WECHU to make adjustments to COVID-19 case reporting

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit in Windsor, Ont., on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. (Chris Campbell / CTV Windsor)

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is making changes to its COVID-19 local data reporting to better align with changes to testing eligibility in Ontario.

Starting Monday, the health unit will focus on high-risk cases, hospitalizations and wastewater surveillance data on its local data webpage due to changes in publically funded PCR testing that went into effect on Dec. 31.

Publically funded PCR testing is now limited to symptomatic high-risk individuals and those who work in high-risk settings. As such, WECHU says positive cases confirmed by PCR testing “is an underestimate of the true number of individuals with COVID-19 in the community.”

To address this, the WECHU is implementing the following changes to its reporting:

  • Reporting of cases limited to 'high-risk cases', and only active and new cases.
  • Reporting of confirmed and suspect COVID-19 hospitalizations.
  • Reporting of local wastewater surveillance data.
  • Reporting of new outbreaks is limited to high-risk settings such as long-term care homes, retirement homes, hospitals, and congregate living settings.
  • Inclusion of historical outbreaks across all settings beginning from September 1, 2020. Outbreaks prior to September 1, 2020 will be added after a thorough review.
  • Differentiating between data from before and after the change in testing eligibility on all existing graphs for testing and cases over time, as the time periods are not comparable.
  • Discontinued reporting any Variants of Concern (as Omicron is the dominant variant, and only a small number of PCR tests will be screened for Omicron).
  • Discontinued reporting cases by age, source of acquisition, geography, and status of vaccinations, as high-risk cases only represent a segment of the population.
  • Discontinued reporting of daily effective reproduction number and case doubling-time related to COVID-19.