By Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism initiative
A Chatham-Kent male in his 50s, who had been hospitalized at Erie Shores hospital in Leamington, died of COVID-19 this week, CK Public Health officials said.
In addition, a Fairfield Park long-term care resident who had previously tested positive COVID-19 also passed away. Health officials said COVID was not the cause of death.
Chatham-Kent’s COVID-19 death toll now sits at nine individuals but it still maintains one of the lowest death rates in the province.
On a positive note, CK Public Health reported 13 recoveries on Wednesday morning and only three new cases. The active total has dropped to 38 while the cumulative now sits at 1,333.
Two of the new cases come from the Fairfield Park outbreak which to date has seen 100 individuals contract COVID-19. Another individual in the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance Medicine Unit A/B tested positive for COVID-19, bringing its outbreak total to 23.
This past Friday, the Ontario government placed Chatham-Kent in the Red Zone because of its high incidence rate. The COVID-19 indicators will be re-evaluated by the province every two weeks using each regions’ local public health data.
Jeff Moco, spokesperson for CK Public Health, said since last week, cases within Chatham-Kent’s general population have gone down significantly.
Only a “small handful” of new cases in the past few weeks were not related to any outbreak.
“Our cases per 100,000 dropped quite a bit and can see us moving in the right direction,” he said.
In order for Chatham-Kent to move up to the Orange Zone it would need to see a weekly incidence rate (occurrence of new cases) of 25 to 39.9 residents per 100,000.
The percentage of residents testing positive has to be between 1.3 to 2.4 per cent. The main changes from Red to Orange are that restaurants, cinemas, casinos, event venues, and gyms (with exception of exercise classes) would be able to increase their intake to 50 clients.
Under the Yellow Zone, a step improved from Orange, restaurants would no longer have a limit on the amount of customers coming into their establishments so long as they maintain a two-metre distance per table with no more than six individuals seated together. Serving hours also extend to 11 p.m.
To enter the Yellow Zone, Chatham-Kent must see a weekly incidence rate of 10 to 24.9 per 100,000 individuals.