The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 70 new COVID-19 cases today, while Toronto saw 185 cases, Peel saw 96 cases, and Hamilton saw 66 cases. Yesterday our region saw 91 cases, and on Wednesday there were 48 cases. Since the beginning of the pandemic there have been 17,904 cases and 439 deaths related to COVID-19 in our region. Of the new cases announced today, five are from close contact with another confirmed case, three are considered community spread, and 62 are under investigation. There are now 472 active cases of COVID-19 in our region, with 250 of those being variant of concern cases. There are nine workplace outbreaks, one community outbreak, and 15 confirmed cases in the hospital, with five of those in the ICU. Locally, a total of 570,348 doses of the vaccine have been administered, with 78.7 per cent of individuals over the age of 12 having received at least one dose, and 71.6 per cent of individuals over the age of 12 having received both doses. Across the province today there were 781 cases of COVID-19 reported. Yesterday there were 678 cases, and on Wednesday there were 486 cases.
LOCAL COVID-19 EXPOSURE POINTS
The local medical officer of health, Dr. Ahmed, said that COVID-19 enforcement efforts at bars, restaurants, and other businesses will be increasing due to a sharp rise of COVID-19 cases we’ve seen lately. Data presented by the health unit shows that dozens of cases have been linked to spread in bars and restaurants, while three weddings alone have resulted in 124 cases. You can read more here.
The local health unit has updated their list of possible COVID-19 exposure points, along with the dates of potential exposure. That information can be found here.
MANDATORY VACCINATION POLICY
The local health unit has implemented a COVID-19 vaccination policy for its staff and is encouraging area businesses to implement their own COVID-19 vaccination policy for staff and customers. The health unit’s website has a section outlining a COVID-19 vaccination policy for workplaces, and CEO Nicole Dupuis has said that the health unit will work with businesses to host a mobile vaccination clinic on site at their workplace. You can read more here.
In accordance with the City of Windsor’s mandatory vaccination policy for all municipal employees, the Mayor and all City Councillors have publicly confirmed their full vaccination status and are urging all residents to get vaccinated if they have not yet done so. You can read more here.
The Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board has echoed our caucus’ call for a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for schools, as well as for the COVID-19 vaccine to be included with the Immunization of School Pupils Act. The school board trustees voted unanimously this week to send a letter to the Premier and Minister of Education to urge them to immediately make vaccines mandatory for all school board employees, trustees, school volunteers, and community agencies entering school buildings. You can read more here.
My caucus colleagues and I continue to call on the government to implement a Safe September plan that also includes a cap on class sizes, better ventilation and standards, mental health supports, paid sick days and family care days for everyone, and a proactive strategy to reach out to families about vaccines, and a ready plan to get the vaccine into schools for children under 12 as soon as Health Canada approves.
RETURN TO SCHOOL GUIDELINES
In addition to calling for a mandatory vaccination policy, the WECDSB has released their Return to School Guidelines. The document outlines what is coming back, what remains prohibited, outbreaks, and ventilation. You can find the document here starting on page 11.
Ontario’s Vaccine Task Force will be coming to an end on August 31, 2021, having spent the last several months working hard to get shots into as many arms as possible to protect people in Ontario from COVID-19. While so many people have done their part and received their vaccination, it is extremely concerning that the provincial government seems to think that their job is done and are now just hoping for the best as we face a fourth wave. We need to increase vaccine uptake, and we can do that by breaking down barriers, creating vaccine certificates, and mandating vaccinations for health care and education workers.
Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada announced today that the Moderna vaccine has been approved for use in adolescents between the ages of 12-17. Moderna joins Pfizer as the only recognized vaccines available for individuals under the age of 18. You can read more here.
Please continue to stay safe and follow public health guidelines.