The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 140 new cases of COVID-19 today, along with the loss of two members of our community. Yesterday there were 297 cases, and on Sunday there were 576 cases. Today, Toronto, reported 1,649 cases, Peel reported 1,143 cases, while Hamilton and Middlesex-London both reported less than 400 cases. There are now 3,323 active cases of COVID-19 in our community, with 69 confirmed cases in the hospital, and 16 in the ICU. Of the new cases announced today, three are from close contact with another confirmed case, 16 are considered community spread, three are travel related, and 118 are under investigation. There are four workplace outbreaks, one school/childcare outbreak, 25 community outbreaks, two hospital outbreaks, and 17 outbreaks in long-term care/retirement homes. Locally, 84.2 per cent of individuals five and over have received one dose of the vaccine, and 78.9 per cent are fully vaccinated. Across the province today there were 7,951 cases, but health officials have warned that number is an underestimate due to testing limitations and backlogs. Yesterday there were 9,706 cases, and on Sunday there were 11,959 cases. The total number of cases in Ontario is now 896,248, with 3,220 people in the hospital, and 477 of those in the ICU.
Rapid tests will be available at the University of Windsor Education Parking Lot, at the corner of University Avenue West and California Avenue, on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday starting at 10am. Access to rapid antigen tests will be subject to available supply, and a limit of one test per person. The full list of where rapid tests will be available can be found here.
RETURN TO IN-CLASS LEARNING
A spokesperson for the provincial government has said today that schools will reopen for in-class learning next Monday. Time and again, the government has ignored opportunities to assure parents that students can safely return back to school on Monday. We know that repeated disruptions to student’ learning impacts their wellbeing and mental health, but when pressed today, could not clearly articulate what has changed that makes return to the classroom safer it was these past two weeks. Parents we have spoken with want these assurances, and an understanding of that steps have been taken to ensure the safety of all so that their children’s education is not constantly interrupted. My caucus colleagues and I are calling for a safe return to in-class learning, including:
- Free rapid tests for all students and education workers and restoring PCR testing availability
- Reinstate testing and tracing to identify where hotspots are and to allow parents to to know what is happening in their child’s school
- A vaccination blitz for students, including the 5-11 cohort, with in-school clinics with parents' permission
- A robust outreach campaign to parents to encourage vaccination of children, including culturally relevant outreach applicable to different communities
- Mandatory vaccinations for all teachers and education workers
- Reduced class sizes and bus loads
- Improving ventilation in classrooms
- Free N95 masks for all teachers and education workers
- Enhanced supports for teachers and staff to address critical learning gaps caused by previous shutdowns
HEALTHCARE STAFFING SHORTAGES
To shore up healthcare capacity, our caucus has been consistently calling for an urgent blitz to recruit, retain and return health care workers, proposing that it includes danger pay for frontline staff, the repeal of the Premier's low-wage law Bill 124, and requesting staffing help from the federal government, which may include medical staff from the Canadian Armed Forces.
The provincial government announced today that they will deploy internationally educated nurses to hospitals and long-term care homes facing staffing shortages due to COVID-19. According to the government, more than 1,200 applicants have already expressed interest and will be matched with hospitals and long-term care homes later this week. 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. Appointments are needed, with no walk-ins being accepted at this time. 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 Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. and Tuesday and Friday from noon to 4 p.m. To book an appointment, please visit www.wevax.ca.
Pop-up vaccination clinics will be available at the following locations this week:
- Wednesday January 12 – Windsor Bus Terminal Downtown – 300 Chatham Ave, Windsor – 1pm to 4pm
- Friday January 14 – Libro Arena – 3295 Meloche Rd, Amherstburg – 10am to 3pm
An outbreak has been declared at Windsor Regional Hospital at the Ouellette Campus in 6 East, 2 North, as well as at Met Campus on 8 North. An outbreak remains in place at Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare’s Complex Medical Care Unit. Windsor Regional Hospital is asking anyone recently discharged from the facility to monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms.
Six more outbreaks have been declared at long-term care and retirement homes. The outbreaks are listed at Berkshire Care Centre, Banwell Gardens, Extendicare Southwood Lakes, Chartwell Leamington Retirement, Chartwell Royal Oak Long Term Care Residence, and Franklin Gardens Long Term Care Home.
The local health unit has rescinded the outbreak at Olivia DiMaio Early Childhood Centre in Lakeshore, which was declared on December 22.
Please continue to stay safe and follow public health guidelines.