As a friendly reminder, my staff and I are continuing to work remotely because of the provincial stay-at-home order, but we remain available to assist constituents with provincial matters. Please contact my Queens Park office at [email protected] or 416-325-6773 or my constituency office at [email protected] or 519-251-5199 , and we will return phone calls and emails as soon as possible.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 60 new COVID-19 cases in the region. Of the new cases announced, 11 are related to outbreaks, six are from close contact with another confirmed case, six are considered community spread, and 38 are under investigation. Our region now has a total of 629 active cases, 73 of those confirmed cases are in the hospital with 12 in the ICU. There are 12,159 total cases for our region, 11,214 cases listed as resolved, and 316 COVID-19 related deaths. The province reported 1,969 new COVID-19 cases today. On Sunday there were 1,848 cases, and on Saturday there were 2,063 cases.
The local health unit says more than 15,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered in our region and they have the capacity to vaccinate more than 10,000 people per day if supplies permit. According to the local health unit, about 650,000 doses of the vaccine are needed to ensure the population in our region gets two doses each. You can read more about the local vaccination effort here.
The provincial government announced they will offer asymptomatic testing for COVID-19 in schools across the province. Local health units will be responsible for identifying which schools should conduct the targeted asymptomatic testing. The Education Minister would not confirm if schools in hot regions, including Windsor-Essex, would be included in this new testing when classes resume on February 10.
It is disturbing that the provincial government is still refusing to implement missing measures to make schools safe, despite more infectious variants spreading. We all want kids safely back in school as quickly as possible. But especially with the new, more infectious variants in our communities, it’s worrisome that history may repeat itself, and if students and staff get sick, schools would have to close again. We need a provincially led, broad and comprehensive in-school testing plan. We need classes no bigger than 15 students. We need paid sick days and family leave days so parents can afford to keep kids at home if they’re sick or were potentially exposed. It’s frustrating and scary for this government to repeatedly announce half-measures instead of the comprehensive actions we know would protect students and staff.
The provincial government said they are now giving eligible teacher candidates the opportunity to take on work in Ontario’s education sector to address labour needs. To qualify for the Temporary Certificate of Qualification and Registration, the candidate must be enrolled in an Ontario Initial Teacher Education (ITE) program, have successfully completed a portion of the practicum, be making satisfactory progress in their program, and be scheduled or expected to complete the program by December 31, 2021. School boards can only use this new initiative if there are no occasional teachers available from their current lists. You can read more here.
The Ontario Community Support Program (OCSP) has been extended until 2022. The OCSP operates in communities across the province by matching volunteer services with seniors, people with disabilities and other vulnerable Ontarians through an online registration system. You can find more information here.
The deadline to apply for financial support under the government’s Support for Learners program is February 8, which is a week away today. The program provides one-time funding for parents to help offset costs during the school year. More information is available here.
The Ontario government is holding budget consultations and is asking the people of Ontario for their ideas on how to support families, workers, and business during COVID-19. The 2021 Budget Consultations will close on February 12. To learn how to submit your ideas by email, mail or by filling out a survey, click here.
A virtual rendition of Art In The Park is scheduled to take place this year due to COVID-19. The Rotary Club of Windsor has put the call out for exhibitors with applications being accepted until February 28. You can find more information and the application form here.
Please follow all public health guidelines to stop the spread of the virus, including staying home wearing a face mask when out in public for an essential trip, continuing to practice social distancing of two metres from other people (even if you are wearing a mask), and washing your hands often.