The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 131 new high risk cases, along with the loss of two members of the community. Due to the changes in eligibility for testing and limited testing capacity, the rise of Omicron cases, and the shifted focus of case, contact, and outbreak management to high-risk settings, these case counts are an underestimate of the true numbers of individuals who have COVID-19 within Windsor-Essex County. The health unit defines high-risk cases as those coming from individuals who are eligible for PCR testing in accordance with Ontario's current testing guidance. Yesterday there were 44 cases, and between Saturday and Tuesday there were 271 cases.
There are now 316 active high risk cases in our area, with 39 confirmed cases in the hospital, and nine in the ICU. There is one workplace outbreak, 11 community outbreaks, one hospital outbreak, and 10 outbreaks in long-term care/retirement homes. Locally, 86.1 per cent of individuals over the age of five have received at least one dose of the vaccine, 82.5 per cent have received two doses, and 53.2 per cent of residents over 18 have received their booster.
Today, Toronto reported 306 cases, Peel reported 195 cases, and Ottawa reported 187 cases. Across the province today there were 2,404 new cases of COVID-19, but health official warn this number is an underestimate due to testing restrictions. Yesterday there were 1,425 cases, and on Tuesday there were 1,282 cases. There have been a total of 1,093,930 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and there are currently 1,066 people in the hospital, with 302 people in the ICU.
Prior to Question Period this morning in the Legislature, our caucus met with the other three parties to discuss the attack on Ukraine this morning. Subsequently, our caucus released the following statement.
We stand with Ukraine and Ukrainians who call Ontario home. We stand with those who fear for their loved ones overseas. And we condemn the unprovoked attack by the Russian Federation and call for diplomacy and de-escalation of military actions. We must reaffirm our commitment to sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, within its internationally recognized borders, to its economic and financial stability, and to the wellbeing of its people. We ask the Prime Minister and the federal government to ensure that we welcome Ukrainian refugees, commit to family reunification, and provide humanitarian aid to the people of Ukraine to the best of our ability.
ADVOCATING FOR HEALTH CARE
Today, my caucus colleagues and I again called on the provincial governments to make investments to rebuild our world-class public health care system. According to the Canadian Press, they report that amid worsening ambulance offload delays in hospital emergency departments the provincial government sent a memo suggesting paramedic crews take care of multiple patients at a time. When your loved one is being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance, they need urgent care, not a plan to warehouse them in an ambulance bay or hallway with a single paramedic crew running back-and-forth between gurneys. These health care heroes are already exhausted, and deserve better than this. We need more beds, and tens of thousands more frontline health care workers to make sure care is available. Our health care system is on its knees, and we need the government to take action to fix it now.
STATE OF EMERGENCY LIFTED
The State of Emergency that was enacted by Mayor Dilkens earlier this month due to the blockade at the Ambassador Bridge has been lifted. You can read more here.
Yesterday, the province of Ontario lifted their State of Emergency which was put in place to help end the truck convoy protests. You can read more here.
The federal government also revoked the Emergencies Act, which was deployed in response to protests and blockades in Ottawa and at border crossings, saying the situation is no longer an emergency. You can read more here.
RAPID ANTIGEN TESTS
The provincial government announced that 5.5 million rapid antigen tests will be available across the province each week. You can find participating grocery stores and pharmacies here.
Health Canada has approved Medicago’s plant-based COVID-19 vaccine, Covifenz. The vaccine will be allowed for use in adults 18 to 64 years of age, and is the first vaccine to use plant-derived, virus-like particles, which resemble the coronavirus behind COVID-19 but don’t contain its genetic material. This vaccine is a two-dose shot, and is said to have an efficacy rate against all virus variants studied at 71 per cent. You can read more here.
First, second, and third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are available at one of the three mass vaccination sites, located in the former Sears store at Devonshire Mall, at Hotel-Dieu Grace HealthCare, and at the Grovedale House Community Hall in Kingsville. All mass vaccination sites are now accepting walk-ins. Moreover, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is now available for individuals aged 30 years and older at any vaccination site. Grovedale House is open from 9am to 3:45pm Tuesday to Saturday for pre-booked or walk-in appointments. Hotel Dieu's clinic will be available from 2:30pm to 6:30pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. To book an appointment, please visit www.wevax.ca.
Please continue to stay safe and follow public health guidelines.