Deaths related to COVID-19 reach 18 in Chatham-Kent

Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (File Photo)

COVID-19 claimed another life in Chatham-Kent Wednesday evening after a hospital patient passed away.

“It’s the first due to COVID for some time,” stated Lori Marshall, president and CEO of Chatham-Kent Health Alliance.

Marshall did not give out the person’s gender or age, but Chatham-Kent’s Medical Health Officer, Dr. David Colby said, “the person was unvaccinated.”

It brought the total number of COVID deaths in Chatham-Kent to 18.

Marshall said 13 people who tested positive remain under the care of CKHA with five individuals in the Intensive Care Unit and four of them on ventilators.

However, Marshall added so far 87 per cent of hospital staff were fully vaccinated with 7 per cent who had already had a first dose.

The hospital has given its staff, volunteers, and contractors until Oct. 31 to be fully vaccinated, or face possible employment termination.

She attributed the higher rate to new rules, “it’s much higher than when we introduced the vaccination policy.”

Still, Marshall said she was aware some workers planned to submit a human rights challenge, and added a review was underway to assess what impact there would be to service by losing staff who refuse to immunize.

Meanwhile, Chatham-Kent Public Health reported 112 active cases and a percentage of positivity rate of 5.3 per cent.

Colby said the high rate was because of testing methodology as the jurisdiction assesses a wider population, and does not just target individuals with symptoms.

He was generally pleased after the first day of vaccine passports as no charges were laid, but said there were many questions from business people.

“They don’t like turning people away who are potential customers and concerned about the responsibility they have checking vaccine receipts,” he said.

Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Canniff said he expected a wholesome debate on Monday evening when council is scheduled to discuss a vaccination policy for themselves, similar to a policy being drafted for municipal workers at its regular meeting Monday evening.

Canniff said it is an important step and added, “we have to lead by example.”