

“Stated another way about one in ten people who go for a test now in Windsor-Essex are testing positive,” Nesathurai said.

He insists the responsibility of keeping the community safe can not fall solely on public health officials. He called it the responsibility of every individual.

“Every institution, every school, every college, every university, every employer should have some vaccination policies,” he said. “If people don’t have a compelling reason not to be vaccinated, they should be vaccinated.”

Of the 21 outbreaks locally, 18 are in workplaces.

Since children under 12 are not eligible, the responsibility falls to parents to ensure they complete the screening process with their child every morning and keeping them home if they even suspect their child may have the virus.

There are over 70,000 people in Windsor-Essex who are eligible for the vaccine but are not vaccinated.

“This is something that needs immediate action from every person to see if we can get control, or at least try to abate the burden of illness to the Windsor-Essex community,” Nesathurai urged. “We all know someone who isn’t vaccinated. Talk to them.”

Only 74.4 per cent of residents over the age of 12 are fully vaccinated, but health officials have said in the past, a vaccination rate of 90 per cent is needed to protect those who can not get the shot.

Of today’s new infections, 14 people caught COVID-19 in the community and just as many were infected through close contact with a case the health unit is monitoring. One is related to travel, and the origin of another 15 is under investigation.

There are 16 people in the hospital. That’s down from 19 yesterday when Windsor Regional Hospital reported that ten were unvaccinated.