The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 47 new COVID-19 cases today, and another community member sadly lost their life due to COVID-19. Yesterday, our region had 54 new cases, and on Sunday there were 65 cases. Since the beginning of the pandemic there have been 15,292 cases in our region and 414 deaths related to COVID-19. Of the new cases reported today, one is related to an outbreak, 25 are from close contact with another confirmed case, five are considered community spread, and 16 are under investigation. There are currently 452 active cases in our community, 20 confirmed cases in the hospital with five in the ICU, 14,426 cases listed as resolved, and 155,183 doses of the vaccine have been administered. Across the province today there were 3,265 cases reported. Yesterday there were 3,510 cases, and on Sunday there were 3,947 cases.
The local health unit has expanded its COVID-19 vaccine rollout at the mass vaccination sites. Starting today, the vaccine will be available to individuals 40 and over in identified hot spot postal code areas in Windsor-Essex. Dr. Ahmed said these hot spots constitute roughly 40 to 45 per cent of the entire population. The vaccine is also being offered to employees at licensed childcare settings and individuals with at-risk health conditions such as autoimmune disorders, stroke, diabetes, those diagnosed with a mental health or substance use disorder, and more. The full list of at-risk conditions can be found at www.wevax.ca. The hot spot postal codes are those beginning with N8H, N8X, N8Y, N9A, N9B, N9C, and N9Y. Vaccinations must be booked online at www.wevax.ca or by calling the booking hotline at 226-773-2200.
We continue to get lots of calls from constituents and are doing our best to seek clarifications from the WECHU regarding the new categories. We are also looking into updates for those who have been asking about the booking of second appointments and will update you when we have more information. Our office has been advised that the former Windsor Star Building site and the St Clair vaccination sites are operated through Windsor Regional Hospital while the WFCU Centre and Amherstburg sites are being operated through the WECHU. Some have reported that people have received their second dose - we are told by the Windsor Regional Hospital that the only ones they are booking new appointments for second doses right now are transplant recipients, cancer patients receiving chemo and indigenous individuals living on reserves. The Health Unit advises that they are currently not booking second doses. This has been consistent with the recommendation of NACI which has indicated the vaccine can be delayed for up to 16 weeks. We are trying to get clarifications as we know many of you are concerned about the delays in getting the second dose.
A new community-based volunteer group in Windsor-Essex is helping the public find COVID-19 vaccines. WindsorVax Finders says they will provide all available appointment times at mass vaccination sites on their social media pages, along with availability at local pharmacies offering the vaccine. You can learn more here.
PAID SICK DAYS
Essential workers are still waiting for paid sick days that the Premier promised last week. Every day of delay means more suffering, more infections and more families devastated by COVID-19. Reports of the provincial government trying to stick with a federal program that has already failed to save workers and stop the spread of the virus is not the answer – it is not paid sick days. Simply contributing to the federal program will solve none of the problems workers are currently facing. Access to paid sick days for essential workers must be immediate, seamless and without barriers. We continue to call on the provincial government to pass Bill 239, the Stay Home If You Are Sick Act, to give workers access to 14 paid sick days during a pandemic, on top of permanent paid sick days which would be embedded in labour law. The Premier and his government need to do the responsible thing and immediately implement paid sick days for Ontario workers to save lives.
POTENTIAL EXPOSURE ALERT
A new public exposure notification has been issued by the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit. To learn more, please click 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.