The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 93 new cases of COVID-19 today. Yesterday there were 31 cases, and on Tuesday there were 40 cases. Of the new cases announced today, one is outbreak related, 36 are from close contact with another confirmed case, 28 are considered community spread, one is travel related to Michigan, and 27 are under investigation. Since the beginning of the pandemic our region has had a total of 14,602 cases, and 409 people have died. There are currently 452 active cases in the region, with 28 per cent of those being variants of concern. There are 19 cases in the hospital, with four in the ICU, 13,741 cases listed as resolved, and 124,594 doses of the vaccine have been administered. Across the province today there were 4,736 cases reported, the most ever in a single day. Yesterday there were 4,156 cases, and on Tuesday there were 3,670 cases.
PREPARING FOR THE NEXT HOSPITAL CRISIS
After ignoring the warning signs, hospitals are now in crisis. While our region has worked hard to stem the spread of COVID-19, we cannot be complacent. As hospitals and ICUs are overwhelmed in other regions, our hospitals are preparing for transfers from these regions. There are 1,932 people with COVID-19 in hospitals across the Province, with 659 of those people in the ICU (442 of which require a ventilator to breathe). The Government’s plan to open up hundreds of additional ICU beds in the coming days and weeks is insufficient. Health Care providers have already said they need the people to staff these beds.
Part of the Government’s plan is asking Long Term Care Homes to safely admit or readmit hospitalized patients waiting for space. Despite our caucus calling on the Government to address the systemic issues facing our long-term care homes and the staffing issues they face, the Government wants to complete up to 1,500 transfers from hospitals to a long-term care facility. This is no plan. You can read more here.
The provincial government has announced they are providing emergency childcare to designated health care and critical front-line workers, beginning Monday April 19. The list of eligible workers and more details can be found here. However, more needs to be done to protect our workers. Providing childcare, without addressing paid sick days, financial supports for struggling families and educators, and workplace testing are all missing from the plan to stop the spread of COVID.
Many of you have contacted us regarding the reports that 6,014 vaccines were administered by pharmacies and the public health unit to people residing outside of the area serviced by the Windsor-Essex Public Health Unit. My office began addressing this issue with the Government as early as March 12, 2021, and raising these concerns. The Ministry responded that Ontarians should get their vaccination within their public health region to help manage vaccine allocations. They strongly encouraged pharmacies administering the vaccine to ensure residents live in their public health unit. They said they were working with the pharmacies to ensure everyone who qualifies can get their vaccine, recognizing limited supply. A number of you had contacted my office to say that you followed the rules, only to be told there was no vaccine available for your appointment. This is unacceptable, and shows the lack of clear direction and guidance by the Government. By not ensuring the vaccine was available to these other regions, it ignores public health advice that we should not be travelling between regions as it posed a public health issue related to the spread of variants of concern between regions.
The Federal Government also must do better. A shipment of 448,400 doses of the Moderna vaccines that was scheduled to arrive next week is delayed. The province says they are now expected to arrive May at the earliest. We have been told that we are only projected to receive 10,500 doses of the Pfizer vaccine per week until the end of May. The Federal Government has to do better at acquiring sufficient doses, and the Province has to ensure the doses are distributed equitably. We are looking closely at the reports by the CBC that suggest there are certain ridings not meeting the criteria for postal code hot spots being given preference while leaving out others that appear to meet the criteria. The Government’s confusing announcements have only added to the confusion as we continue to not have the resources to address the issues and shows a lack of a clear plan. Our region deserves better.
Windsor Regional Hospital will be keeping the COVID-19 testing centre at Met Campus open an additional day this week. The centre at Met will remain open tomorrow by appointment only. The testing centre at Ouellette Campus continues to operate daily from 8am to 3pm. You can find more information here.
RESOURCES FOR NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS
Non-profit organizations can now apply for the Resilient Communities Fund, which provides grants up to $150,000 to eligible non-profit organization to cover a broad range of needs, such as mental and physical health and wellbeing supports for staff and volunteers, support to adapt or reimagine program delivery and services, and renovations and facility updates. The program is offered through the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and more information, including how to apply, can be found 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.