The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 263 new COVID-19 cases in our region since last Friday, with 67 reported today, 98 reported yesterday, and 99 reported on Saturday. Today, Toronto reported 255 cases, York region had 139 cases, and Peel reported 89 cases. Our region now has 621 active cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 22,850 and 479 deaths related to the virus since the pandemic began. Of the new cases announced since Saturday, 116 are from close contact with another confirmed case, 67 are considered community spread, two are outbreak related, one is travel related, and 78 are under investigation. There are currently 16 workplace outbreaks, 10 school/childcare outbreaks, five community outbreaks, and two outbreaks in long-term care homes. There are 34 confirmed cases in the hospital, with 14 in the ICU. Locally, 82.4 per cent of individuals over the age of five have received their first dose of the vaccine, and 77.6 per cent have received two doses. Across the province today there were 1,536 new COVID-19 cases reported. Yesterday there were 1,476 cases, and on Saturday there were 1,607 cases.
CLARIFICATION FROM HEALTH UNIT ON NEW RULES
The local health unit has clarified the measures in their Letter of Instruction that came into effect last Friday. According to the health unit, the 10 person limit for social gatherings is also in place for restaurants and bars, meaning no more than 10 people should be seated at a table. The health unit says they are busy continuing to work with local businesses to help educate them on the new guideline. You can read more here.
Dr. Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer said today that the spread potential of the new Omicron variant will mean that cases of COVID-19 will rapidly escalate in the coming days, while Ontario’s Science Table announced that the new variant will likely become the dominant strain in the province by Christmas. Dr. Tam has called for a third shot of the vaccine to help deal with any waning immunity and reduce the spread. You can read more here.
My caucus colleagues and I again called on the provincial government to speed up the booster campaign for every Ontarian over the age of 18, create school-based vaccine clinics for five to 11 year-olds whose parents can’t afford to take time off work, and make rapid tests free and accessible everywhere in the province. We also continue to call for enough paid sick days for people to stay home when they’re sick, mandatory vaccination for all health and education workers, smaller class sizes to reduce kids’ contacts, better ventilation in schools and workplaces, clear guidance for all college and universities this winter, and the funding to implement the safety plans. We must do everything we can to help prevent the spread of the Omicron variant and prevent further restrictions and lockdowns.
As of today, the local health unit has opened vaccine boosters to adults ages 50 and older. Third dose appointments must be scheduled six months after a second dose. Residents who are eligible to receive a third dose are encouraged to reach out to their healthcare provider or local pharmacist for any questions or concerns before scheduling an appointment. Appointments can be made at www.wevax.ca or by calling 227-773-2200.
There will be pop-up vaccine clinics at the following locations this week. Children aged 5 to 11 years (or turning 5 in 2021) are now eligible to receive their vaccination at a pop-up clinic. Children must be accompanied by their custodial parent or guardian to receive a vaccine and will be required to present a health card or other form of identification.
- Tuesday December 14 – Connections Early Years Family Centre – 795 Giles Blvd E, Windsor – 1pm to 5pm (childcare available at no cost)
- Wednesday December 15 – Leamington Municipal Building Council Chambers – 111 Erie St N, Leamington – 10am to 3pm
- Thursday December 16 – Windsor Essex Community Health Centre (Sandwich Location) – 3325 College Ave, Windsor – 10am to 3pm
- Friday December 17 – Leamington Municipal Building Council Chambers – 111 Erie St N, Leamington – 10am to 3pm
- Friday December 17 – WECHU Leamington Office – 33 Princess St, Leamington – 12pm to 6pm
COVID-19 IN SCHOOLS
On Friday, the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board reported five classes and three bus cohorts had been dismissed due to confirmed cases of COVID-19. The schools affected were Sacred Heart and St. Teresa of Calcutta elementary schools, and St. Joseph’s high school. The Greater Essex County District School Board added four cases at Bellewood, Gore Hill, Hugh Beaton, and Jack Miner elementary schools.
Over the weekend, the Catholic School Board dismissed six more classes from Our Lady of the Annunciation Catholic Elementary, Holy Cross Catholic Elementary, St. Peter Catholic Elementary, Notre Dame Catholic Elementary, and St. Anne Catholic High School. The Public School Board also added cases from Leamington District Secondary School and Hugh Beaton Public School.
The French Catholic School Board has reported a class is isolating after a confirmed case of COVID-19 at Saint-Paul Catholic Elementary in Lakeshore, while another positive case has been confirmed at Monseigneur-Jean Noel Catholic Elementary.
The local health unit has contacted all those affected and is reminding parents to continue to monitor their children each morning for COVID-19 symptoms and to keep them home if they are sick.
Up-to-date COVID-19 information on confirmed cases and outbreaks from each school board can be found here:
French Catholic: https://www.cscprovidence.ca/apps/pages/index.jsp...
Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board: https://www.wecdsb.on.ca/about/covid19/outbreaks
Greater Essex County District School Board: https://www.publicboard.ca/News/COVID-19Report/Pages/default.aspx?fbclid=IwAR2R6_WYMzK8njEzQqQisbpQuRQ67Cr-KEi-jEz_WYGsiaYmjCJhuLrUX0k#/=
POSSIBLE COVID-19 EXPOSURE POINT
The local health unit has updated their list of possible public exposure points for the COVID-19 virus in the community. You can find that information here.
DEADLINE FOR SOCIAL WORK SCHOLARSHIP
The deadline for the Hilary M. Weston Scholarship is Wednesday December 15, 2021. The program will grant two scholarships to students who are, or plan to be, enrolled during the 2022-23 academic year in a graduate-level social work program at a publicly funded university in Ontario. Applicants must have a demonstrated interest in, and commitment to, mental health issues and must be residents of Ontario. All applications will be reviewed, and successful candidates will be recommended by an independent selection committee. Each recipient will receive a one-time scholarship of $7,500. You can find more information, as well as eligibility criteria, here.
NEW REPORT SHOWS PROMISE FOR WINDSOR
The Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) has published a new report called Windsor Blooms, which shows that Windsor has potential for success coming out of COVID-19, and is poised to come out the other side as more innovative and forward thinking. You can read the report here.
Please continue to stay safe and follow public health guidelines.