The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported 106 new high risk cases of COVID-19 today, along with the loss of a member of the community. Due to the changes in eligibility for testing and limited testing capacity, the rise of Omicron cases, and the shifted focus of case, contact, and outbreak management to high-risk settings, these case counts are an underestimate of the true numbers of individuals who have COVID-19 within Windsor-Essex County. The health unit defines high-risk cases as those coming from individuals who are eligible for PCR testing in accordance with Ontario's current testing guidance. From Saturday to Monday, there were 264 high risk cases of COVID-19 in our region.
There are now 300 active high risk cases in the area, with 46 confirmed cases in the hospital, including three in the ICU. There are six community outbreaks, one hospital outbreak, and nine outbreaks in long-term care/retirement homes. Locally, 86.4 per cent of individuals five and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine, 83.5 per cent have received two doses, and 51 per cent of residents 12 and over have received a booster.
Across the province today 1,991 new cases of COVID-19 were reported, but health officials warn this number is an underestimate due to testing restrictions. Yesterday there were 2,248 cases, and on Sunday there were 3,077 cases. Since the pandemic began, there have been 1,176,677 cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, and there are currently 1,091 people in the hospital with COVID-19, including 173 in ICUs. There has been a 38 per cent increase in hospitalizations across the province over the last seven days.
COVID-19 IN SCHOOLS
The President of OSSTF District 9 Education Staff says they are seeing levels of absenteeism among staff at an all-time high. He says it is disappointing that safety protocols were dropped over night instead of being phased out gradually. School boards are working hard to ensure everyone is safe, but there is a trickle-down effect when staff levels are impacted as they are now. Throughout the pandemic, my caucus colleagues and I have advocated for measures to protect students and staff, including reduced class sizes and school busloads, free rapid tests for all students, teachers, and staff, improved ventilation in all schools and regular on-site air quality testing, and free N95 masks for all teachers and education workers. We should be doing all we can to protect students and our education workers and ensure schools are safe. You can read more here.
RISING GAS PRICES
My caucus colleagues and I have called on the provincial government to address rising gas prices now, not in the summer. Last month, my colleague MPP Gilles Bisson introduced a private member’s bill on gas price regulation would give the Ontario Energy Board power to regulate the retail price and wholesale mark-up on petroleum products. This bill would regulate prices at the pump by setting a weekly price or daily maximum, with the goal of providing price certainty. We know that people need help now, not in four months.
RAPID ANTIGEN TESTS
Free rapid antigen tests continue to be available at select locations each week. Please remember to store your test kits out of the reach of children, as there have been reports of poisoning after accidental consumption. You can find participating grocery stores and pharmacies here.
The provincial Health Minister announced that the province plans to soon make fourth doses of the COVID-19 vaccine available to residents aged 60 and older. Fourth doses are already available to long-term care and retirement home residents, as well as those who are immunocompromised. The announcement is expected tomorrow. You can read more here.
There will be pop-up vaccination clinics at the following locations this week:
- Thursday April 7 – Consulate of Mexico in Leamington – 350 Hwy 77, Leamington – 2pm to 6pm
- Thursday April 7 – Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex – 245 Janette Ave, Windsor – 3pm to 6pm
- Friday April 8 – Adie Knox – 1551 Wyandotte St W, Windsor – 9am to 2:30pm