Unvaccinated Windsor-Essex COVID cases four times more likely to die than boostered cases, says health unit

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Local COVID-19 cases without vaccination have been four times more likely to die than COVID-19 cases with vaccination, according to the data of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.

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In an epidemiological summary and media briefing on Thursday, the WECHU stated that a total of 97 people in Windsor-Essex have died from COVID-19 between Jan. 1 and March 20 of this year.

“Unvaccinated individuals had the highest rate of a COVID-19 related death compared to those with any vaccination,” the report disclosed.

While there have been COVID-19 deaths among people who received three doses, the relative risk of death among people with no doses has been 4.1.

A chart showing rates of COVID-19 deaths in Windsor-Essex from Jan. to March 2022, categorized by vaccination status.
A chart showing rates of COVID-19 deaths in Windsor-Essex from Jan. to March 2022, categorized by vaccination status. Photo by Windsor-Essex County Health Unit /Windsor Star

“This means unvaccinated individuals are 4.1 times more likely to die from COVID-19 compared to those fully vaccinated with a booster dose,” the report states.

So far this year, unvaccinated COVID-19 cases have died at a rate of 47.3 per 100,000 population.

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Among cases with one dose, the fatality rate drops to 31.3 per 100,000.

Cases with two doses have a death rate of 10.8, and cases with three doses have the lowest death rate at 10.4.

Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, the region’s Acting Medical Officer of Health, noted that COVID-19 deaths continue to occur in Windsor-Essex by an average of three to five per week.

“That’s more deaths than we would expect in any given week from car crashes,” Nesathurai said.

“The burden of disease is still significant in the Windsor-Essex health district.”

As if to underscore the point, the health unit reported a new COVID-19 death on Thursday, with the deceased described as a man in his 80s who resided in the community.

To date, 592 Windsor-Essex residents have died from COVID-19.

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Nesathurai said roughly 76,000 people out of the region’s total population of 432,000 are completely unvaccinated against COVID-19. About 20,000 of those people are children under the age of five, and thus not eligible for vaccination.

“So about 56,000 people who are eligible have not been vaccinated,” Nesathurai said.

Nesathurai also noted that around 150,000 people have been vaccinated with two doses — but have not received a third dose/booster shot. “I think it’s important to accept the construct of up-to-date vaccination,” he advised.

“Most of those people who received two doses received their second dose last year, somewhere between August and September 2021. There is a waning effectiveness of the vaccine. We would really encourage for people who are eligible to get their booster.”

As of Thursday, the health unit is counting 338 active “high risk” cases in the region, with 34 of them hospitalized and four under intensive care.

Nine outbreak situations are being monitored, with four of them at long-term care facilities or retirement homes, and one of them in a hospital unit.

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