The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported four more people have died due to COVID-19 in our region, bringing the total number of people who have died to 31.
Two men in their 90s, a man in his 60s and a man in his 40s died yesterday.
The man in his 40s is the youngest person in the region to die of the disease. The health unit said the man had high blood pressure and was a smoker, but no other pre-existing conditions.
“COVID-19 doesn’t differentiate between gender, age, it can affect anyone,” said Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health.
The two men in their 90s were residents of long-term care facilities.
The health unit also reported 24 new cases of the disease. There are now 506 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex.
There are currently six facilities experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19 in our region, after Extendicare Southwood Lakes’ situation was resolved.
Country Village Homes in Woodslee is the hardest hit, as 64 residents there have tested positive for the virus and 22 staff members.
Of the 31 people in the community who have died from the disease, 22 of them were residents of long-term care or retirement homes.
WATCH| The health unit’s COVID-19 update for Tuesday April 21:
Over the weekend, six people died due to COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex.
On Saturday, three residents in long-term care died. They were over the age of 80. On Sunday, the health unit reported a woman and a man in their 90s and a woman in her 60s had died.
Virtual clinic launched
The health unit along with local health-care partners have launched a Virtual Walk-In-Clinic, and other e-health tools to help people navigate their health during the pandemic.
The virtual clinic launched Tuesday and can be found at: https://ehealthwindsoressex.ca.
Officials say they do not know if this online clinic will be made available after the pandemic, but are happy to provide tools now to aid people from their homes.
Here’s what’s happening in our area:
What it’s like moving a loved one to a COVID-19 field hospital
Charmaine Edwards says she was shocked and overwhelmed when she learned that her 92 year-old mother Keitha Bernat would be one of Windsor’s first long-term care residents moving into the new St. Clair College SportsPlex field hospital.
Edwards, who lives in British Columbia, received the call from Heron Terrace Long Term Care Community on Friday, adding that she and her family were very scared for Bernat — especially since the field hospital is only intended for residents of long-term care and retirement facilities who have tested positive for COVID-19.
The SportsPlex facility has space for 100 beds and opened on Saturday, when 20 patients from Heron Terrace were moved into the space.
John Scotland, CEO of the Steeves and Rozema Group that owns and operates Heron Terrace, as well as other long-term care facilities across southern Ontario, said the decision to move residents was a result of staffing concerns caused by COVID-19.
WATCH | Take a tour of the St. Clair College SportsPlex field hospital:
“For us, it was what’s the best interest of our residents,” he said. “Where can we be assured they will get the care they need?”
While the facility is intended to provide treatment for people who have been diagnosed with coronavirus, one Toronto-area doctor said he was initially concerned about patients with other illnesses — specifically dementia.
Dr. Samir Sinha, director of geriatrics at Sinai Health System and the University Health Network, said has was worried because approximately 70 per cent of Ontarians living in long-term care homes have dementia, while 50 per cent of them have “responsive behaviours.”
After voicing his thoughts on Twitter, however, Sinha said he received a response within 20 minutes from Windsor Regional Hospital chief of staff Dr. Wassim Saad.
“[Saad] kindly walked me through what they were thinking,” Sinha said. “[Saad] assured me that they had actually been consulting with geriatricians like myself and helped clarify things that made me feel that this field hospital would be taking into account the needs of some of the frail, vulnerable people living in our long-term care homes.
Sinha said he’s “confident that my concerns have been heard and I’m confident that my concerns are being well thought of.”
COVID-19 in Sarnia-Lambton
The health unit in Sarnia-Lambton reported 148 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and 14 people have died from the disease. Another 54 people have recovered.
Bluewater Health hospital chief of staff Dr. Mike Haddad said 14 of his staff members have tested positive for COVID-19, though only four of them contracted the virus at work. The other 10 cases were contracted in the community.
Haddad said his facility saw its peak two weeks ago, when 32 people with COVID-19 were at the hospital and seven in the ICU.
Over the past few weeks, numbers have dwindled he said. But about half of those who were hospitalized in ICU over the course of the pandemic have died.
Haddad said it’s been particularly tough for patients who have not been able to see their loved ones, adding stress to an already devastating situation.
Two facilities in Lambton-Kent are currently under a COVID-19 outbreak.
As of Tuesday, Landmark Village retirement home has 34 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in staff and residents.
At Meadowview Villa long-term care, one staff member has tested positive, and health unit officials say they are monitoring the facility for any potential spread.
COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent
Chatham-Kent Pubic Health reported Sunday that 31 people in the region have tested positive for COVID-19. One person has died and 15 people have recovered.