I would like to first express my condolences to the family of former Ontario Premier Bill Davis, who passed away yesterday. He will always be remembered for his many contributions and leadership of this province.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 25 new COVID-19 cases today. Yesterday there were 32 cases, and on Saturday there were 20 cases. There have now been 17,035 cases of COVID-19 and 436 deaths related to the virus since the pandemic began. Of the new cases reported from Saturday to today, 19 of them are from close contact with another confirmed case, 24 are considered community spread, four are travel related, and 30 are under investigation. There are now 140 active cases in our community, with 52 of those being variant of concern cases. There are two confirmed cases in the hospital and 16,459 cases have been listed as resolved. There have been 550,106 doses of the vaccine administered locally, with 76.7 per cent of individuals over the age of 12 having received one dose, and 68.3 per cent of individuals over 12 having received both doses. Across the province today there were 325 new cases of COVID-19. Yesterday there were 423 cases, and on Saturday there were 378 cases.
Dr. Ahmed, the local medical officer of health, said that he is concerned about the increase to the number of COVID-19 cases in our region. He further explained that the pandemic is not over, and that we can’t let our guard down. The new cases are predominantly among the unvaccinated population, and Dr. Ahmed warns that we need a sense of urgency to prevent a potential fourth wave and reinstating some restrictions. You can read more here.
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 on Wednesday from 10am to 3pm at the Sandwich Teen Action Group on King St. in Windsor. More information is available here: www.wevax.ca
BACKLOG AT DRIVETEST CENTRES
Reportedly, there is a 34,734 backlog of road tests at local DriveTest Centres in Windsor, and while the Ministry of Transportation has said they will be providing additional, temporary examiners to help battle the backlog, none of those new temporary DriveTest Centres have opened in Windsor-Essex. The problems with delays at the DriveTest Centres are not new, nor can they simply be attributed to COVID. I have been raising the delays and problems with the DriveTest Centre in Windsor since at least 2017, as we heard stories with increasing frequency from constituents regarding growing lengthy delays for services, long line ups, and understaffing. In the months that followed, other MPPs joined me in raising these concerns with the government of the day, as they too began to hear from constituents. The government's failure to address this growing issue, which has only been magnified by the cancellations arising from COVID, is unacceptable. Many constituents are being penalized further as people booking for the first time may find themselves getting an earlier appointment than those who have had their appointments cancelled multiple times. I have also heard from constituents who continue to experience higher insurance rates for longer periods of time, as a result. I continue to raise these concerns with the government and press for a real solution to end the backlogs.
CANADA-UNITED STATES BORDER
Fully vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents are once again allowed to cross in Canada under certain conditions. Visitors must live in the United States and have allowed 14 days to pass since receiving a full course of a Health Canada-approved vaccine. They are also required to show proof of a negative molecular test for COVID-19 that’s no more than 72 hours old, and to use the ArriveCAN app or online web portal to upload their vaccination details. The United States has yet to announce when they will lift restrictions for Canadians who want to cross the land border and enter the United States. You can read more here.
Manitoba has followed Quebec, British Columbia, Yukon, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland to bring in $10-per-day childcare. My caucus colleagues and I continue to call on the Ontario government to follow suit and help Ontario families who are struggling to afford the high costs in this province. After years of previous governments hiking childcare fees, and as many families are still recovering from the impacts of the pandemic, it is now far past time to undo that damage and bring in affordable, $10-per-day childcare.
The Community Support Centre (CSC) is giving out backpacks for students again this year to ensure they’re prepared to return to the classroom. The 2021 backpack campaign starts today and runs through Friday between 9am and 4pm. Qualifying families in Lakeshore and Tecumseh are welcome to stop by the centre at 962 Old Tecumseh Rd, Unit 4, Belle River. The income qualifiers are
- One person - $26,426
- Two people - $32,898
- Three people - $40,444
- Four people - $49,106
- Seven or more - $69,934
Those interested in pickup up a backpack will be required to bring their Child Tax Benefit statement for 2020. The statement would have been issued in July and notes the names and ages of the family’s children and the family income. For more information, call the CSC at 519-728-1435.
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.