The Windsor Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) reported 557 cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths in the region Sunday.
A total of 5,591 individuals have been tested for the virus in the region so far and 961 of those tests are still pending.
The WECHU says it is continuing to monitor outbreaks at five long-term care and retirement homes.
Those include: Amica, Sun Parlour, Lifetimes on Riverside, Heron Terrace and Country Village Homes.
Outbreaks at Franklin Gardens and Extendicare Southwood Lakes are considered resolved.
Earlier this week Dr. Wajid Ahmed, the region’s medical officer of health, said that while some data around COVID-19 has looked promising, precautions such as self-isolation and physical distancing should continue to be taken.
Walpole Island First Nation reports first cases
The Walpole Island First Nation has reported its first cases of COVID-19 in a media release from Chief Dan Miskokomon.
The release said that the first case was reported to officials yesterday evening, followed by another notification a short time later from another community member who had also tested positive.
“Walpole Island Health Centre staff followed up with the individuals after they were notified and can confirm that they are doing well and have been provided with education on how to properly self-isolate,” the release said.
Health staff has also provided the individuals and their families with protective equipment and continue to monitor them.
“Our hearts and thoughts are with our community members and their families at this time,” the release said.
The release also reminded members there is a higher instance of underlying health conditions in the community, so people should be extra careful to ensure they are protecting loved ones.
“Because of this testing has been prioritized for our community and other First Nation communities,” the release said.
The WECHU took the opportunity Sunday to highlight the provincial government’s decision yesterday to declare community gardens essential.
“Food security must stay at the forefront of our decisions and actions,” said Ahmed.
“As the weather begins to turn, our gardens offer and opportunity to engage with the outdoors, learn and be physically active.”
The health unit also released a document providing guidelines and best practices for gardeners who may be planning to take advantage of the relaxing of the rules.
It highlighted ways in which people access their garden spaces and tools, how to regularly clean and sanitize the space and the tools and how to physically distance if accessing a garden.
Return of transit in discussion
Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens said Friday that the city is exploring the ways it will bring public transit back online. The WECHU also released recommendations for a safe transit system Friday.
“Maintaining a safe transit system is a priority at all times,” a memo released by the health unit read.
“As we continue to learn from the COVID-19 pandemic it is important to ensure all measures are in place to protect our transit employees and the public who rely on public transit.”
Busses were pulled off the road by the City of Windsor on March 29, but that order is set to expire at the end of April.
Dilkens said bringing transit back should be done in tandem with businesses coming back online.
“I can tell you that we’re looking to have meetings with ATU, the local transit union, working through the various issues certainly with Dr. Ahmed, making sure the proper protocols are in place,” Dilkens said.
COVID-19 in Sarnia-Lambton
There are 167 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Sarnia-Lambton Sunday. Health officials say 14 people have died from the virus so far. Four more people were reported as recovered from the virus, bringing that total to 77.
Bluewater Health said Tuesday that 14 staff members at its facility have tested positive for COVID-19. Four of them contracted the virus at work, while 10 reportedly contracted it in the community.
Two long-term care facilities in the community are considered to be in outbreak situations: Landmark Village retirement home has 34 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and Vision Nursing Home has two cases detected among staff.
A previous outbreak at Meadowview Villa long-term care home, which had one staff member who tested positive, is now considered resolved.
COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent
Of the 42 cases of COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent, 18 remain active. There has been one death in the community.
A total of 1,529 people have been tested so far. The results of 361 of those tests are still pending.