The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 65 new cases of COVID-19 today. Of the new cases, five are from close contact with a confirmed case, two were community acquired and 58 are still under investigation. There are currently 424 active cases in our region, bringing the total number of cases to 3,864, with 3,358 resolved cases, and 82 deaths. There were 1,780 cases of COVID-19 reported in Ontario today. On Thursday there were 1,824 cases, on Wednesday there were 1,723 cases, and on Tuesday there were 1,707 cases.
Windsor-Essex will not be moving into the Grey-Lockdown level at this time. The provincial government provided the update today that our region will remain in the Red-Control tier. The Medical Officer for Windsor-Essex, Dr. Ahmed, said, “We would like to see the results of us in the red zone first before we move onto any other criteria at this time…”. This does not mean that moving into the Grey-Lockdown tier is not a real possibility in the future, and we must all do our part to ensure that we follow all recommendations to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Windsor Regional Hospital, Erie Shores HealthCare and Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare released a letter to the community today about the strain COVID-19 has placed on them and to ask for the community’s help to ensure they can continue to provide health care services to all who need it. You can read the letter here.
My colleague, MPP Taras Natyshak, is calling on the provincial government to provide resources urgently to expand access to COVID-19 testing for residents in Essex County, and speed up turnaround times as the local health unit struggles to deal with rising case numbers in the region. The local health unit is reporting delays of up to three days to get an appointment for a COVID-19 test at the Windsor Regional Hospital Ouellette Campus Assessment centre. The reason for this is a lack of available staff due to the recent outbreak declared at Windsor Regional Hospital. The hospital is continuing the monitor the situation. While there are four Shoppers Drug Mart locations offering tests to people who are asymptomatic, there is currently just one assessment centre in Windsor available to people who are experiencing symptoms, as a result of the staff shortage. You can book an appointment here.
The number of confirmed cases at Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare continue to rise after an outbreak was declared on November 29. As of today, 31 people have tested positive – 11 patients and 20 healthcare workers. All admissions to their inpatient Restorative Care programs are on pause.
The Greater Essex County District School Board confirmed that three schools reported cases of COVID-19 yesterday. There was one positive case each at Walkerville Collegiate Institute, East Mersea Public School in Wheatley, and Leamington District Secondary School. Each of these cases are considered "high exposure" and parents are being advised to monitor their children daily for symptoms. The Health Unit will be reaching out to families of affected students if they have been identified as a close contact.
The local health unit has confirmed that another person at the University of Windsor has tested positive on campus. Health officials have said that this case is not related to the previous reported cases and that the person is self-isolating and appropriate cleaning measures have been taken. There is no additional risk to the campus population at this time, according to the university.
Windsor Regional Hospital released a statement today that they have received the freezers it needs to store COVID-19 vaccines when they arrive. They have procured three -80 degree Celsius freezers which can each hold 400,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and four -25 degree Celsius freezers which can hold 140,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine. You can read the entire statement here.
Our Caucus has called for comprehensive inspections to be brought back into long-term homes, a year after the provincial government cut them. This call comes in response to a second interim recommendation letter from the Long Term Care Commission, which shows that a lack of inspections and infection prevention in nursing homes is causing more illness and death from COVID-19. The Commission confirmed that only 27 resident quality inspections (RQI) were conducted in 2019 after the provincial government cut them. Prior to that, each of Ontario’s roughly 640 nursing homes were supposed to be inspected annually, and hundreds were done every year. So far, 2,357 people have died in long-term care as a result of this pandemic.
Today, the provincial government’s vaccine task force held its inaugural meeting – just 10 days before vaccine rollout plans are due, and after other provinces have already released their plans. The task force will be responsible for overseeing the storage, delivery, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across Ontario. You can read more here.
There will be a virtual Christmas concert by Leamington and Kingsville kids tonight at 6pm. More than 20 volunteers, ranging from 8 to 16 years of age, participated and contributed their segments to make this concert possible. The virtual holiday concert will be viewable on YouTube here.
Please continue to wear a mask when out in public, continue to practice physical distancing of two metres, and wash your hands often.