The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 35 new COVID-19 cases and one death today. Of the new cases announced, two are related to outbreak, four are from close contacts with another confirmed case, and 29 are under investigation. Our region now has 2,673 active cases, bringing our total to 11,057, with 8,128 cases listed as resolved, 119 confirmed cases in the hospital with 18 in the ICU, and 256 deaths. Across the province, there were 2,578 cases reported today, 3,422 cases on Sunday, and 3,056 cases on Saturday.
Medical Officer of Health Dr. Ahmed commented on the lower case numbers locally, saying that it could be due to the high volume of tests and possible results being prioritized in a different way, leading to a day-to-day fluctuation in our daily case counts. Dr. Ahmed emphasized that we are not out of the woods and our region remains one of the worst affected in the province. You can read more here.
This past Saturday, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, announced that the Reopening Ontario Act emergency orders have been extended until February 19. You can read the announcement here.
As hospitals continue to fill beyond capacity, the provincial government has issued a triage protocol to decide who will get lifesaving ventilator support, and who will not. This comes from a document shared by physicians and was written in secret, without consultation. This document shows us all that we are on the path to heart-wrenching choices and devastating loss if we don’t make this lockdown count with stronger measures – paid sick days, more help in long-term care, and in-workplace and in-school testing. You can read the triage protocol document here.
In addition to the triage document, the Ontario government posted a new legal requirement for health care workers to accept shifts providing relief in private retirement residences, raising concerns that the government is hiding the extent of the growing crisis in those homes. We have been calling for the government to make every outbreak and the number of cases in retirement homes public and implement in-home testing for residents and staff of retirement homes, put infection prevention and control experts in those homes, inspect them regularly, and speed up vaccinations of vulnerable people. We have also called for paid sick days for every staff person in those homes, along with everyone else in the province, and to give all frontline workers pandemic pay.
Windsor Regional Hospital released a reminder that same-day appointments are available for any individual who is seeking a test for COVID-19 and meets the criteria to receive one. To find more information and details on how to book, please visit their website here.
An outbreak has been declared at the Dr. Y. Emara Centre for Healthy Aging and Mobility at Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare. Two staff and three patients tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend, but the outbreak is contained to the third-floor north unit.
The Ontario government announced $125 million in funding to add more than 500 critical care beds across the province, though it is not clear if the new beds announced today will be reserved exclusively for COVID-19 patients. The new beds are to be in addition to 3,100 critical care beds that were funded as part of the province’s COVID-19 response. The province said they are working with Ontario Health to identify the hospitals most in need. You can read more here.
The Ontario government also announced today that starting January 25, francophone non-profit organizations can begin applying for financial assistance through the COVID-19 Relief Fund to help with operational costs. For more information, click here.
The deadline to apply for financial support under the government’s Support for Learners program is February 8 and provides one-time funding for parents to help offset costs during the school year. More information is available here.
Our Lady of Assumption Church, through their Assumption Cares program, is available to help tutor students from JK to Grade 12 with homework during the pandemic. For more information or to apply to volunteer or receive help, visit their website here.
The University of Windsor and Air Canada have a new agreement to help international students find affordable flights. University officials will email details of this agreement, including information on how to book flights, to the international students. You can read the full article here.
As a reminder, for the safety of my staff and the public, my office is not taking appointments for in-office visits but will remain available to assist constituents with provincial matters by telephone 519-251-5199 and email at [email protected] or [email protected]. Staff will be working remotely, so you may have to leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Please follow all public health guidelines to stop the spread of the virus, including wearing a face mask when out in public, continuing to practice social distancing of two metres from other people, and washing your hands often.