The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 21 new COVID-19 cases today. Yesterday there were 25 cases, and on Sunday there were 32 cases. There has been a total of 17,056 cases and 436 deaths related to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Of the new cases announced today, six are from close contact with another confirmed case, one is considered community spread, and 14 are under investigation. There are now 145 active COVID-19 cases in our region, with 46 of those being variant of concern cases. There are two confirmed cases in the hospital, and 16,475 cases have been listed as resolved. There has been a total of 551,420 doses of the vaccine administered locally, with 76.8 per cent of individuals over the age of 12 having received one dose, and 68.5 per cent of individuals over the age of 12 having received both doses. Across the province today there were 321 cases. Yesterday there were 325 cases, and on Sunday there were 423 cases.
Amherstburg’s COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Libro Centre has closed. The vaccination site administered almost 39,000 doses. COVID-19 mass vaccination sites remain open at Devonshire Mall in the former Sears store, and at the Nature Fresh Farms Recreation Centre in Leamington.
The local health unit is hosting a youth vaccination clinic for those between the ages of 12 and 17. First and second doses will be available with no appointment required. The clinic will take place tomorrow from 10am to 3pm at the Sandwich Teen Action Group on King St. in Windsor. More information about vaccines is available here: www.wevax.ca
Moderna has announced they will be building a manufacturing plant in Canada within the next two years. The company signed a memorandum of understanding with the federal government, and will see Canada gain priority access to doses of vaccines. It will also include a research and development component for a host of other conditions besides COVID-19, including flu, heart disease, cancer, and rare genetic disorders. You can read more here.
A number of business groups are calling for a vaccine certificate system as COVID-19 case numbers appear to be on the rise again across the province. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business have both said a vaccine certificate system would be a way to help avoid another lockdown and accelerate an economic reopening. Asking individual businesses to design a different system for themselves with no provincial guidance is a mess, confusing, and a real burden for people and businesses. Vaccine certificates present challenges, but the Premier’s decision to do nothing presents big problems. The government shouldn’t ignore the advice of their own science table. The millions of Ontarians who have taken the necessary steps to get vaccinated and protect their families, loved ones, and community deserve a certificate program that will help us return to a normal life.
PANDEMIC PAY FOR PSWs
A new letter from the Ombudsman confirms that the provincial government is denying personal support workers (PSWs) in residential care facilities pandemic pay, despite his promises to PSWs. Personal support workers in residential care homes have been on the frontlines of the pandemic, putting their own health at risk to support the wellbeing of others. The government’s temporary pay top-up for PSWs was already less than the bare minimum. Their choice to save money by excluding thousands of PSWs and other healthcare workers across the province is deeply concerning, and seriously unfair to those COVID heroes. We are calling for a raise in PSW wages by $5 per hour, and to turn notoriously part-time and temporary PSW gigs into full-time careers. We have also called for a review of all wages and benefits in the sector to ensure all workers are fairly compensated for the work they do. You can find the letter from the Ombudsman here.
INVESTMENT IN NURSING
The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) and the President and CEO of Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare are calling for a slowdown on the resumption of medical services across the province. They are seeing nurses increasingly burnt out after working for 17 months during the pandemic with little to no down time. You can read more here.
My caucus colleagues and I have called for action and investment on nurse training, recruitment and retention. Even before the pandemic we were seeing hospitals struggling with staffing shortages after years of cuts and funding freezes. Now as the pandemic wanes, burnout is causing nurses to leave for a less stressful environment, leaving shifts understaffed, and causing further burnout. We need a plan to recruit and retain nurses and get this spiraling situation under control.
Tomorrow evening I will be joined by Ontario’s first Poet Laureate, Randell Adjei, for an evening of poetry and Q & A. The virtual event, hosted by Literary Arts Windsor, will be free and can be attended through their Facebook event here.
The Ouellette Car Cruise will be happening this Friday August 13 along Riverside Dr. The event will start at 6pm and will begin at Riverside Dr E and Goyeau St. Registered vehicles are asked to meet at 1pm at Riverfront Festival Plaza, with overflow parking in the Caesars Windsor’s Red Lot (Riverside Dr E at Montreuil). Only registered cars will have access to the Plaza and parking lot. To register, or for more information, click here.
Please continue to stay safe by washing your hands, wearing a mask when you’re out in public, and practice physical distancing of 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household.