By Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative
Chatham-Kent, with the provincial stay-at-home order looming, saw its active COVID-19 caseload drop by 13 on Wednesday, to 119.
CK Public Health reported 12 new cases of COVID-19 and 25 recoveries on Wednesday morning.
The new statistics bring the cumulative total up to 939.
The death toll sits at three and now six C-K individuals are currently hospitalized. Two non-C-K residents are also in hospital locally recovering from COVID.
This is the highest number of individuals Chatham-Kent has seen in the hospital for COVID-19 at once and according to the latest COVID-19 modelling presented by the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table on Tuesday, the situation will only get worse across the board.
“We are at a dangerous point. The number of cases in Ontario is growing between three per cent and five per cent almost every day. There are already more than 400 COVID-19 patients in our intensive care units and mortality in our long-term care homes is now on pace to exceed the tragedy of the first wave,” said Dr. Adalsteinn (Steini) Brown, co-chair of the advisory table.
Brown added that the number of ICU patients could grow up to 1,000 in a “severe but realistic” scenario. The advisory table predicts the daily mortality rate due to COVID-19 will double from around 50 deaths a day to around 100 by Valentine’s Day. This would far surpass the deaths seen in the first wave of the pandemic.
One quarter of hospitals are currently unable to accommodate more patients in their ICUs while another quarter only has two beds to spare.
Based on Tuesday’s figures, out of Ontario’s 35 public health units, Chatham-Kent ranks 14th for most active cases per 100,000 residents, according to the data. It also has the least cases compared to its four neighbouring counties.
Windsor-Essex topped the list with 323 active cases per 100,000 residents and Sarnia-Lambton has the second highest rate of active cases with 253. Chatham-Kent landed at a rate of 126 cases last week.
So far the new variant of COVID – officially called B-117 but known as the “U.K. variant” – has not been detected locally. Eight cases were found in the province on Tuesday.
Brown predicts that there will be much higher case counts, ICU occupancy and mortality if community transmission of B-117 occurs. In that scenario, the time it normally takes for cases to double would be cut by two-thirds.