Chatham-Kent is on a roll after reporting a decrease in COVID cases for the fourth consecutive day.
Seven new cases were reported as 18 were resolved, bringing the active total down to 80, according to CK Public Health’s Thursday data report.
Active cases have been on the decline all week long, however, Chatham-Kent’s medical officer of health is not ready to determine what that means for the latest wave.
“I think it's a little premature to extrapolate what's happening in Chatham-Kent to the wave in general,” Dr. David Colby said. “But I am pleased that our number of active cases is very significantly dropping… but even 80 is way higher than what I want it to be, but at least it's moving in the right direction.”
Six workplace outbreaks, the Fairfield Park long-term care home outbreak, and two congregate living outbreaks all remain active.
Public Health has not ordered any of the workplaces in outbreak status to close, Colby said. Any businesses which are currently shutdown have done so on a voluntary basis.
“There are voluntary closures that were undertaken by some of these businesses, and we have not actually by order closed any of those businesses,” he said. “But it all hinges on whether there is danger to the public or not.”
An outbreak was recently declared at the Wal-Mart in Wallaceburg but Colby said they were not able to trace any cases back to residents.
Earlier this month Premier Doug Ford said both the provincial and municipal governments will be cracking down, investigating more stores. Chatham-Kent’s CAO Don Shropshire said “it would be virtually impossible” for the municipality to find the capacity to go out and do proactive inspections.
“I don't know how we'd even start having people go in and just do random inspections ... the number of locations is just so wide,” he said.
Instead the municipality is encouraging residents to phone the public safety health line set up in the spring if they have concerns about sick employees or other COVID safety measures that stores are failing to implement.
“Whether they call the Ministry of Labor and they do an inspection, or it’s the municipality coming in, we're pretty confident that we're going to get that message pretty effectively and quickly, and in which cases we’d take action,” he said.
Both the local COVID-19 death toll and the number of individuals hospitalized sit at five.
In regards to the vaccine, Colby said all bets are off when it comes to the Pfizer vaccine, originally suspected to arrive in Chatham-Kent by the end of the month.
Last Friday, Pfizer announced it would be reducing its deliveries while it upscaled its plant in Puurs, Belgium to increase its production capacity. As a result Canada and countries in Europe had to rethink their rollout plans.
Colby originally placed 5,000 orders to get started on vaccinations.
In Phase 1 there are 750 long-term care and 250 retirement home residents needing to be vaccinated locally plus an additional 1,240 staff members and 446 essential caregivers.
“The provincial government is trying to respond to this, which originates at the federal level, let's face it, and resulting in fewer allocations to the province of Ontario. So they're reallocating their supplies of Pfizer and Modern and when we know we'll know,” he said.
Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chatham Voice