Here are the highlights from today pertaining to COVID-19 in our region, our province, and across the country.
Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau provided an update on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), although details of exactly how these funds will be administered are still being worked out. Morneau noted that applications will be taken through a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) portal, which will be launched on April 6th. At this point, it appears eligible businesses will apply through the portal to claim up to 75% of each employee’s pay. A condition of this funding will be that the business will have to attest that it is doing everything possible to pay the remaining 25%. Once approved, the funds will be available in approximately six weeks. Businesses will have to show that they have paid their employees before the money flows. The program will be in place for three months – March, April and May, retroactive to March 15. Businesses will need to re-apply to the program each month.
Last night, the Solicitor General advised the public that under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, the public will now be required to identify themselves to law enforcement when asked, and they could be charged with breaking an emergency order during the COVID-19 outbreak. According to the release, failing to correctly identify oneself carries a fine of $750. A fine of $1,000 is possible for anyone obstructing any person in exercising a power if a provincial offences officer issues a ticket. You can read the news release here.
Premier Ford announced that the government will invest $50 million in the Ontario Together Fund to help factories retool their production lines to make the supplies needed. In addition, Ford announced that the government has placed an order with O2 Technologies for 10,000 made-in-Ontario ventilators.
The City of Windsor also released new guidelines for garbage and recycling disposal in Windsor. Details are available here.
This afternoon, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) is reporting its first confirmed cases of COVID-19 in local long-term care facilities. There are currently two confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the staff population of Country Village Homes in Woodslee, and one confirmed case of COVID-19 within the staff population of AMICA in Windsor. The WECHU Environmental Health staff continue to work with our long-term care facilities and retirement homes to provide guidance for infection prevention and control. The facilities have implemented outbreak management protocols, and all residents and staff have been notified. Staff continue to wear appropriate personal protective equipment for the safe care of individuals. I would like to extend my utmost gratitude to all the staff working in long-term care facilities. I hope you all stay safe and continue to provide excellent care.
Very sadly, Windsor-Essex has reported its first death as a result of COVID-19. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the loved ones who are reeling from this tragic loss.
The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Windsor-Essex has now risen to 92.
As always, please remember to practice social distancing, self-isolate as much as possible, and wash your hands frequently.