The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 163 new high risk cases today, along with the passing of three members of our 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. Yesterday there were 158 new cases, and on Wednesday there were 186 new cases. There are now 728 active high risk cases in the area, with 70 confirmed cases in the hospital, and 11 in the ICU. There are 13 workplace outbreaks, 22 community outbreaks, eight hospital outbreaks, and 21 outbreaks in long-term care/retirement homes. Locally, 85.6 per cent of individuals over the age of five have received at least one dose of vaccine, 81.3 per cent have received two doses, and 51.4 per cent of residents over 18 have received their booster.
Today, Toronto reported 676 cases, Peel reported 389 cases, and Hamilton reported 190 cases. Across the province today there were 4,047 new cases, but health officials have warned that number is an underestimate due to testing limitations. Yesterday there were 4,098 cases, and on Wednesday there were 3,909 cases. The total number of cases across the province since the pandemic began is 1,047,970, and there are currently 2,634 people in the hospital, with 517 in the ICU.
UPDATE FROM CHIEF PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICER
Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer said today that the country needs to find a more sustainable way to deal with the pandemic and future variants, recognizing that the virus is not going to disappear. She is calling for a longer-term, sustained approach that focuses on capacity building so we are not in crisis mode every time there is an outbreak. Instead, she says our efforts should focus on preventing severe cases through vaccinations and we should be focusing on deploying as many booster shots as possible. You can read more here.
LONG-TERM CARE HOME RESTRICTIONS
The provincial government announced that visitor restrictions at long-term care homes will ease on Monday, allowing the number of designated caregivers per resident to increase from two to four, though only two can visit at a time. Residents who have had at least three doses of the vaccine will also be allowed to resume social day trips. General visits from people five years and older who have had at least two doses of the vaccine will be allowed to resume on February 21. You can read more here.
COVID-19 IN SCHOOLS
Ontario families and children have endured over two years of upheaval, isolation and loss. The impacts to kids' mental, emotional, and academic health are immense, and we are far from out of the woods. Following a report by People for Education on the government’s education policies in response to COVID-19, my caucus colleagues and I have again called on the provincial government to make the necessary investments to help our kids get back on track. The government of Ontario has initiated no vision and provided zero guidelines to assess and address the effects of the pandemic on students, and every legislative effort by our caucus, such as my colleague MPP Marit Stiles’ bill to establish a COVI-19 Child and Youth Recover Action Plan, has been stymied at every turn. We must do more to help protect our children and ensure they can get the education they deserve.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunizations has said that it is beneficial for people who have been infected with COVID to complete their vaccinations. According to the NACI, individuals who were infected before starting or completing their two doses should get their next dose eight weeks after symptoms began, or after testing positive if they were asymptomatic. Those who were infected after receiving two doses should get their booster shot three moths after the onset of symptoms or after testing positive if asymptomatic. You can read more here.
The local health unit now has a full year of data on COVID-19 vaccines, and have said that with over 793,000 doses given, there were only 156 emergency department visits due to reactions, with only two patients who were admitted to hospital for further treatment. Windsor Regional Hospital Chief of Staff, Dr. Saad, wants to reassure anyone who is vaccine hesitant that they are safe and the benefits far outweigh the risks. 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 Nature Fresh Farms Recreation Centre in Leamington. 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. Nature Fresh will have appointments for Tuesday to Saturday between 9 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. Hotel Dieu's clinic will be available from 2:30pm to 6:30pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday; and from 12pm to 4pm on Tuesday and Friday. To book an appointment, please visit www.wevax.ca.
Pop-up vaccination clinics will be available at the following locations next week:
- Monday February 7 – Hospice of Windsor Pop-Up Vaccination Clinic – 6038 Empress St, Windsor – 9am to 3pm
- Monday February 7 – Herman Academy Pop-up Vaccination Clinic – 1905 Bernard Rd S, Windsor – 1:30pm to 6pm
- Tuesday February 8 – South Asian Centre of Windsor Pop-up Vaccination Clinic – 4045 Seminole Rd, Windsor – 9:30am to 4pm
- Tuesday February 8 – Atlas Tube Recreation Centre Pop-Up Vaccination Clinic – 447 Renaud Line, Maidstone – 10am to 3pm
- Tuesday February 8 – CMHA Pop-Up Vaccination Clinic – 1400 Windsor Ave, Windsor – 1pm to 4pm
- Wednesday February 9 – Cardinal Carter High School Pop-Up Vaccination Clinic – 120 Ellison Ave, Leamington – 2:15pm to 6pm
- Wednesday February 9 – Catholic Central High School Pop-Up Vaccination Clinic – 441 Tecumseh Rd E, Windsor – 3pm to 6pm
- Thursday February 10 – Mackenzie Hall Pop-Up Vaccination Clinic – 3277 Sandwich St, Windsor – 9am to 3pm
- Thursday February 10 – Consulate of Mexico Pop-Up Vaccination Clinic – 350 Hwy 77, Leamington – 2pm to 6pm
- Friday February 11 – St. Clair College Downtown Campus Pop-Up Vaccination Clinic – 201 Riverside Dr. W, Windsor – 9am to 3:30pm
- Friday February 11 – Windsor Essex Hospice (Leamington) Pop-Up Vaccination Clinic – 197 Talbot St W, Suite 701, Leamington – 10am to 3pm
UNEMPLOYMENT RATE ON THE RISE
According to Statistics Canada, the economy lost 200,000 jobs in January, pushing the national unemployment rate to 6.5 per cent, up from 5.9 per cent. The unemployment rate in Windsor went up as well, jumping to 8.2 per cent in January, from 6.9 per cent in December. The province’s unemployment rate for January was 7.3 per cent, up from 6.1 per cent in December. You can read more here.
Please continue to stay safe and follow public health guidelines.