Windsor-Essex has highest weekly COVID-19 rate in the province

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The Chief of Staff at Windsor Regional Hospital is sounding the alarm when it comes to following COVID-19 protocols and getting vaccinated.

According to the local health unit, Windsor-Essex has the highest weekly incident rate in Ontario with 90.3 per 100,000 people — that's nearly three times the provincial average which sits at 34.7.

Dr. Wassim Saad says young people between zero and 29-years-old make up 49% of the new cases and numbers show those who are unvaccinated are six times more likely to contract the virus.

He says there are a number of shared responsibilities the public needs to get on board with.

"We know, from the beginning of the pandemic, before we had any type of vaccine it was always about physical distancing and if you got sick you stayed at home," he says.  "Then you have the shared responsibilities which include immediate testing to see if you have it and then isolating yourself if you do and, of course, the last one, vaccines. That's going to be critically important to stop the spread."

Dr. Saad says, to avoid another lockdown, we need to keep ICU numbers down.

"What really drove the lockdowns was what the projections looked like from the science table as to what ICU capacity was going to be like because you want to still be able to look after patients who are going to need the ICU for other reasons," says Dr. Saad.  "People have heart attacks and strokes and trauma and all those other reasons. So you have to be able to protect critical care capacity."

He adds the majority of those in the ICU are partially or unvaccinated.

"Right now, in the Province of Ontario, there are about 120 patients who are either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated in ICUs and only eight are fully vaccinated," he says.  "It does not make you bulletproof, but what it is meant to do and what it has been doing is preventing ICU admissions and preventing deaths."

Dr. Saad says school outbreaks combined with low vaccination rates among young people are playing a major factor in driving numbers up.

The local weekly incident rates were gathered from the week of August 29 to September 4.