A final reminder that the deadline to apply for the Support for Learners program is today. If you haven’t already applied, you may wish to do so as soon as possible to avoid any issues: https://www.ontario.ca/page/get-support-learners.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported 40 new COVID-19 cases today. Of the new cases, three are related to outbreaks, 19 are from close contact with another confirmed case, four are considered community spread, and 14 are under investigation. There are now 388 active cases, bring the total number up to 12,374 in our region, 51 confirmed cases in the hospital with 10 in the ICU, 11,643 listed as resolved and 343 deaths. Across the province today there were 1,265 new cases reported. On Sunday there were 1,489 cases and on Saturday there were 1,388 cases.
The provincial government announced the gradual reopening of the economy today, as the state of emergency will be allowed to expire as scheduled tomorrow. A stay-at-home order will remain in effect in Windsor-Essex until at least February 16, as all regions gradually transition back to the government’s colour-coded restrictions system over the next few weeks. One notable change from the government’s plan once the stay at home order is lifted is to allow for non-essential businesses to reopen with limited capacity. Limited in-person shopping in Grey-Lockdown zones will be permitted with public health and safety measures, such as limiting capacity to 25 per cent in most retail settings. There is also a new provision, being referred to as an “emergency brake”, to allow for public health units to be moved immediately into the Grey-Lockdown category if the region experiences a rapid acceleration of in COVID-19. You can read more here: https://windsor.ctvnews.ca/windsor-essex-to-remain-under-stay-at-home-order-until-feb-16-1.5299848. As always, this information is not definitive, and things are subject to change depending on the current public health circumstances. If you have questions, please refer to the relevant regulations or call the Stop the Spread Information line at 1-888-444-3659. Help is available from Monday to Sunday, from 8:30 a.m.―5:00 p.m.
The provincial government needs to take the additional steps to make the re-opening safe by investing in public health measures that stop the spread. We’re all paying the price because the Premier keeps making the same mistakes. He didn’t want to invest in long-term care, so the second wave claimed more lives than the first. He didn’t invest in more testing, tracing, and public health protections, so businesses have opened only to be forced to shut down again. We can’t repeat the same mistakes as last time, and we need the proper investments now so we stop repeating the cycle of sickness and lockdowns. We need to invest in paid sick leave for all workers, more staff and infection control in long-term care, in-workplace COVID-19 testing, and a comprehensive in-school testing program. People deserve hope that this lockdown will be the last lockdown, and that their family members will be safe this time.
The local health unit says they have received their second shipment of the Moderna vaccine and expects to administer the final doses at seniors’ homes by February 18. You can read more here: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/windsor-essex-covid19-feb8-1.5905327. Many of you are asking when you will receive the vaccine, particularly those who were missed and otherwise eligible to receive the vaccine in the first phase of the rollout. We continue to seek clarification on the Ministry and local health unit’s plan.
Our education critic, MPP Marit Stiles, issued the following statement on March Break:
“The Premier owes families and educators certainty, clear messaging, and action. Before last Spring Break he told people to travel – and the virus ran rampant in Ontario as a result. This winter he delayed the lockdown until after holiday shopping and sent mixed messages around holiday gatherings — and, again, the virus ran rampant in Ontario as a result. This time, educators and families are looking for certainty that this break is going ahead, as well as clear messages, and investments in schools to stop the spread.” We know that students, parents, teachers and education workers are exhausted, they’re burning out, and desperately need a break. We have to find a way to give everyone a Spring Break that’s safe. This isn’t only about learning goals – it’s about mental and emotional health, too.
Canada’s first known case of the coronavirus variant first detected in Brazil has been reported in Toronto. Two cases of the South African variant were previously confirmed in the province. Medical professionals are concerned that these new variants are more transmissible and research is ongoing to better understand them. You can read more here: https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/toronto-reports-canada-s-first-known-case-of-covid-19-variant-first-seen-in-brazil-1.5299345
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.