The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has announced 21 new COVID-19 cases today and two additional deaths linked to the virus – one from a long-term care home and one from the community. Of the new cases announced, two are related to outbreaks, two are from close contact with another confirmed case, three are considered community spread, and 14 are under investigation. Our region now has 12,470 recorded cases, with 263 considered active, 40 confirmed cases in the hospital with 13 in the ICU, 11,855 cases listed as resolved, and 352 deaths. Across the province today there were 1,076 new cases reported. On Thursday there were 945 cases and on Wednesday there were 1,072 cases.
Dr. Ahmed is encouraging everyone to celebrate Family Day virtually this year and not meet in person. We are still under a Stay-At-Home Order until Tuesday, and it is important to follow all public health safety precautions.
Our region will be moving into the Red-Control category of the province’s Reopening Ontario Act as of Tuesday February 16. While some restrictions are lifted in this category compared to the Grey-Lockdown category, people should still only be going out for essential reasons such as work, school, groceries, pharmacy, health care, helping vulnerable people, exercise and physical activity. The full list of what will be open when we enter the Red-Control category can be found here. If you have questions about what is allowed to reopen, please call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.
With the Legislature set to return next Tuesday, our caucus has released our urgent legislative agenda to get people the help they need to make it through the pandemic. We will be pushing for a package of nine solutions to help everyday families, working folks, small businesses, seniors, and vulnerable people. We are asking all members of the legislature to support these and get them passed in the House. These solutions include paid sick days, a ban on evictions, a bill to ensure a minimum of four hours of hands-on daily attention and care for nursing home residents, a motion for safer schools, and a motion to help small businesses with things like rent subsidies.
An outbreak has been declared at Windsor’s Downtown Mission where 11 staff members and six guests have tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday. All mission services will be suspended with the exception of the emergency shelter until the outbreak is rescinded. The food and clothing bank will not be accepting donations during this period either. Only those staying at the mission will be allowed into the building.
The President of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation District 9 has said that the government didn’t contact unions or the school boards before making the decision to delay the spring break until April. Instead of delaying the break, the Ford government should make it safe – and make schools safer than they are today. We continue to call on this government to introduce a comprehensive in-school COVID-19 testing program, cap class sizes at 15 students, make the investment for better ventilation and things like touch-free faucets in schools, and pass our bill to provide paid sick days and family-care days so parents can afford to keep children at home if they may have the virus.
Dr. Ahmed has said that nearly 12,000 people have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine continues to be administered at long-term care and retirement homes. Windsor Regional Hospital is handling the Pfizer vaccine rollout, while the local health unit is handling the Moderna rollout. The health unit has said they hope to be able to complete administering the second doses of the Moderna vaccine in long-term care homes by February 18. You can read more here.
The Prime Minister announced an update schedule for the delivery of the Pfizer vaccines, saying that Canada would receive four million promised doses by the end of March. Combined with the expected Moderna vaccines, Canada should receive six million doses by the end of March. Additionally, Pfizer will provide Canada with 10.8 million doses between April and June and the federal government has come to an agreement with Moderna to secure another four million doses over the summer.
The Ontario government announced they will be restarting in-vehicle passenger road tests on Tuesday February 16 at most DriveTest centres across the province. Road tests will not be starting in public health unit regions that are still subject to a Stay-At-Home order or in regions that are in Grey-Lockdown zones. Strict public health and workplace safety measures will be in place for all in-vehicle passenger road tests to prevent the spread of COVID-19. You can read the government’s announcement here for more information.
As of February 15, non-essential travellers that enter through a land border will require proof of a valid COVID-19 test taken in the U.S. within 72 hours prior to arrival. As of February 22, anyone entering the country through a land crossing will be required to use a suitable quarantine plan prior to crossing the border and will have to take two additional tests – one at entry and one at the end of the 14-day quarantine period. For air travel, a COVID-19 test will be required as of February 22, both before exiting the airport and at the end of the 14-day quarantine period, as is a stay at a government-approved hotel for three nights while waiting for test results. You can read more on these new travel regulations here.
Please stay diligent and continue following public health advice by staying at home, only going out for essential trips, wearing a mask and practicing physical distancing of 2 metres apart at all times when around others who live outside your household, and washing your hands frequently.