The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 41 new cases of COVID-19 today, and 126 over the last three days. Of these 126 cases, 21 are from close contact from another confirmed case, six are considered community spread, and 99 are under investigation. There are now 433 active cases in our community, 116 of those are cases with a variant of the virus, a total of 14,154 cases have been reported since the beginning of the pandemic, 19 people are in the hospital with five in the ICU, 13,318 cases have been listed as resolved, 102,446 doses of the vaccine have been administered, and there have been 403 deaths. Across the province today there were 3,065 new cases reported. Yesterday there were 2,938 cases, on Sunday there were 3,041 cases, on Saturday there were 3,009 cases, and on Friday there were 3,089 cases.
Our local health unit has announced that COVID-19 vaccination appointments are completely booked until April 12 and has suspended booking new vaccine appointments for the time being, pending further direction from the province.
The provincial government announced today that the province will be moving into Phase 2 of the vaccination plan. The plan remains age-focused while also prioritizing those living or working in high-risk congregate settings, individuals with high-risk chronic conditions (and their caregivers), those who cannot work from home, and at-risk populations. Windsor-Essex is one of the 13 public health units included in the “hot spot” roll out areas. You can read the full details here. The current plan is to vaccinate frontline essential workers in May - June. We are calling for the Government to vaccinate frontline essential workers now. They have supported us all throughout the pandemic, and they need the support from the Government to keep them safe.
To prevent further school closures, our caucus is calling for teachers and education workers to be prioritized to receive the vaccine and use the upcoming April spring break to make other upgrades to classrooms to keep our kids, teachers, and education workers safe. We also continue to call for smaller class sizes, capped at 15 students, and paid sick days so parents can stay home with their kids if they are sick. We need to do everything that we can to ensure that schools are safe for students and teachers and to end the cycle of school closures.
Dr. Ahmed, our local Medical Officer of Health, has said that he would consider a Section 22 order to close schools locally due to COVID-19 if it has to happen again. Dr. Ahmed issued a Section 22 order in December, one week before the winter break, as case numbers in schools rose steadily. Schools in Toronto and Peel made the decision to close schools after the Easter long weekend, and Dr. Ahmed says the staff at our local health unit are monitoring our local data carefully, but we are not at that point yet in our region. You can read more here.
A case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Monseigneur Augustin Caron French elementary school in Lasalle, with one class isolating. The Greater Essex County District School Board also announced they are dealing with cases of COVID-19 at seven schools between April 1 and April 4. The schools are Centennial Central, David Suzuki, Jack Miner, King Edward, Sandwich West, General Amherst, and Sandwich Secondary. The Windsor-Essex Catholic School Board announced eight cases over the weekend, resulting in 184 students being asked to stay home. The school boards have notified close contacts and are following the direction of the local health unit.
Today, the Premier said he may be announcing further public health restrictions as soon as tomorrow. The Premier cited Toronto, York, and Peel as the three problem areas that will be the focal point of these restrictions, as these areas represent 60 per cent of the COVID cases in the province. You can read more 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.