The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 44 new COVID-19 cases today, one of which was the first reported case of the Omicron variant in our region, along with the loss of three members of the community. Today, Toronto reported 239 cases, York reported 128 cases, Peel reported 103 cases, and Middlesex-London reported 84 cases. Yesterday, our region had 67 cases, and on Sunday there were 98 cases. Of the new cases confirmed today, 22 are from close contact with another confirmed case, seven are considered community spread, three are outbreak related, and 13 are under investigation. There are now 597 active cases in our region, bringing the total to 22,894 cases and 482 deaths since the pandemic began. There are 16 workplace outbreaks, seven school/childcare outbreaks, six community outbreaks, and three outbreaks in long-term care homes. There are 34 confirmed cases in the hospital, with 14 of those in the ICU. Locally, 82.5 per cent of individuals over the age of five have received one dose of the vaccine, and 77.6 per cent have received two doses. Across the province today there were 1,429 new cases of COVID-19. Yesterday there were 1,536 cases and on Sunday there were 1,476 cases.
ADVOCATING FOR YOU
Today, my caucus colleagues and I continued to call on the provincial government to do more to help prevent further restrictions and lockdowns. We are calling for an Omicron action package that makes rapid tests free both for in-pharmacy and take-home testing, that speeds up the accessibility of booster shots for anyone over 18 years of age, that speeds up vaccines for kids aged five to 11 with in-school clinics, that reduces class sizes and improves ventilation to help protect kids in school, that makes vaccines mandatory for health and education workers, and that would launch an urgent recruitment and retention blitz for nurses. We are seeing hospitals and vaccination centres short staffed, and the heroes that are there are burnt out and exhausted. We must do more to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and ensure we don’t go backwards on the progress we’ve made.
NEW GUIDELINES FOR LONG-TERM CARE HOMES
The provincial government announced that new measures will come into effect at 12:01am on Friday December 17, 2021 to help protect residents of long-term care homes from the new Omicron variant. The new measures include:
- Testing all staff, students, volunteers, and caregivers, regardless of vaccination status, at least twice a week prior to entry into the home
- Requiring a negative test upon entry to a long-term care home for all visitors and support workers who provide essential services to a resident or to the facility, unless they had a negative test the day before
- Requiring caregivers to be fully vaccinated, unless they have a valid medical exemption or are attending to a resident in a palliative end-of-life situation. Caregivers will be required to have a first dose by December 20, 2021 and all required doses to be considered fully vaccinated by February 21, 2022. In the interim, designated caregivers who are not fully vaccinated would need to restrict their visit to the resident’s room
- Limiting indoor visits to a maximum of two people per resident at a time and outdoor visits, where feasible, to a maximum total of four people per resident at a time
- Cohorting of residents for higher-risk activities, such as singing and dancing, and discouraging large social activities. This is in addition to the cohorting of residents during meal times, which is currently occurring
- Limiting social day trips to only residents who are fully vaccinated and requiring those residents who leave the home for social reasons to be actively screened upon their return to the home and if they had a known exposure to a case, isolated and tesed using a PCR test. All residents, regardless of vaccination status, can continue to leave the home for essential reasons, such as medical appointments
- Suspending overnight absences for social purposes regardless of residents’ vaccination status. Residents who wish to leave the home overnight for social purposes or due to COVID-19 may be temporarily discharged and need to follow the re-admission protocol to return at a later date.
The guidelines for retirement homes has also been enhanced, and now includes:
- Requiring rapid antigen testing for staff, volunteers, contractors and essential caregivers, regardless of vaccination status, two times per week prior to entry into the home as part of enhanced active screening practices.
- Requiring rapid antigen testing for general visitors and support workers entering a retirement home, regardless of vaccination status.
- Strongly encouraging retirement homes to restrict general visitors to only those who are fully vaccinated and implementing additional requirements for essential visitors and general visitors who are not fully vaccinated when entering a retirement home.
- Limiting the number of visitors and group sizes for social activities and events.
- Implementing additional testing and isolation requirements for residents when they return from an overnight absence.
- Instructing retirement homes to increase IPAC audits.
You can read more here.
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.
- 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
Today, the local French Public school board reported two COVID-19 cases at Louise-Charron Elementary School, where two staff members have tested positive. The local health unit has lifted the outbreaks at St. John Vianney Catholic Elementary School, Frank W. Begley Public School, and Centennial Central Public School.
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#/=
Please continue to stay safe and follow public health guidelines.