The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 44 new cases of COVID-19 today. Of the new cases announced, 16 are related to outbreaks, eight are from close contact with another confirmed case, four are considered community spread, and 16 are under investigation. Our region now has 306 active cases, bringing the total number to 12,606 cases, 33 confirmed cases in the hospital with 11 in the ICU, 11,945 cases listed as resolved, and 355 deaths. Across the province today there were 904 new cases. On Monday there were 964 cases, on Sunday there were 981 cases, and on Saturday there were 1,300 cases.
Our region entered into the Red-Control category of the province’s Reopening Ontario Act today. 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 is open when under 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.
Our office is receiving a large volume of calls from people asking when they can get vaccinated. The local health unit has worked with community partners to develop a local plan to distribute the vaccine widely when more vaccines arrive in our region. There is no existing waiting list to receive the vaccine. The local health unit will provide updates on vaccine availability as more vaccines arrive. You can view the vaccine roll-out plan here. You can stay up to date with local vaccine availability by visiting the local health unit's website here or by signing up for their email alerts here.
With the Legislature resuming today for the first time since the beginning of December, our caucus called on all MPPs to pass three bills to help give people the help they need to get through the pandemic. We called for unanimous consent to pass MPP Sattler’s bill to provide workers with paid sick days, MPP Gretzky’s bill to guarantee that essential caregivers can’t be separated from their loved ones that need their help in long-term care and congregate care settings, and MPP Armstrong’s bill to guarantee a minimum of 4.1 hours of hands-on care per resident per day in long-term care. The provincial government voted against immediately passing these bills, ignoring pleas from families, workers and health experts, and instead choosing to prioritize money over people.
Windsor Regional Hospital has been informed that the latest Pfizer vaccine shipment that was expected today has been delayed due to the heavy snow we’ve received. The shipment is now expected to arrive tomorrow. The hospital has advised anyone who was scheduled to receive the vaccine today or tomorrow morning to check their appointment time as changes have been made.
The City of Windsor has announced that the WFCU Centre is being assessed as a possible site for a mass vaccination clinic. Windsor Regional Hospital is using the St. Clair College Sportsplex to administer vaccines currently, and has already secured Windsor Hall downtown to allow for expanded capacity and to serve as a backup plan in case the Sportsplex is required for use as a field hospital again. You can read more here.
The City of Windsor announced they will be reopening outdoor skating rinks now that we have moved into the Red-Control category. Charles Clark Square is expected to open by February 22 while Lanspeary Lions Rink will open by tomorrow evening. The city has also said they will be taking additional precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by allowing only 10 skaters on the ice per session and all other COVID-19 protocols will be in place, including physical distancing and wearing a mask. You can read more here.
Open Air Weekends are returning to Amherstburg this coming summer. The decision was made at city council by an unanimous vote during the 2021 budget deliberations. A timeline for the launch of the program for this year is still being finalized. You can read more 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.
- Percy Hatfield