Epidemiology and Evaluation Department
COVID-19 Surveillance and Epidemiology – February, 2022
The Epidemiology & Evaluation department conducts on-going population health assessment and surveillance. The data and surveillance for COVID-19 plays an integral role in understanding and managing the pandemic locally. The evidence provides information on how the pandemic has and is evolving, assessing the risk and severity, and assists in the development of timely interventions to limit further spread in the community.
Due to the recent surge in Omicron cases and changes in eligibility for testing, testing capacity is limited and case, contact, and outbreak management has been modified to focus on high-risk settings. As a result, case counts in the report are an underestimate of the true number of individuals with COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex County and may impact data completeness. Please interpret these data accordingly. Due to these changes, data from before December 31, 2021 should not be compared to data after the testing changes.
In the month of February, the health unit reported 2,751 confirmed high-risk cases of COVID-19. As the weeks progressed in February, the weekly high-risk incidence rate decreased from 228.1 cases per 100,000 population (Week 5) to 130.3 cases per 100,000 population (Week 8).
In-Patient and ICU Admissions
In February, in-patient COVID-19 hospitalizations continued to decrease in Windsor-Essex County up until the third week of the month. Since then, COVID-19 related hospitalizations has started to trend upwards. However, COVID-19 related ICU admissions has continued to decline throughout the month of February.
Locally, Windsor-Essex County continued to experience a week-over-week decline in percent positivity in February. As the month drew to a close, the local percent positivity rate for COVID-19 stabilized to approximately 13.6% in the last week of the month. It is also important to note that these were for high-risk individuals that were eligible for testing.
For the month of February, viral signal for COVID-19 in wastewater declined from levels experienced in the previous month. Current levels are beginning to reach levels observed prior to onset of the recent Omicron wave in December 2021.
In the month of February, 24 outbreaks were declared in high-risk settings. In comparison, 105 outbreaks were declared in January (a 77% decline in February). This includes nine outbreaks in long-term care and retirement homes, two in hospital settings, five in the agriculture sector and eight in other congregate settings. As of February 28, 2022, there were 20 active outbreaks in comparison to 77 active outbreaks at the end of January.
For the month of February 2022, 29 deaths were reported that were attributed to COVID-19. This represents a 45% decline in comparison to the deaths reported in January.
With the changes in testing eligibility, and guidance with case, contact and outbreak management, the health unit has modified its public reporting to better understand the burden of illness locally. New indicators, such as wastewater data, have been included as a proxy indicator for COVID-19 case counts, which are underestimated. The health unit will continue to monitor and provide epidemiological expertise on COVID-19 to internal leadership, community partners, and residents to support evidence-informed decision-making. This includes daily epidemiological updates, weekly epidemiological presentations to the community and supporting policy decisions through data driven approaches.