The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit announced 13 new cases of COVID-19 today and one additional death. Of the new cases announced, one cases was related to an outbreak, two cases were from close contact with another confirmed case, two cases were related to travel outside North America, two cases are considered community spread, and six cases are under investigation. Our region now has 299 active cases, bringing the total to 12,784, 43 people in the hospital with 5 in the ICU, 12,112 cases resolved, and 373 deaths. Across the province today there were 1,058 new COVID-19 cases. On Sunday there were 1,087 cases, and on Saturday there were 1,228 cases.
A new potential public point of exposure was announced today by the local health unit. You can find a complete list of potential public exposure sites here, along with the dates of exposure.
The local health unit has received a new industrial-sized freezer, donated by Chapman’s Canada to support the region’s COVID-19 vaccination roll-out. The health unit has said that the freezer will be used to store the Pfizer vaccine, which requires a colder temperature at -70 degrees Celsius. The local health unit has a newly updated section of their website with further information about the local vaccine roll-out plan. You can find it here.
Today in the Legislature our caucus forced a vote on our proposal to extend the Long-Term Care Commission’s deadline so that it could finish its work to determine what went wrong in long-term care during the pandemic, and make recommendations to ensure it never happens again. In December, the commission requested an extension to the end of 2021. The provincial government denied the request, so the commission had to stop accepting submissions as of Jan. 31, 2021. We called for an independent judicial Public Inquiry into long-term care rather than a commission in part so that the provincial government would not have the right to time-limit or shut down the investigation. Unfortunately, the government voted against our proposal.
The provincial government announced they are investing $4.1 million to help train 373 new Personal Support workers. Our caucus has been calling on the provincial government to hire 10,000 more PSWs to address shortages we see across the province in providing adequate care in Long-Term Care homes. In addition, today our caucus again introduced a motion to give all Personal Support Workers a permanent $4 an hour raise – a start on the better wages they deserve. For the second time in less than a week, the provincial government voted against this proposal. All PSWs should have a decent, well-paying, full-time jobs. Decades of government underfunding for long-term care has left PSWs understaffed, underpaid, and overwhelmed. PSWs are going through extraordinary lengths to care for people during the pandemic, all without the support and wages they deserve.
Canada is expecting to receive more than 640,000 vaccines, total, from Pfizer and Moderna next week. This will be the largest shipment we have received to date. You can read more here.
Health Canada has said that the review of the AstraZeneca vaccine is in the final stages of review. The regulator has apparently received all the necessary scientific information from the company but is looking into questions about labelling and the product monograph, which is information disseminated by Health Canada to medical professionals about how and when a vaccine should be administered and to whom.
Erie Shores HealthCare announced that they are ramping up service and resuming some visitation after our region entered the Red-Control category of the reopening framework. Access to surgical services and diagnostic imaging is resuming today, and one essential visitor will be allowed for inpatients in one of three blocks daily with some restrictions. The visitor blocks are 10am-12pm, 2pm-4pm, and 6pm-8pm. Proper PPE and physical distancing is required for all visitors. You can read more here.
As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak at the Downtown Mission, a new temporary shelter will be opening at the Windsor International Aquatic and Training Centre to help support this vulnerable population. The facility will be in use until the Health Unit determines it is safe to return to the Downtown Mission site. For more information, click here.
The local health unit said they issued six charges to local businesses for violating COVID-19 restrictions during our first week back in the Red-Control category. Four restaurants were charged with exceeding capacity limits and two personal service businesses were charged with non-compliance with masking requirements. You can read the full article here.
The new health and safety measures at our airports and borders took effect today. This includes a mandatory three-day hotel quarantine for most travellers landing at Canadian airports, paid for by the traveller, as well as multiple COVID-19 tests in the days after they arrive in Canada. Travellers arriving at land borders will be given self-swab kits and testing will be provided on-site at five high-volume border crossings. You can find the complete details here.
Outdoor skating at Charles Clark Square resumed today with a limit of 10 skaters able to be on the ice at one time, and mandatory face covering and social distancing rules in place. Ice time must be reserved. You can find more information 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.