The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has announced 155 new high risk COVID-19 cases today. 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. Yesterday there were 106 cases, and from Saturday to Monday there were 264 cases.
There are now 394 active high risk cases of COVID-19 in the area, with 47 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the hospital, including two in the ICU. There are currently five community outbreaks, one hospital outbreak, and 10 outbreaks in long-term care/retirement homes. Locally, 86.4 per cent of individuals aged five and over have received one dose of the vaccine, 83.5 per cent have received two doses, and 51.1 per cent of residents over 12 have received their booster.
Across the province today there were 3,444 new cases of COVID-19, but health officials warn this number is an underestimate due to testing restrictions. Yesterday there were 1,991, and on Monday there were 2,248. Since the pandemic began, there have been 1,180,121 cases of COVID-19 across Ontario, and there are currently 1,074 people in hospitals across the province, and 173 in ICUs.
ADVOCATING FOR LOCAL BUSINESSES
Today in a Member Statement to the Ontario Legislature, I raised the issue of the Ontario government not helping to pay the costs of the bridge blockade in Windsor. Ottawa was held hostage while protestors were demanding the overthrow of the federal government – that occupation started in late January and lasted more than three weeks. Some of these demonstrators blockaded the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor and Detroit for a week. That illegal blockade shut down international trade over the Ambassador Bridge at a cost of more than $300 million a day – manufacturing plants were shut down, parts suppliers were shuttered, workers sent home, and businesses in the area of the bridge lost their customers. Now, Windsor taxpayers are on the hook for $5.7 million – the cost of dealing with the people breaking the law during that illegal blockade. Ottawa has put more than $2 million on the table to help the small business community affected during the bridge protest where store owners can apply for up to $10,000. The Feds did the same for businesses in Ottawa, and Ontario said they would match half of that, up to $5,000. But, despite repeated requests, Ontario has yet to announce any money for the losses in Windsor. Windsor taxpayers are on the hook for more than $5.5 million. Our small business community is out more than $2 million. When will Ontario step up, do the right thing, and help pay some of the bills in Windsor?
ADVOCATING FOR HEALTH CARE
A new report from the Financial Accountability Officer released today shows that Ontario is spending less on health care per person than any other jurisdiction in Canada. In Ontario, people wait for hours in pain in the emergency room. They wait weeks for an appointment with a family doctor. And the wait for surgery now is months, or even years long. In rural, First Nations and Northern communities, people often have to travel for hours to get the care they need. We have the fewest hospital beds per person, and the fewest Registered Nurses per person. Healthcare is broken because government after government doesn’t want to invest in it. We need to invest in public, universal health care to make sure we deliver the best health care in the world, right here in Ontario. You can read the FAO report here.
FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR TOURISM SECTOR
The federal government has announced that the Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation, which includes Windsor-Essex, will be receiving $7 million. The funds will be distributed through non-repayable contributions of up to $100,000 to southern Ontario tourism-oriented businesses and organizations to innovate and invest in new and enhanced tourism experiences to attract visitors. More information and to apply can be done on the federal government website here.
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.
Starting tomorrow, Ontarians 60 and up, as well as all Indigenous residents and their non-Indigenous household members aged 18 and older, will be able to book their second booster shot. The recommended interval for a second booster dose is five months after a person’s last booster. You can read more here.
There will be pop-up vaccination clinics at the following locations this week:
- Friday April 8 – Adie Knox – 1551 Wyandotte St W, Windsor – 9am to 2:30pm
- Friday April 8 – Windsor Water World – 400 Wyandotte St E, Windsor – 9am to 4pm