By Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative
Chatham-Kent’s cumulative COVID-19 cases reached 473 on Thursday afternoon after CK Public Health reported four new cases.
Thirty-three cases now remain active; one individual is hospitalized. The death toll sits at three.
There are currently three outbreaks declared for three separate workplaces.
One will not be disclosed as it has no contact with the public.
“I’m not ready to declare it over, but I believe that it is under control. So I have no worries or anxieties about it,” said Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s medical officer of health, at a press briefing on Thursday.
The remaining two outbreaks are at the KFC located at 720 Grand Ave. W., Chatham, and Taco Bell, 328 St. Clair St., Chatham.
Tim Hortons in Wallaceburg voluntarily closed down because a number of staff members are on “precautionary isolation” after coming in close contact with the KFC and Taco Bell cases. However, there is no outbreak at the Wallaceburg restaurant.
“I can’t tell you exactly what those connections are, but many food outlets are staffed by part time people, which make a living by working in several locations,” Colby said when asked how the restaurant cases were connected.
Meanwhile, the Freedom March is still planned for Saturday afternoon in Tecumseh Park, Chatham as part of a series of protests across the province objecting to the lockdown measures and mandatory mask bylaws.
It is unclear if the crowd will be dozens of people, hundreds or thousands, as protests across the province have ranged in attendance.
Chatham-Kent Police Chief Gary Conn said he is confident that the march will be peaceful based on demonstrations in other communities.
“There have been no substantiated risks or issues yet reported. If that should change from now until Saturday, then obviously we will have to revisit and adjust accordingly,” he said.
Conn said the police services board has been in consultation with the organizer of the event, as well as Colby, and the municipal bylaw department, to develop an operational plan for the demonstration.
“Obviously… I’m not at liberty to discuss the particulars surrounding the operational plan, but what I will say is that we will have ample resources for the projected crowd of people that may be potentially protesting on Saturday,” he said.