The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 70 new COVID-19 cases today, along with one additional death which has come from the community. Our region now has a total of 406 COVID-19 related deaths. Of the new confirmed cases, 13 are from close contact with another confirmed case, nine are considered community spread, and 48 are under investigation. Our region now has 420 active cases, of which 104 cases are variants of concern, and our total since the beginning of the pandemic is 14,304. There are 15 confirmed cases in the hospital, with four in the ICU, 13,478 cases listed as resolved, and 111,362 doses of the vaccine have been administered. Across the province today there are 4,227 new cases being reported, the second most cases reported in a single day at any point during the pandemic. Yesterday there were 3,295 cases, and on Wednesday there were 3,215 cases.
IMPORTANCE OF FOLLOWING PUBLIC HEALTH GUIDANCE
Dr. Ahmed, our local Medical Officer of Health, is again asking everyone to follow all public health safety measures. New data shows that those between the ages of 20 and 29 now account for 23 per cent of the confirmed COVID-19 cases in our region. He said, “As we see that especially in other parts of the province, those are the people who are now being impacted more, they are coming in very sick, they need ICU care, and they are staying longer in the ICU”. You can read more here.
CANCELLATION OF NON-URGENT CARE AND PROCEDURES
Windsor Regional Hospital is preparing to ramp down and postpone non-urgent procedures as part of a directive from the Ministry of Health to treat a growing number of COVID-19 patients. Most of these temporary closures and postponements, which include non-urgent, surgeries and diagnostic scans will be effective 12:01am on Monday April 12. This is being done to help save lives across the province. As of yesterday, there were 1,492 people with COVID-19 in the hospital across the province, and 552 of those patients were in the ICU. Patients will be contacted in advance if their scheduled appointments are affected. You can read more here.
This news is devastating for patients, and our frontline health care heroes as thousands of people already waiting in pain will be left to wait even longer. Our caucus is calling on the provincial government to urgently examine all options and possibilities for getting hospitals the staffing and resources they need and put forward a plan to confront the escalating crisis. We need to implement more supports and protections to mitigate the impact we are seeing in our hospitals, like robust on-site testing programs in workplaces, paid sick days, and class size caps in our schools.
Appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations are now available for people 50 years of age and older in hot spot neighbourhoods in Windsor-Essex. At this time, we have no further updates about when eligibility will expand beyond that age group, but we will continue to provide information as we receive it. The hot spot areas are the postal codes that begin with N8X, N8Y, N9A, N9B, N9C, N8H, or N9Y. Please visit www.wevax.ca for more information and to book appointments, but please know that time slots currently available may be limited.
Canada’s deputy chief public health officer has said that there are still no reports of blood clots in Canada connected to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. He said they are continuing to monitor for any expected or unexpected adverse reactions to all vaccines.
There was a new outbreak declared at Centennial Central Public School in Lakeshore and the local health unit has dismissed a Grade 1/2 class. Two more students from Riverside Secondary School have also tested positive for COVID-19. The schools are working with the health unit to contact all students and staff who may have been in contact with the virus and those impacted are following the direction of the local health unit. Parents are being reminded to monitor their children for symptoms of COVID-19 each morning and to keep kids home if they are sick.
New direction from the Ministry of Education says that all elementary school students must confirm they passed a COVID-19 screening to attend in-class learning when school resumes after the April spring break. Parents and guardians will also be able to confirm that their child has completed and passed the screening by signing and returning the note that was sent home before the break begins, providing a note in their agenda, or by contacting the classroom teacher through Edsby before school begins that day. The link to the Ontario screening tool is available through the public school board’s website www.publicboard.ca or individual school websites. You can read more here.
All four local school boards in our region will provide access to free, voluntary COVID-19 testing in-person for students, staff, and children at daycares. The next clinics to be offered will take place tomorrow, Saturday April 10, at L’Essor Secondary School in Tecumseh for school communities in the N8N postal code. More information is available here.
The previously closed Met Campus COVID-19 Assessment Centre will be open for asymptomatic student swabbing on Tuesday, April 13 and Thursday, April 15 next week, with staffing provided by the Erie Shores HealthCare and Essex- Windsor EMS Community Response and Stabilization Team (CRST). To book a test for an asymptomatic student or education staff member, go to https://www.wrh.on.ca/OnlineBooking and choose the MET location to book your appointment for either April 13 or April 15.
LOCAL EXPOSURE POINTS
The local health unit has identified another potential COVID-19 exposure point in our region. You can find all the up-to-date information about exposure points, including dates and times, on the health unit’s website here.
LOCAL UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
Our region’s unemployment rate has slightly improved since February, and was at 9.8 per cent in March. These numbers released by Statistics Canada are for our entire area, including parts of Essex County. Canada’s unemployment rate fell to a post-pandemic low of 7.5 per cent last month. 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.