Chatham-Kent Public Health building in Chatham, Ont. on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (Chris Campbell / CTV Windsor)

Chatham-Kent’s medical health officer Dr. David Colby said three employees of a big box store in Chatham have tested positive for COVID-19, but he has not declared an outbreak at the unnamed retailer.

“After careful analysis we could not find a connection at the workplace, but the workers just happened to work at the same business,” said Colby who added the three transmissions happened outside the store and their investigation continues.

Chatham Kent Public Health notified other employees who needed to be notified assured Colby who didn’t see a hazard to the general public.

Still, it is part of the growing number of positive cases in the Chatham-Kent region which now stands at 953. That’s 14 more since Wednesday.

Chatham-Kent Health Alliance reported COVID-19 claimed the life of a 91-year-old Chatham-Kent man on Thursday morning, bringing the total number to four people who have died due to complications from the virus.

CKHA president and CEO Lori Marshall reported there are nine people in hospital with COVID.

Marshall said three of the patients are from outside the municipality.

The growing number of cases troubles Chatham-Kent’s Mayor, along with the impact it has created.

“The lockdown on business and the mental health of the community is a major concern for me,” said Darrin Canniff.

Municipal leaders remain hopeful the new restrictions which went into effect early Thursday morning will help flatten the curve in the province and at home.

While they admit what is considered essential and non-essential seems vague, the municipality’s Chief Administration Officer hopes people will follow the spirit of the rules.

“If someone was to have a party and disrespects the five-person limit, there could be consequences. We are not talking about having by-law enforcement officers outside paint stores, but we have to take action with people who continue to be non-complaint,” said Don Shropshire.

Colby said the vaccine will also help slow the rate of transmission and is expecting the first batch before the end of the month.

Public Health has a team and the first priority will be residents and staff at long term care homes.

Colby said he requested 5,000 doses from the province, but is unsure whether the region will receive that amount.

Colby said ideally he would like to set up clinics to administer the vaccine but until there’s a more plentiful and steady supply it will have to be given to segments of the population who are most at risk.