The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has announced 20 new COVID-19 cases today and two more deaths linked to the virus – both deaths were from the community. Of the new cases announced, four are related to outbreaks, four are from close contact with another confirmed case, six are considered community spread, one is travel related outside of north America, and five are under investigation. There are now 12,253 total cases in our region, with 402 active cases, 59 confirmed cases in hospital with nine in the ICU, 11,517 cases listed as resolved, and 334 deaths. Across the province today there were 1,563 new cases and 88 deaths, which is the second most recorded deaths on a single day. On Wednesday there were 1,172 cases, and on Tuesday there were 745 cases. The province said yesterday that these lower numbers are likely attributable to data errors that are affecting the count.
A reminder that the deadline to apply for financial support under the government’s Support for Learners program is February 8, which is Monday. The program provides one-time funding for parents to help offset costs during the school year. More information is available here.
With in-class learning scheduled to resume on Monday next week, local teachers at both the elementary and secondary levels have spoken out about their reservations, saying that not much has changed to provide added protections to students or staff. My colleagues and I continue to call on the provincial government to cap class sizes at 15 students, provide upgrades to schools for more infection control, such as touchless faucets, and provide paid sick days to ensure nobody has to work if they have COVID-19. You can read more here and here.
The Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board is giving parents another opportunity to change their child’s learning model. Parent declaration dates for elementary schools will open March 22 to 26 with year-end placements beginning for students on April 12. You can find more information here.
The local health unit said they are continuing to administer the second doses of the Moderna vaccine to residents in long-term care homes despite waiting for delayed second shipments from the province. Theresa Marentette, CEO of the health unit, said they expect to receive the shipment before the weekend is over. You can read more here.
Windsor Regional Hospital is partnering with the University of Windsor to establish a future COVID-19 vaccination site in downtown Windsor in the Windsor Hall building. The building houses the university’s School of Social Work and Department of Continuing Education. Vaccinations will continue at the St. Clair College Sportsplex but this building will allow for expanded capacity and will serve as a backup plan should the St. Clair Sportsplex be again required for use as a field hospital. You can read more here.
The local health unit has sent a letter to the federal government to ask that they take the responsibility for managing and overseeing the 14-day quarantine period for migrant farm workers arriving in Ontario to work. Currently, this responsibility is on the local farms who employ the workers. Dr. Ahmed, the chief medical officer of health for our region, confirmed that one migrant worker who arrived since January has tested positive while in quarantine. You can read more here.
The provincial government said they are providing $2 million through the Ontario Together Fund to help commercialize and accelerate production of a new airborne COVID-19 detector Kontrol BioCloud from CEM Specialties Inc. This new technology is said to help monitor the air in real time and could be used in places such as schools, long-term care homes, hospitals and public transit. You can read the government’s new release here for more information.
The Solicitor General’s office this morning updated their pandemic regulations to allow pet groomers to reopen for certain services. Groomers are permitted to reopen to provide services necessary to prevent “foreseeable and reasonably imminent” veterinary care and must be by appointment only, through curbside pickup, and groomers are only permitted to take one animal at a time. As with any other business, we recommend that all dog groomers reach out to the local bylaw officers to be sure they will be in compliance under the updated regulation before resuming operations. You can find the new regulation and specific wording 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.