The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 22 new cases of COVID-19 in the region on Monday and the local medical officer of health says he is concerned.

Windsor-Essex has had a total of 2,864 confirmed cases of the virus, including 2711 people who have recovered. WECHU says 77 cases are active and two people are in hospital.

“The rising case count is definitely a concern for our community,” says medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed.

Out of the new cases, four are healthcare workers (three local and one from Michigan), three are residents in long term care or retirement homes, three are community acquired and three are close contacts of confirmed cases and nine are under investigation.

“When we are reporting 22 cases today, with all these diverse places, it scares me,” says Ahmed. "It gives me the indication that we are lagging in what we are doing and we have to act now.”

He says it is crucial for Windsor-Essex residents to follow public health guidelines to ensure the numbers don’t escalate further.

"It is absolutely critical that especially those who are maybe not thinking about it that much, pay attention to everything that you're doing," says Ahmed. "We cannot let this trend continue, we cannot let this change at all for our community. We have to keep our community open, we have to keep our community safe."

After a high number of cases in the summer in the local agri-farm sector, Windsor-Essex has been keeping cases lower this fall. The seven-day average last week was between five and six cases.

Over the weekend, there were 17 new cases – 10 on Saturday and seven on Sunday.

There are two outbreaks in long term care and retirement homes. Lifetimes on Riverside has two residents and three staff members who have tested positive. Iller Lodge in Essex has two residents and one staff member with the virus.

The health unit says even though there are cases in schools, but no outbreaks in schools. There are no listed outbreaks in workplaces.

There have been 76 deaths related to COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex. Fifty-three deaths are related to residents in retirement or long-term care homes and two are related to migrant workers.