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As the COVID-19 case rate continues its sharp rise in Windsor-Essex, most of those experiencing serious health outcomes from the disease are not vaccinated.

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Data released by the local health unit on Thursday showed that 86 percent of people recently admitted to local intensive care units with COVID-19 had not received a single dose of the COVID vaccine.

After noting that unvaccinated people make up a small portion of the community, roughly 23 percent, Acting Medical Health Officer Dr. Shanker Nesathurai said the trend is consistent with what is happening in hospitals in Ontario.

“A person’s risk of being hospitalized and dying is much higher if they are not vaccinated than if they are vaccinated; that’s not a Windsor-Essex phenomenon, ”he said.

Although data shows that half of the COVID-19 cases recorded locally from November 8 to 14 were in fully vaccinated people, the unvaccinated minority continue to contract the disease at a much higher rate than the vaccinated. According to the health unit, the contagion rate is currently 3.52 times higher for unvaccinated people.

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Vaccinated people are also less likely to transmit the disease to others, said the executive director of the health unit, Nicole Dupuis.

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Nicole Dupuis, executive director of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, is shown on June 1, 2021.
Nicole Dupuis, executive director of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, is shown on June 1, 2021. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

Over the past week, the COVID-19 infection rate in the region has nearly doubled to 64 cases per 100,000 people per week. While four other public health units have rates even higher than Windsor-Essex’s, the local number is still dramatically higher than the provincial average of just under 30 cases per 100,000 people.

Along with the increase in cases, there has been a significant increase in COVID-related hospitalizations and intensive care admissions.

“When hospital beds are occupied by people who have COVID, which is, for the most part, a preventable phenomenon, that means that other people who need ICU beds cannot receive treatment,” said Nesathurai. “COVID cases not only use health care resources, but they also affect the health care resources of people who do not have COVID.”

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Approximately 51,000 Windsor-Essex residents who are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines are not yet fully vaccinated. Most of those people have not received a first dose.

The residents fully vaccinated are 314,255.

About four percent of recent COVID tests were positive for the virus or one of its variants.

The health unit reported an additional 66 cases of COVID-19 and the COVID-related death of a person under the age of 20 on Thursday.

To date, 21,095 Windsor-Essex residents have tested positive for the virus, including 468 who have died, 326 who are still infectious and 20,301 whose cases are considered resolved.

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The number of COVID outbreaks in the region rose to 27. They include six workplaces, 13 community settings, five schools, and two nursing homes and long-term care homes.

New school outbreaks have been declared at St. Gabriel Catholic Elementary School, Leamington District High School, Riverside High School, and DM Eagle Public School. Another outbreak at Essex Public School remains active.

The Village at St. Clair, a long-term care home in Windsor, joins the Chartwell Royal Oak long-term care residence in Kingsville on the outbreak list.

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Reference-windsorstar.com

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