The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit announced 34 new cases of COVID-19 today along with two additional deaths in the community. Of the new cases announced, five are related to outbreaks, 12 are from close contact with another confirmed case, 11 are considered community spread, and six are under investigation. Our region now has 260 active cases in the community, bringing our total to 12,899, 47 confirmed cases in the hospital with four in the ICU, 12,261 cases listed as resolved, and 378 deaths. Across the province today there were 1,138 cases. On Wednesday there were 1,054 cases, and on Tuesday there were 975 cases.
New modelling suggests that highly contagious variants of COVID-19 are expected to make up about 40 per cent of all cases by the second week of March, which will lead to a likely increase in daily infections and hospitalizations. A worst-case scenario projects that the province could see 4,000 new infections daily by the end of next month, while a best-case scenario could see a decrease to about 500 daily infections. You can read more here.
The Greater Essex County District School Board is reporting another case of COVID-19 at Central Public School. The student who has tested positive and close contacts have been notified and the school board is following the direction of the local health unit. A staff member tested positive at the school earlier this week. Parents are reminded to check their kids for symptoms each morning and to keep them home if they are sick.
The local health unit has identified another possible COVID-19 exposure point within the community. For up-to-date information about these potential exposure points, please visit the health unit’s website here.
The new emergency shelter at the Windsor International Aquatic and Training Centre opened today. The temporary shelter has a capacity of 75 people and was open in response to two COVID-19 outbreaks among people experiencing homelessness at The Downtown Mission and the Salvation Army. There have been 115 cases of COVID-19 associated with shelters. You can read more here.
The provincial government will be providing a $2,000 tuition grant to 2,200 existing Personal Support Worker students at St. Clair College. The program currently runs over two semesters with eight months of training, but that will be cut back to six months. You can read more here. Our caucus has been calling for the provincial government to hire 10,000 more PSWs to help protect our families and loved ones in long-term care during the pandemic, as well as provide a $4 an hour permanent increase to their wages to help retain and attract new PSWs.
It has been revealed that the provincial government withheld 217,000 documents from the Long-Term Care Commission until last week – eight weeks before the Commission’s report is due, making it impossible for them to read them all before filing their final report. In addition, Chief Medical Officer of Health for the province, Dr. Williams, tried to black-out much of his own notes before turning them over to the Commission, and an arbitrator had to order Dr. Williams to hand over an unredacted version. This makes it very clear that the provincial government is trying to hide their response to COVID-19 in Ontario’s nursing homes. We continue to call for the Commission to be allowed to keep working until the end of 2021 so that we can get the answers that will help prevent this kind of disaster from ever happening again.
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.