The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported 41 new cases of COVID-19 today along with two additional deaths in the community. Of the new cases announced today, 11 are related to outbreaks, 11 are from close contact with another confirmed cases, seven are considered community spread and 12 are under investigation. Our region now has a total of 12,294 cases, with 405 active cases, 53 confirmed cases in the hospital with 10 in the ICU, 11,553 cases considered resolved, and 336 deaths. Across the province today there were 1,670 new COVID-19 cases. On Thursday there were 1,563 cases, and on Wednesday there were 1,172 cases.
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.
Windsor Regional Hospital’s chief of staff warned that other variants of COVID-19 could become the dominant strains by March. Dr. Saad said that the key to avoiding the third-wave is dependent on mass vaccination rollouts and continuing to follow public health measures. Our caucus continues to call for a more robust vaccine strategy to be put in place. We must ensure all Ontarians should have access to information including the priority order of all long-term care and congregate care settings, how people are being notified when they are eligible for the vaccine, how proof-of-vaccination is going to work, benchmark timeline goals and more. We are calling on the government to be fully transparent with the vaccine rollout.
The Premier is expected to make an announcement next week with details on reopening the economy, as the state of emergency is set to expire on Tuesday February 9. Ontario’s Solicitor General said no decisions have been made regarding whether to end or extend the emergency order. The medical officer of health for Windsor-Essex, Dr. Ahmed, has said that there is no update on what restrictions might look like if and when the order is lifted.
The provincial government said they are considering cancelling March break this year in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. While the Minister of Education said he is still waiting on the advice of the province’s chief medical officer of health before making any final decisions, educators and parents have already said this move could lead to massive burnout. You can read more here.
The provincial government has announced that applications are now open for a two-year $115 million Skills Development Fund which is intended to support workers and apprentices. It is designed to address the challenges from COVID-19 and help reduce obstacles in hiring, training, and retaining. For more information and to submit an application, please visit here. The deadline to apply is February 28.
Statistics Canada has said the jobless rate in Windsor decreased in January to 10.3 per cent, down from 11.2 per cent in December. On a national level, unemployment rose to 9.4 per cent, the highest since August. This national rate is 4.5 per cent short of employment levels in February last year just before the first wave of the pandemic. You can read more 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.