The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 104 new cases of COVID-19 today as well as another death. This is the second day in a row that over 100 cases have been recorded. Of the cases today, 16 are considered close contact with a confirmed case, three involve health care workers, one is in the community, 14 involve workers in the agri-farm sector, and 70 are still under investigation. There are currently 610 active cases in our region, bringing our total number to 4,342, with 3,646 resolved cases, and 86 deaths. The province saw a new single-day high number, with 1,983 cases today. On Wednesday there were 1,890 cases, on Tuesday there were 1,676 cases, and on Monday there were 1,925 cases.
The local health unit announced today that beginning Monday December 14, all schools in Windsor-Essex will be shut down and students will be shifted to online learning. The local Medical Officer of Health issued a Section 22 Order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act in response to the rapid rise of COVID-19 cases in our region. The order will be in place until December 18, which is the last day of school before students begin their holiday break. Our caucus has been asking for the government to provide the much-needed help for Windsor-Essex. Our health unit is in dire need of provincial support. It did not have to be this way. If the government had followed our suggestions of smaller class sizes and proper funding for upgrades to our schools, we would not be in this predicament.
Nine students at Holy Names Catholic High School were told to stay home after confirmed case of COVID-19 was identified at the school. In the public school board, two cases of COVID-19 were reported at Essex Public School and a staff member at Centennial Central Public School in Comber has tested positive. The health unit has contacted all affected students and staff and provided further direction.
The local health unit has identified the region’s third COVID-19 community cluster, which is from youth athletics centred around Central Park Athletics. This cluster resulted in 32 cases and impacted seven local schools. The cases involved in this cluster practiced and played at six arenas, two private training facilities, and two golf courses.
The local Medical Officer of Health is urging the federal government to lockdown the Canada-U.S. border over the holiday season out of fear that some people may try to travel to see family. He has said the border should only be open to health care workers and those working in the transportation industry. As it stands now, the border remains closed to non-essential travel until at least December 21. You can read more here.
As of December 11, COVID-19 testing for international travel purposes will not be available at hospital-run assessment centre, such as WRH’s Ouellette Campus and Erie Shores. Travellers are instead advised to consult their travel carrier’s guidelines to make sure they have the most up-to-date information about requirements. Asymptomatic residents can get tested at three Shoppers Drug Mart locations in the city.
A number of local faith leaders have written an open letter urging residents to follow COVID-19 restrictions laid out by the health unit, especially with respect to services over the holiday season. The letter is available here.
Windsor’s recreation centres will remain closed into the new year. The city’s arenas, pools and community centres closed to the public on December 7 when our region moved into the Red-Control stage. For information on city services, the website is here.
Tecumseh’s walk-in services have been put on hold at town hall and arena offices in response to the rising number of COVID-19 cases. Some services will still be available by appointment only until December 15 to ensure existing applications are complete. The change will go into effect as of Friday December 11. More information is available here.
The Town of LaSalle has decided to close its Civic Centre to the public, effective today, but municipal staff remain available to help residents by phone, email and appointment only. A drop-off and pick-up location is available for physical documents and items borrowed from the LaSalle branch of the Essex County Library. More information is available here.
The provincial government announced today that two hospitals in Toronto and Ottawa will begin administering the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine next week to health care workers working in long-term care homes and other high-risk settings. Our caucus has been asking the government to clarify their roll-out strategy, as details so far have been vague despite knowing months ago that we would need to have something in place.
After announcing the LaSalle Santa Claus Parade would be a drive-thru event this year, the town has cancelled the event, which was scheduled for Saturday December 12. This has come at the advice of the local health unit.
Please continue to wear a mask when out in public, continue to practice physical distancing of two metres, and wash your hands often.