The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 29 new COVID-19 cases today. Yesterday there were 21 cases, and on Tuesday there were 21 cases. There has now been a total of 17,106 cases and 437 deaths related to COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex. Of the new cases announced today, 10 are from close contact with another confirmed case, nine are considered community spread, and 10 are under investigation. There are now 165 active cases in our community, with 78 of those being variant of concern cases. There is one confirmed case in the hospital, and 16,504 cases have been listed as resolved. Locally, a total of 554,359 doses of the vaccine have been administered, with 77.1 per cent of individual over 12 having received one dose, and 69 per cent of individuals over 12 having received both doses. Across the province today there were 513 new cases, the most since mid-June. Yesterday there were 324 cases, and on Tuesday there were 321 cases.
Windsor Regional Hospital announced that due to an increase in demand for COVID-19 testing over the past two weeks, they have increased resources and capacity at the Ouellette assessment centre to meet the demand. WRH will open the Met Campus Assessment Centre if necessary. Testing at the assessment centre is currently by appointment only and is for symptomatic individuals. The testing centre is open seven days a week from 7am to 3pm. You can read the release from WRH here.
With COVID-19 cases rising again in Ontario and kids heading back to school, the provincial government is squirrelling away $2.2 billion – money that should be used to help people and end COVID in Ontario. The government announced today in their First Quarter update that the money would be put aside, rather than being used to help people survive the pandemic. I continue to hear from constituents whose businesses are struggling and who have been waiting for months for their Ontario Small Business Support Grants to be approved. Instead of withholding that money, we should be ensuring that people’s livelihoods are looked after, our kids can return to school safely and learn uninterrupted, and we are hiring and retaining staff to help burnt out health care workers. Ontario’s independent Financial Accountability Officer (FAO) reported that the Premier often doesn’t spend “allocated” and contingency funds. By the end of 2020-21, unaudited spending was a staggering $10.3 billion less than planned.
PAID SICK DAYS COMING TO AN END
The temporary three paid sick days that the provincial government granted during COVID-19 will come to an end on September 25. Our caucus is calling for a Safe September plan that includes paid sick days and family care days to help keep students and school staff healthy, and prevent more disruption to in-school learning. Without paid sick days, more kids will be exposed to the virus in Ontario’s schools – and sent home to isolate, yet again. Parents shouldn’t have to miss out on a day’s pay to stay home with their children when they are sick. My colleague MPP Peggy Sattler introduced the Stay Home If You Are Sick Act, which would give workers 14 government-paid sick days during the pandemic, on top of permanent paid sick days, which would be embedded in employment law.
The University of Windsor announced that they will require all varsity student athletes and student athletic therapists to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 for the upcoming school year. First doses will be mandatory no later than August 31, 2021, and second doses no later than October 1, 2021. You can read more here.
The federal government announced that Canada is donating all 10 million doses of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine to low and middle-income countries. Canada approved the vaccine in early March, but the doses were never distributed for use, as shipments were held up. Last month the federal government announced they were donating close to 18 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. You can read more here.
The federal government said that fully vaccinated Canadians will soon be able to get a government document that will certify their COVID-19 vaccine history for the purpose of international travel. The digital passport will also have a non-digital option for those who can’t or don’t want a digital certificate. You can read more here.
Our caucus has again called for the provincial government to implement a vaccine certificate program across Ontario. As we enter the fourth wave, families deserve to know that they are safe when they are out in their communities, enjoying life. The Premier’s decision to do nothing on vaccine certifications makes it harder for everyone to return to their normal lives and leaves small businesses scrambling to develop their own vaccine rules. By ignoring calls for vaccine certificates, the government is showing they do not value the sacrifices Ontarians have made to stop the spread of COVID-19 over the last 17 months.
VACCINE POLICY FOR CITY OF WINDSOR EMPLOYEES
The City is looking at implementing a return-to-work vaccine policy for City employees, similar to what Windsor Regional Hospital has implemented. The mayor explained that they are looking at the legalities of tracking the flow of information and vaccination records, but that they want to be leaders to encourage other businesses to consider a similar course for their employees. You can read more 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.