The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has announced 53 new COVID-19 cases today. On Sunday there were 36 new cases, and on Saturday there were 45 new cases. Of the new cases announced today, 18 are from close contact with another confirmed case, 13 are considered community spread, and 21 are under investigation. There have been 407 COVID-19 related deaths in our region since the beginning of the pandemic, and our region has seen a total of 14,438 cases. 424 of those cases are considered active, with six confirmed cases in the hospital and five in the ICU. 13,607 cases have been listed as resolved, and a total of 117,385 doses of the vaccine have been administered. Across the province today there were 4,401 cases of COVID-19 reported, the second most in a single day since the beginning of the pandemic. Yesterday there were 4,456 cases, and on Saturday there were 3,813 cases.
Despite the Minister of Education saying last week that schools would remain open after the spring break this week, it was announced today by the Premier that students will be learning remotely for at least two weeks when they return to class next week. You can read the government’s press release here.
Over the course of the pandemic, I have heard from many constituents about how remote learning isn’t working, the impact it has had on students and families, and of the financial struggles parents are facing from added expenses associated with remote learning. Parents are expected to figure out childcare while still providing for their families, a reality that is just not realistic for many parents that work frontline jobs. Many families do not have the proper access to the technology required to participate in online class sessions. Children are having difficulties paying attention to a screen for hours on end. Our caucus has been calling for the provincial government to implement a cap on class sizes at 15 students, for upgrades in schools like better ventilation and touchless faucets, robust on-site testing, paid sick leave so that parents can stay home with their children if they are sick, for teachers and education workers to be prioritized for the vaccine, and for paid time off to get a vaccine. These investments are necessary to keep our children and educators safe, and to ensure that in-class learning can continue.
A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at St. John Vianney Catholic Elementary School as another positive case has been confirmed in one of two cohorts that was dismissed last week. The case is limited to the cohort that was already dismissed and all other students and staff are deemed low-risk. Those affected have been notified.
Today during Question Period in the Legislature, my colleague MPP Natyshak questioned the Government on when Windsor-Essex, who has seen higher case counts, higher positivity rates and higher hospitalizations than some of the Premier’s other hot spot areas, can expect to receive additional support from the Province. Last year we saw the Premier and his Cabinet refuse to support our region and case counts and outbreaks spiked. We had some of the worst numbers in the province. We need this government to provide more vaccines for hot spots in our region, so we don’t have a repeat of last year.
COVID-19 vaccines will start to be offered to 200 migrant farm workers arriving in Toronto today through a pilot project. The doses of the Moderna vaccine will be offered after workers pass through customs and take a mandatory COVID-19 test. Second doses will be available through the local public health units where the individuals are working. You can read more here.
COMMUNITY EXPOSURE POINTS
The local health unit has updated their list with possible exposure points in our community. You can find that list here, along with the dates and times of possible exposure.
IMPORTANCE OF FOLLOWING PUBLIC HEALTH GUIDELINES
Dr. Ahmed, our region’s Medical Officer of Health, has asked for residents to remain on high alert and to continue to do their part to contain the cases of COVID-19 locally. He said, “with the stay at home order in place and shutdown, this is a great opportunity for us to turn things around and bring our case counts to a level that will allow us to reopen in a less restrictive zone for the reopening.”
A team of Windsor researchers are working on a made-in-Canada device as a possible replacement to the traditional ventilator. Called the Canada Hood, this helmet-like device goes over the patients head, seals at the neck and transparent. Tubes bring oxygen in and filter out carbon dioxide. You can read more here.
The Tecumseh skate park has new rules that will restrict the number of people allowed to skate at the same time to 10 people with a 30-minute time limit. The skate park has also now been fenced in, and open Monday to Friday from 11am to 8pm and Saturday and Sunday from 8am to 8pm. Staff will be on-site to log contact information. You can read more here.
Please stay diligent and continue following public health advice by staying at home, only going out for essential trips, wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing of 2 metres apart at all times when around others who live outside your household, and washing your hands frequently.