The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit announced 57 new cases of COVID-19 and another death today. Of the new cases, 11 are listed as close contact with a confirmed case, two involve local health care workers, one involves an agri-farm worker, and 43 are still under investigation. Our region now has 491 active cases, bringing the total number to 4,111 cases, 3,526 resolved cases, and 84 deaths. The province reported 1,676 cases of COVID-19 today. On Monday there were 1,925 cases, on Sunday there were 1,924 cases and on Saturday there were 1,859 cases.
Dr. Ahmed, Medical Officer of Health for Windsor-Essex, released the following statement:
“Since we moved to Control - Red Level on November 30, we’ve reported a total of 425 COVID-19 cases. Despite the restrictions from the Restrict – Orange Level and now the Control – Red Level of the provincial COVID-19 response framework, our case counts are not changing.
Based on the data, our case rates are comparable to the areas that are in the Lockdown – Grey Level. We are on the verge of having the local health system capacity get overwhelmed. To provide more context on the most recent rapid rise in cases,
- It took us 81 days to reach 1,000 cases.
- In just over 45 days, Windsor and Essex County numbers rose from 1,000 to 2,000 cases.
- It took us 114 days to go from 2,000 to 3,000 cases in our area.
- Most recently, our cases have increased at such a rapid rate that it has only taken us 25 days to go to 4,000 cases from 3,000.
While we are getting assistance from the province to support COVID-19 contact tracing and case management, we need YOUR support. Please follow the public health measures and help the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit by:
- Self-monitor for symptoms every day.
- Download the COVID alert app
- Limit the number of close contacts.
- Restrict all non-essential visits.
- Physically distance at all times with anyone who you do not live with.
- Develop a plan if your family members are diagnosed with COVID-19 or exhibit symptoms suggestive of the virus. Think about an isolation plan, work plans, grocery plans, and for any other essential needs.
- Try and maintain a diary of all activities including a list of all individuals you are meeting to help public health identify possible source of acquisition and identify high risk contacts for containing the disease and prevent any further transmission.
- Prepare a plan to notify your close contacts, based on your diary of activities, and high risk close contacts.
If you develop symptoms or are identified as a close contact of a confirmed case:
- Do not wait for public health to get in touch with you. Please implement isolation plans for your family immediately. Here is a great resource from the Public Health Agency of Canada on how to isolate at home when you may have COVID-19
- If you haven’t been tested, go get tested immediately and seek healthcare support as needed. Call 911 in an emergency.
- When your test is confirmed, notify all close contacts such as your workplace or school while waiting for public health to complete their investigation.
- Monitor your symptoms daily.
- Do not leave home when self-isolating for any reason other than any medical concerns with permission from public health.
This is a difficult time for all of us and every decision we make has an impact that not only affects us personally, but it also affects our family members and our community in general. As much as I want to share more happy news with you and to tell you that the risk of COVID-19 in our community is low, I can’t. The risk of acquiring COVID-19 in our community is increasing at a rapid rate and will continue to increase unless we follow all the public health measures and most importantly limit our number of close contacts.”
The Medical Officer of Health wants the region to be a priority area for the COVID-19 vaccine when it rolls out. This is because our region has the fourth highest number of COVID-19 case rates in the province, and we have roughly 6,000 people who cross the Canada/U.S. border for work.
David Musyj, President and CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital said that if the province announces a lockdown for our region on Friday it should take effect immediately – rather than on Monday – to avoid a potential weekend shopping rush which could lead to a spike in cases. WRH is currently near 100 per cent capacity. You can read more here.
There were new cases of COVID-19 reported in schools. Eastwood Public School had one student test positive and close contacts have been notified and are following the direction of the health unit. An outbreak was declared at General Brock Public School after two confirmed cases of the virus were reported in a single classroom. The health unit said the entire cohort has been dismissed on November 30, is considered high risk, and are being asked to isolate for 14 days along with getting a COVID-19 test. St. Gabriel Catholic Elementary School also had one student test positive and a cohort of about 46 students has been dismissed. CSC Providence has identified two cases of COVID-19 at L'Essor Secondary School. Both boards will be working with the Health Unit to contact the families of students who may have been affected.
Our Caucus released a statement today saying the $12 billion the provincial government has been withholding from the people of Ontario could be making a big difference in stopping the spread and saving lives. The fact that the government is sitting on $12 billion in COVID-19 funds — most of it money given to the province by the federal government — was revealed in a new report by the Financial Accountability Office (FAO) Tuesday. This money could be providing paid sick days, helping small businesses with the rent, investing in more testing and contact tracing, setting up more hospital capacity and isolation centres, and giving our kids smaller, safer classes, but instead, the provincial government is withholding it from the people of Ontario.
The provincial government announced that they are planning to issue some kind of proof-of-vaccination card to those who receive their shots. While the vaccination will be voluntary, the Minister of Health said that the proof-of-vaccination card “will be important to have, for travel purposes and perhaps work purposes or going to theatres or cinemas or any other places where people will be in close physical contact…”. You can read more here.
Please continue to wear a mask when out in public, continue to practice physical distancing of two metres, and wash your hands often.