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For Immediate Release
Friday, January 21, 2022 | 6:15 p.m. | Windsor and Essex County

Dashboard Changes are in Response to Provincial Testing Eligibility

On Monday afternoon, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) will update the information reported on their COVID-19 Local Data webpage, in response to recent changes in COVID-19 testing eligibility. As announced in late December, the Ontario government has made significant changes to the eligibility for publicly funded Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing, in order to ensure testing is available for individuals who work in or attend highest risk settings.

Publicly funded PCR testing is now limited to symptomatic high-risk individuals, and individuals who work in high-risk settings. This change came into effect on December 31, 2021 and as a result, positive cases confirmed by PCR testing is an underestimate of the true number of individuals with COVID-19 in the community. To address this, the WECHU is implementing the following changes to the COVID-19 Local Data webpage

  • Reporting of cases limited to 'high-risk cases', and only active and new cases.
  • Reporting of confirmed and suspect COVID-19 hospitalizations.
  • Reporting of local wastewater surveillance data.
  • Reporting of new outbreaks is limited to high-risk settings such as long-term care homes, retirement homes, hospitals, and congregate living settings.
  • Inclusion of historical outbreaks across all settings beginning from September 1, 2020. Outbreaks prior to September 1, 2020 will be added after a thorough review.
  • Differentiating between data from before and after the change in testing eligibility on all existing graphs for testing and cases over time, as the time periods are not comparable.
  • Discontinued reporting any Variants of Concern (as Omicron is the dominant variant, and only a small number of PCR tests will be screened for Omicron).
  • Discontinued reporting cases by age, source of acquisition, geography, and status of vaccinations, as high-risk cases only represent a segment of the population.
  • Discontinued reporting of daily effective reproduction number and case doubling-time related to COVID-19.

Going forward, the COVID-19 website and email updates will be shared at 12:00 noon on weekdays. On Thursday, January 27, 2022, the WECHU will provide an overview of the new and updated information found on the dashboard to the media at 8:30 a.m.

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