The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 48 new COVID-19 cases today, while Toronto had 151 cases, York had 93 cases, Hamilton had 86 cases, and London had 34 cases. Our region has had a total of 17,743 cases and 439 deaths since the pandemic began. Of the new cases announced today, three are from close contact with another confirmed case, one is considered community spread, and 44 are under investigation. There are now 408 active cases in our region, with 177 of those being variant of concern cases. There are eight workplace outbreaks, one community outbreak, 13 confirmed cases in the hospital, and one case in the ICU. Locally, 568, 412 doses of the vaccine have been administered locally, with 78.5 per cent of individuals over the age of 12 having received one dose, and 71.3 per cent of individuals over the age of 12 having received both doses. Across the province today there were 660 cases of COVID-19 reported. Yesterday there were 486 cases, and on Monday there were 639 cases.
NEW REPORT ON HERD IMMUNITY
A new report by Public Health Ontario on herd immunity says it will not be possible to achieve until a vaccine is approved for children under the age of 12 due to the more transmissible Delta variant, which is now dominant in the province. According to the report, the critical threshold for vaccination is now roughly at least 90 per cent of the Ontario population. You can read the full report here.
My caucus colleagues and I continue to call on the provincial government to protect our progress in the fight against COVID-19 and put people’s health and safety first. The provincial government needs to listen to the public health experts and the province’s own Science Table and implement a vaccine certificate and mandate vaccines for health care and education workers. We need to implement a last mile vaccine strategy and continue reaching out to people to identify their barriers to vaccination and finding ways to overcome them, together.
The City of Windsor and County of Essex have launched a lottery program called WeVaxtoWin, with prizes for individuals who are fully vaccinated and to encourage those who are not yet vaccinated to do so. Among the prizes are a property tax holiday for one household that is fully vaccinated, up to $10,000 for the 2022 property tax year, a $10,000 credit for renters which the City will pay the landlord directly in 2022, tuition being waved at the college and university, staycation packages, and PlayStation 5 video game consoles. Registration begins on September 1, with the first bi-weekly draw on October 1. More information and details on the contest are available here.
The Windsor-Essex Chamber of Commerce announced that the WEVax Transportation Program is being extended to help residents living in hot spot postal codes who are unable to arrange transportation to get a vaccine. The program offers complimentary taxi service to and from vaccine clinics and will continue to run until the end of September 2021. More information is available here.
RETURN TO SCHOOL
The local health unit, in partnership with the Windsor Essex Local Immigration Partnership (WE LIP), will be holding a virtual information session to learn about the latest changes to the COVID-19 school reopening guidelines. The session will be held on Thursday September 9 from 1:30pm to 3:00pm and will include information on changes to class dismissal practices and isolation requirements. You can learn more and register for the event here.
Windsor-Essex school boards will take part in a provincial pilot project that will give vaccinated, asymptomatic students and staff in secondary schools an at-home COVID-19 test if they are exposed to the virus through a cohort or outbreak. Participation in the pilot is voluntary. You can read more here.
My caucus colleagues and I continue to call on the government to provide more supports and resources to protect our kids, teachers, and education workers as we prepare for the return to school in a couple weeks. We must invest now in a plan to rush the COVID-19 vaccine to students under 12 as soon as Health Canada approves the shot for kids. Families should not have to hunt for a location and struggle to book a shot this time – not when the school year is on the line, and kids are desperate for it to go ahead safely, without disruption. We know families are at the end of their rope with at-home learning, kids are struggling with their mental health and wellbeing, and teachers and education workers are burnt out. We have to do everything we can to prioritize education. We continue to call for a Safe September plan for school reopening that also includes capped class sizes, more mental health supports, educational assistants and counselling supports for students; a minimum and enforced standard for ventilation; and paid sick days and family are days for everyone.
BACKPACK DRIVE PICKUP TOMORROW
The United Way’s Backpacks For Success drive will be holding a pickup tomorrow starting at 11am. The backpacks and school supplies help students in kindergarten to grade 12, and will be available at West Gate Public School, Dougall Ave Public School, and Frank W. Begley Public School. There is a maximum of three backpacks per family, while supplies last.
Please continue to stay safe and follow public health guidelines.