The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 41 new cases of COVID-19 in the region, along with the loss of two members of our community. The number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic is now 405. Currently, there are 404 active cases of COVID-19 in our region, bringing the total number of cases to 14,195. There are 19 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the hospital, with five in the ICU, 13, 386 cases listed as resolved, and a total of 105,133 vaccine doses have been administered. Across the province today there were 3,215 cases of COVID-19 reported. Yesterday there were 3,065 cases, and on Monday there were 2,938 cases.
Today, the Premier announced a province-wide stay-at-home order in an attempt to curb the rising COVID-19 case numbers. The order will take effect at 12:01am on Thursday morning and will last for four weeks. The provincial government has said that people should only be leaving their home for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store, pharmacy, outdoor exercise, or work for those who are not able to work from home. Specifically, this means:
- Limiting the majority of non-essential retailers to only operate for curbside pick-up and delivery between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., with delivery of goods to patrons permitted between 6:00 am and 9:00 pm, and other restrictions;
- Restricting access to shopping malls to limited specified purposes, including access for curbside pick-up and delivery, via appointment, with one single designated location inside the shopping mall, and any number of designated locations outside the shopping mall, along with other restrictions;
- Restricting discount and big box stores in-person retail sales to groceries, household cleaning supplies, pharmacy items (pharmaceutical, health care and personal care items, and pet care supplies) only;
- Permitting the following stores to operate for in-person retail by appointment only and subject to a 25 per cent capacity limit and restricting allowable hours of operation to 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.:
- Safety supply stores;
- Businesses that primarily sell, rent or repair assistive devices, aids or supplies, mobility devices, aids or supplies or medical devices, aids or supplies;
- Rental and leasing services including automobile, commercial and light industrial machinery and equipment rental;
- Optical stores that sell prescription eyewear to the public;
- Businesses that sell motor vehicles, boats and other watercraft;
- Vehicle and equipment repair and essential maintenance and vehicle and equipment rental services; and
- Retail stores operated by a telecommunications provider or service, which may only permit members of the public to enter the premises to purchase a cellphone or for repairs or technical support.
- Permitting outdoor garden centres and plant nurseries, and indoor greenhouses that engage in sales to the public, to operate with a 25 per cent capacity limit and a restriction on hours of operation.
Schools in Windsor-Essex will remain open at this time with strict measures in place for COVID-19 safety. You can read the government’s press release here.
ADVOCATING FOR YOU
Experts made it clear every step of the way that the Premier was reopening too quickly, taking away public health protections too soon, and implementing half-measures that would not stop the spread. It is wrong and dangerous that the Premier still refuses to invest in measures to protect these COVID heroes who are working on the frontlines and stop the spread in workplaces. We need to vaccinate ALL high-risk essential workers now, and we need paid sick days, on-site testing, in-workplace vaccine clinics and more. Today’s announcement about the stay-at-home order should have come with the direct financial support and compensation for businesses that have now been thrown deeper into crisis. But the Premier doesn’t want to spend the money. Hospitals and ICUs are in crisis, and every day more people are in a tragic fight for their lives. The provincial government must not spare any more effort or any more expense to get people through this, and put this nightmare behind us.
Health officials have reported that approximately 66% of Windsor-Essex residents who are 60 and older have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. At this time, the health unit has said appointment slots at the five local vaccination sites are fully booked through April 12, but they anticipate new slots to become available as early as tomorrow for residents who are eligible for a vaccine to book their shot. You can read more here.
The province announced mobile teams are being organized to administer vaccines in high-risk congregate settings, residential buildings, faith-based locations, and location occupied by large employers in hot spot neighbourhoods to individuals 18 or over. Pop-up clinics will also be set up in highly impacted neighbourhoods, including at faith-based locations and community centres in these hot spots, in collaboration with public health units and community organizations within the community. Yesterday, it was announced that certain postal code areas within Windsor-Essex will be included among the hot spot areas. To learn more, click here.
Dr. Ahmed, the local Medical Officer of Health, has urged all restaurants and personal care services to follow COVID-19 rules and guidelines, and that bylaw officers will be out to enforce them. Dr. Ahmed says the goal is to keep everyone safe and healthy, and businesses can face hefty fines if they aren’t complying. You can read more here.
Three public schools in our region have reported new cases of COVID-19, according to the Greater Essex County District School Board. The cases are at Lakeshore Discovery, Vincent Massey Secondary School, and Riverside Secondary School. The school board has notified all close contacts of the those affected and they are following the direction of the local health unit. You can find all current cases on the school board’s website here.
The provincial government announced that made-in-Ontario N95 respirators are now being shipped from the 3M plant in Brockville. About 700,000 masks are being shipped this week to health care, education and other public-sector institutions. 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.