Emergency orders have been extended until May 6th. This means that non-essential businesses, recreational facilities, and playgrounds must remain closed. Restaurants and bars are only allowed to provide curbside or delivery services. Social gatherings of more than five people are banned, and staff at long-term care and retirement homes are only allowed to work at one facility. Also, time-of-use hydro pricing is extended until at least May 6.
Children, Community and Social Services Minister, Todd Smith, provided details on the province’s “COVID-19 Action Plan for Vulnerable Populations,” which builds on previous efforts to protect congregated residential settings. In addition to long-term care facilities, Smith cited homes that serve those with developmental disabilities, shelters for survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking, homeless shelters, children and youth residential centres, and Indigenous communities.
Enhanced measures that will be implemented in the coming days include:
- Increased screening of visitors, staff and residents.
- Mandating masks in high-risk settings.
- Providing additional personal protective equipment and training to use it.
- Limiting staff to one employer in certain high-risk settings.
- More training and education on how to address an outbreak.
- Maintaining staffing levels and managing staff shortages.
The Ontario government reiterated their commitment to enhancing both contact tracing and widespread testing at 14,000 tests a day.
Trudeau announced $1.1 billion for a national medical and research strategy related to COVID-19, on top of the $275 million in research funding announced in March.
Investments announced today include:
- $115 million for research into vaccines and treatments under development in hospitals and universities across Canada;
- $662 million to support clinical trials of vaccines and treatments in Canada; and
- $350 million to expand national testing and modelling.
The Prime Minister noted that the country is now carrying out over 20,000 COVID-19 tests daily, almost double from where we were at the start of April, but said this must be expanded further before restrictions can be safely lifted.
The Prime Minister also announced the launch of the COVID-19 Immunity Taskforce featuring leading health experts that will be overseeing efforts to pursue blood tests that will track immunity to the coronavirus. He committed to testing at least one million Canadians in the next two years.
Windsor Regional Hospital is compiling a list of volunteers to help out at long-term care homes and retirement homes. You can read the news article here.
If you are a business owner involved in the local tourism sector, Tourism Windsor-Essex Pelee Island has put together a webpage of resources and information that you may find helpful. Click here to learn more.
The 311 and 211 phone systems are being upgraded over the next week, so phone lines may be busy. They suggest that if you get a busy signal to email 311 at firstname.lastname@example.org and 211 at email@example.com. You can also text 311.
One more person has died due to COVID-19, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit announced. As of Thursday morning, Windsor-Essex has 525 confirmed cases. Of those, 116 people have recovered.
Remember to continue practicing social distancing, wash your hands, and take care of yourselves.