Good evening everyone,
For the safety of our staff and the public, my office will no longer be taking appointments for in office visits but will remain available to assist constituents with provincial matters by telephone at 519-251-5199 and email at [email protected] or [email protected] Staff will be working remotely, so you may have to leave a message, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
As of Monday, December 14th at 12:01AM, Windsor-Essex will be moving into the Grey-Lockdown Level under the Province’s COVID-19 Response Framework. This will mean several new changes for our region, including the following:
- Only essential businesses like grocery stores and pharmacies can offer in-person service, at 50% capacity.
- Non-essential retailers are limited to curbside pickup or delivery only.
- Restaurants are limited to take-out and delivery and drive-through only.
- Community centres, arenas, pools, galleries and museums are closed until further notice.
- Religious services, funerals and weddings are limited to 10 people indoors or 10 people outdoors.
- In-person fitness activities are suspended.
- trips outside of the home should only be for essential reasons (work, school, groceries/pharmacy, health care, assisting vulnerable individuals or exercise and physical activity)
- no indoor organized public events and social gatherings are permitted, except with members of the same household – people who live alone can gather with one household; and
- work remotely, where possible
- Individuals and families in higher transmission areas should avoid travel to lower transmission areas (for example, from red to orange, from yellow to green), except for essential reasons.
To learn more about the restrictions, click here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-response-framework-keeping-ontario-safe-and-open#lockdown. The visitor policy for long-term care homes remains the same, and only one essential caregiver per resident is permitted to visit homes in our region. To learn more about the visitor policy, click here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-long-term-care-homes-in-areas-visitor-restrictions.
In addition to the lockdown, Windsor Regional Hospital is also taking additional steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and will be postponing non-urgent surgeries for an indefinite period. The hospital took these steps as a result of a potentially critical shortage of available acute care beds and an increase of admissions of patients with COVID-19. This will also take effect as of 12:01AM on Monday, December 14th. Day surgeries in which patients can be released the same day will remain in place for the time-being.
The people of Windsor-Essex have made extraordinary efforts to do their part to contain the second wave of COVID-19 in our region, without the support and resources we needed from the Provincial Government. The team at our local public health unit, and health care workers across the region, have been working day and night for months to keep us safe and to help those who are suffering from this deadly virus. We’ve done our part as a region, but throughout this pandemic, the Premier has refused to send the emergency funding that we told him was urgently needed. Since the first wave of this virus we’ve been left behind to fight this battle on our own. He ignored the outbreaks on our farms, and now in the second wave, he’s stood by while our children and education workers have become infected in schools and our hospitals have become overwhelmed.
We are now facing the toughest restrictions of any region in the province. Our schools were shut down this week leaving parents scrambling to find child care and forcing many to take time off work without guaranteed sick days. More small businesses will have to shut their doors, and lay off workers during the holidays, at a time when many are already hanging on by a thread. Today, we learned that Windsor Regional Hospital, already over capacity, is now cancelling “non-urgent” surgeries indefinitely. This will put more lives at risk, and leave many people facing a painful and uncertain wait to get the care they need.
This lockdown was avoidable. The Provincial Government is sitting on $12-billion of unspent and unallocated COVID-19 funds that could have saved our region from the worst of this pandemic. He didn’t put infection control help into long-term care. He rationed testing and contact tracing instead of investing in more. He didn’t give workers paid sick days. He didn’t shrink class sizes to protect students, education workers and their families. He should have started testing in schools months ago, but didn’t want to spend the money. Waiting for a vaccine isn’t a plan, and it will do nothing to help the people of Windsor-Essex get through the next 28 days. The Premier shut down the legislature early because he doesn’t want to be held accountable and confront the surging COVID-19 cases we are seeing across the province. Instead, he’s crossing his fingers and hoping things will get better. He needs to come out with a real plan to get our region through this crisis. A plan that includes immediate emergency funding for our public health unit and our hospitals, support for our struggling families and direct financial relief for our businesses to save our local economy. It’s too late to avoid a lockdown, but it’s not too late to save lives and finally give our region the support we need and deserve to crush the virus and get back on our feet.
With that said, Windsor-Essex reported 111 new cases of COVID-19 today. Of the new cases, 19 are a result of close contact with a confirmed case, 2 are community acquired, and the remaining 90 are under investigation. This brings the local total up to 4,453 confirmed cases. There are 620 active cases of COVID-19 in our region. Out of 37 patients in the hospital with the virus, 7 of these patients are in the ICU. There are 11 workplace outbreaks, 8 long-term care/retirement home outbreaks, 2 community outbreaks, 2 school outbreaks, and 1 hospital outbreak. In Ontario, there were 1,848 new cases of COVID-19 today, as compared to 1,983 cases on Thursday, 1,890 cases on Wednesday, 1,676 cases on Tuesday, and 1,925 cases on Monday. The province also reported its highest number of COVID-19 deaths on any single day since June, with 45 people tragically losing their lives to this horrible virus.
Windsor Regional Hospital has reported 4 new cases in staff working on one floor today. The investigation is ongoing and the Health Unit is working with the hospital to determine the risk to staff and patients.
The City of Windsor will be closing City Hall, the Parks and Recreation Main Office at 2450 McDougall Street, and the Parking Enforcement building at 1266 McDougall Avenue as of Monday, December 14th. The Service Canada and Service Ontario outlets at City Hall Square will remain open with enhanced precautions in place. Appointments can still be booked for the 400 City Hall Square Service Ontario at this link: https://www.ontario.ca/locations/serviceontario/mcdougall-and-university-windsor. Transit Windsor will continue its current service with protective barriers and a mandatory mask policy in effect for the protection of both riders and drivers. Museums, community centres, pools, and arenas will remain closed until at least January 15, 2021.
Ontario has rolled out its three phase vaccination plan, with the first phase beginning at University Health Network in Toronto and the Ottawa Hospital on Tuesday, December 15. About 2,500 healthcare workers will be vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine. Phase One will also include delivery of about 90,000 vaccines to 14 hospital sites in Grey-Lockdown and Red-Control zones in December, to vaccinate health care workers in hospitals, long-term care homes, retirement homes and other congregate settings caring for seniors. Windsor Regional Hospital CEO, David Musyj, anticipates that Windsor-Essex will see about 2,500 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year. With one person receiving two doses, this will serve up to 1,250 people.
Earlier this week, Ontario Health directed all hospital assessment centres to halt testing for international travel clearance as of today. Ontario Health has now updated this directive to permit testing under these circumstances until further notice due to a lack of private testing centres in the West region of the province.
The University of Windsor is reporting a new case of COVID-19 on campus. This individual is self-isolating, and there is no additional risk to the campus community at this time.
The Canada/United States border will remain closed until January 21, 2021.
I hope that everyone has a good weekend, but stay safe by continuing to wash your hands, wearing a mask in public, and practicing physical distancing when necessary.