The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 37 new COVID-19 cases today, while Toronto saw 129 cases, Peel saw 82 cases, and Hamilton saw 45 cases. Yesterday, our region reported 34 cases, and on Sunday there were 91 cases. There have now been 17,695 cases and 439 deaths related to COVID-19 in our region since the pandemic began. Of the new cases announced today, two are from close contact with another confirmed case, three are considered community spread, one is travel related, and 31 are under investigation. There are currently 12 confirmed cases in the hospital, eight workplace outbreaks, and one community outbreak. Locally, a total of 567,433 doses of the vaccine have been administered, with 78.4 per cent of individuals over 12 having receive one dose, and 71.1 per cent of individuals over 12 having received both doses. Across the province today there were 486 new COVID-19 cases. Yesterday there were 639 cases, and on Sunday there were 722 cases.
MOBILE VACCINE CLINICS
The local health unit and Transit Windsor have partnered together for a pilot program called Destination Vaccination which will see nursing staff using a city bus to help get vaccines to those who need one in various areas of the City and County. The health unit says that by focusing on higher priority neighbourhoods, we can increase our local vaccine uptake to help protect residents and suppress the fourth wave of COVID-19. Tomorrow, the bus will be making stops at the corner of Wellington Ave and University Ave (parked along University Ave), as well as Mic Mac Park (near Prince Rd entrance). On Friday, the bus will be travelling to the county for stops in Leamington. For updates on the location of the bus, follow the health unit on Facebook and Twitter (@TheWECHU). You can read more here.
MANDATORY VACCINATION POLICIES
Windsor Regional Hospital and Hotel Dieu-Grace Hospital announced that anyone visiting a patient will have to be vaccinated or present a negative COVID-19 test starting August 30, 2021, while the same policy will go into effect at Erie-Shores HealthCare on September 7, 2021. The new vaccine mandate is being extended beyond doctors, staff, students, and volunteers in response to rising case counts. You can read more here.
The County of Essex announced they are implementing a mandatory vaccination policy for its employees, a move that the City of Windsor announced yesterday for their employees. The policy will require employees to be partially vaccinated no later than September 7, 2021, and fully vaccinated no later than October 30, 2021. The new policy also applies to those who work with Essex-Windsor Emergency Medical Services and Sun Parlor Home, as well as contractors and visitors to County of Essex facilities. Exceptions will be made for employees who have a medical exemption. You can read more here.
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce released a framework today for private sector businesses seeking to develop COVID-19 proof-of-vaccination protocols. The Ontario Chamber says implementing such protocols will help businesses remain open safely and help reduce the risk of further lockdowns. You can read more here.
My caucus colleagues and I have been calling on the provincial government to implement a vaccine certificate program to help take the onus off of already struggling businesses. While vaccine certificates may present challenges, asking every individual business to design a system for themselves without provincial guidance is messy, confusing, and burdensome, and will cause bigger problems for businesses and people. A vaccine certificate program will help protect people’s health, protect our progress, and keep non-essential businesses safely running.
ESSENTIAL VISITORS FOR LONG-TERM CARE RESIDENTS
Throughout the pandemic, residents of long-term care endured painful isolation and separation from their family caregivers. Today, the Patient Ombudsman recommended defining essential visitors and to legislate visitation rights for long-term care and hospitals. All congregate care residents, whether they are in long-term care, retirement homes, group homes, or other settings, must have consistent and meaningful access to their essential caregivers to maintain their quality of life and their mental and physical health. My colleague, MPP Gretzky, put forward the More Than a Visitor Act, which would ensure residents of congregate care homes can safely see their loved ones and essential family caregivers in exactly the way the Patient Ombudsman has recommended. While this bill has received support from all parties, it has still yet to be passed into law.
BEACH WATER ADVISORY
With the continued heat wave across our region and people looking for ways to cool off, the local health unit recommends residents avoid swimming at Belle River Beach, Mettawas Beach, and Colchester Beach due to high bacteria levels in the water. You can read more here.
Please continue to stay safe and follow public health guidelines.