The Premier announced today that there will be a province-wide lockdown for 28 days to help curb the spread of COVID-19. The new lockdown will go into effect on Saturday April 3 at 12:01 a.m. The new restrictions under this lockdown include:
- Prohibiting indoor organized public events and social gatherings, and limiting the capacity for outdoor gatherings to a five-person maximum — except for gatherings with members of the same household, or gatherings of members of one household and one other person who lives alone.
- Limits on in-person shopping: a 50 per cent capacity limit for supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, indoor farmers' markets, other stores that primarily sell food and pharmacies; and a 25 per cent limit for all other retail including big box stores.
- No personal care services.
- No indoor and outdoor dining. Take out, delivery and drive-thru options are allowed.
- Prohibiting the use of facilities for indoor or outdoor sports and recreational fitness, with very limited exceptions.
- The closure of day camps.
- Limiting capacity at weddings, funerals, and religious services to 15 per cent occupancy per room indoors, and to the number of people who can maintain two metres of physical distance outdoors. This does not include social gatherings associated with these services such as receptions, which are not permitted indoors and are limited to five people outdoors.
Full details can be found here: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/zones-and-restrictions
I released a statement today along with my colleagues MPP Lisa Gretzky and MPP Taras Natyshak in response to the news of Ontario being locked down for another 28 days, as the provincial government eased restrictions too quickly and walked us into the third wave – something that could have been prevented and we saw coming a mile away. Health experts warned this government of the rising number of cases and deadlier variants, but instead of listening to them, the Premier said everything was ‘rosy’ and loosened restrictions. Our local businesses are struggling as it is, and this government is only making it harder for them to stay alive during this pandemic. They need real, meaningful financial help to get through this pandemic, and for this government to stop implementing reactionary, half measures that fall short of providing any real support. Local people in Windsor-Essex are not only struggling financially, they are also feeling the effects of prolonged isolation. People have been struggling to get by for over a year and this government refuse to provide any real supports. It’s bad enough that people are struggling to pay the bills, but their mental health is also suffering from being separated from their families and loved ones. Our hearts go out to everyone who has been let down and hurt by the actions of this government, including those in congregate care settings. We need to pass MPP Gretzky’s More Than Just A Visitor Act and ensure congregate care residents have meaningful access to their essential caregivers and help them get through this third wave lockdown. This government has failed not only the community of Windsor-Essex, but all Ontarians, with this cycle of lockdowns and re-opening. We have public health measures that fall short of what experts have called for, and it has led us here. Now we need to implement a comprehensive plan to ensure our essential workers are vaccinated so they can continue being the heroes they are on the frontlines. This means testing in essential workplaces, paid time off to get vaccines, and paid sick days so workers don’t have to choose between a paycheque and staying home when they’re sick.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 37 new COVID-19 cases today. Of the new cases, two are related to outbreaks, 17 are from close contact with another confirmed case, five are considered community spread, and 13 are under investigation. Our region now has 337 active cases in the community, bringing the total number to 13,928 cases, 14 confirmed cases in the hospital with four in the ICU, 13,188 cases listed as resolved, 93,640 doses of the vaccine have been administered, and 403 deaths. Across the province today there were 2,557 cases of COVID-19 today. Yesterday there were 2,333 cases and on Tuesday there were 2,336 cases.
The provincial government announced today that it is lowering the age of people who can book an AstraZeneca vaccine shot at a pharmacy to 55 years old. They also announced that they would be expanding the pharmacy vaccination program to 350 more locations across Ontario. You can read more here.
The 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine that Canada is receiving from the U.S. as part of a loan agreement have been approved by Health Canada and can now be administered. Canada has purchased 20 million AstraZeneca doses coming from the U.S., another 2 million is being sent from the Serum Institute in India, and another 1.9 million from COVAX, the global vaccine sharing network. You can read more here.
Ontario’s science advisory table has said that according to new modelling, Ontario will need to implement stay-at-home orders and administer more vaccines to curb the spread of COVID-19 and its variants in the third wave. Variants of the virus are largely driving the third wave and the science table says they bring a 103 per cent increased risk of ending up in the ICU and a 56 per cent increased risk of death. You can read more here.
Local health officials have said that our vaccination efforts locally have been instrumental in helping to keep Windsor-Essex from experiencing the severe effects of the third wave, but that it could also be a bubble and our region is a few weeks behind from seeing what the rest of the province is experiencing – as was the case in the first two waves. Dr. Saad, the Chief of Staff for Windsor Regional Hospital, has said that his staff have learned how unpredictable the pandemic can be and they aren’t letting their guard down. You can read more here.
The COVID-19 outbreak at the Downtown Mission that was declared in February has been lifted according to the local health unit. The mission continues to follow all public health safety measures and restrictions. There were as many as 94 confirmed cases associated with this outbreak. You can read more here.
Our office will be closed from Friday April 2 and reopening on Tuesday April 6 for the Easter long weekend. 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.