The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported 44 new COVID-19 cases today. Yesterday there were 36 new cases, and on Sunday, there were 54 new cases. Out of the 44 cases reported today, 10 are a result of close contact with a confirmed case, 6 are from community spread, 2 are travel related, and 26 cases remain under investigation. There are currently 287 active cases in our region, with 84 of those cases being variants of concern. There are 7 confirmed cases in the hospital, with 6 individuals receiving acute care and 1 individual being in the ICU. In our region, 77.5 percent of those 12 years of age and older have received one dose, and 69.9 percent of those 12 years of age and older have received both doses. Across the province today, there were 348 new cases of COVID-19 reported. Yesterday, there were 526 cases, and on Sunday, there were 511 cases.
As a result of the rising case numbers, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore, announced that Ontario will pause moving from Stage 3 of the Government’s Roadmap to Reopen plan until further notice.
IMPORTANT UPDATES ABOUT VACCINE ELIGIBILITY
Certain individuals will soon be eligible to receive a third booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine for additional protection against the Delta variant. The list of eligible individuals includes the following:
- Transplant recipients (including solid organ transplant and hematopoietic stem cell transplants);
- Patients with hematological cancers (examples include lymphoma, myeloma, leukemia) on active treatment (chemotherapy, targeted therapies, immunotherapy);
- Recipients of an anti-CD20 agent (e.g. rituximab, ocrelizumab, ofatumumab); and
- Residents of high-risk congregate settings including long-term care homes, higher-risk licensed retirement homes and First Nations elder care lodges.
The timing and location of the third doses have yet to be determined and will vary by public health units and high-risk populations.
As of Wednesday, August 18, 2021, the Province is also extending eligibility of the Pfizer vaccine to children born in 2009 and who will be turning 12 this year.
As always, I will continue to provide updates when further information becomes available.
NEW VACCINE POLICY FOR WORKERS IN HIGH-RISK SETTINGS
The Ontario Government announced today that hospitals and home and community care providers will be required to have a COVID-19 vaccine policy for staff, students, volunteers, ambulance services, and contractors. This means that, at minimum, the policy will require individuals to provide proof of one of three things:
- Full vaccination against COVID-19;
- A medical reason for not being vaccinated against COVID-19; or
- Completion of a COVID-19 vaccination educational session.
The policy must be in place no later than September 7, 2021. Workers who do not provide proof of vaccination are required to undergo regular antigen testing.
The Minister of Education also intends to implement a similar policy for education workers in publicly funded school boards, workers in licensed child care settings, and private school staff. The Government will also be putting in vaccination policies in the following settings:
-Licensed retirement homes;
-Women’s shelters; and
-Congregate group homes and day programs for adults with developmental disabilities, children’s treatment centres and other services for children with special needs, and licensed children’s residential settings.
The Government’s announcement is a risky half-measure. A test just once per week is not the same as a mandatory vaccine. On top of that, the Government is still refusing to implement a vaccine certificate program, which is absolutely critical to protect people’s health, protect our progress, and keep non-essential businesses safely running.
REQUESTING VACCINE RECEIPTS
If you are seeking proof of vaccination, your receipt can be downloaded or printed through the provincial portal: https://covid19.ontariohealth.ca/. You will require your OHIP number and an email address to use the portal. Alternatively, you can call 1-833-943-3900 to request a copy of your vaccination receipt.
Please continue to stay safe and follow public health guidelines.