The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has reported 31 new cases of COVID-19 today. Yesterday our region had 40 new cases, and on Monday there were 53 new cases. Of the new cases announced today, nine are related to outbreaks, 15 are from close contact with another confirmed case, five are considered community spread and two are under investigation. There have been 409 COVID-19 related deaths in our region and a total of 14,509 cases. There are currently 403 active cases, with 15 confirmed cases in the hospital, five of which are in the ICU. 13,697 cases have been listed as resolved, and 121,897 vaccines have been administered. Across the province today there were 4,156 new cases reported. Yesterday there were 3,670 cases, and on Monday there were 4,401 cases.
ADVOCATING FOR YOU IN THE LEGISLATURE
We have heard from constituents about Riverside and Forest Glade being identified by CBC News as "hot spot" postal codes that are currently not on the province's list for prioritization. Many essential workers live in these neighbourhoods, and we agree that essential workers need to be vaccinated as soon as possible, as they are more likely to contract the virus and spread it to their families. My colleague MPP Taras Natyshak rose in the Legislature to ask the Minister of Health about the seven postal codes that were identified by CBC News that have felt a greater impact from COVID-19, as measured by the province’s official criteria, but are not listed as hot spots by the provincial government. Windsor and Essex County have higher case counts, higher positivity rates, and higher hospitalizations than some of the other areas designated as hot spots. Today, our Leader of the Official Opposition, Andrea Horwath, wrote to the Auditor General to request a review of the data so that Ontarians are assured the vaccines are going where they are needed the most. We will continue to monitor this situation closely and provide any updates that we receive.
The Greater Essex County District School Board announced that their students will not be starting online learning until April 20 when they return from the spring break. On April 19, teachers at both the elementary and secondary level will be using the day to connect with their students to ensure they are ready for the following day and determine any technical needs and access to resources. You can read more here.
Schools in Windsor-Essex will share in a funding announcement by the federal and provincial governments to provide upgrades. The Greater Essex County District School Board will receive just over $15.5 million while the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board will receive just under $6 million. The funding is to be used to help schools make infrastructure upgrades to things like ventilation, installing water bottle refilling stations, network, and broadband infrastructure to support remote learning, and space reconfigurations such as new walls and doors to enhance physical distancing. It took the Government months to take action to improve safety in our schools, despite our repeated calls for them to act as quickly as possible. While today's announcement is a step in the right direction, it is too little, too late to make any meaningful difference for this school year. We continue to call for a cap on class sizes of 15 students, broad asymptomatic testing, prioritizing vaccines for teachers and education workers, and paid sick days so parents can stay home with their children if they are sick. You can read more on the funding announcement here.
Health Canada’s Chief Medical Adviser has said that there is a “very low risk” that some patients who receive the AstraZeneca vaccine will develop blood clotting, and that the risks of hospitalization and death from the virus are much greater. Dr. Sharma is encouraging anyone who is offered any approved vaccine to take it. You can read more here.
The Ontario Caregiver Organization (OCO) is launching a new website to help young caregivers aged 15-25. The new website was designed in collaboration with, and for, young caregivers and offers information and resources that address their unique needs. You can find the new website 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.