The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported 175 new COVID-19 cases today with 16 additional deaths attributed to the virus. 14 of these new deaths were from long-term care or retirement homes. Of the new cases announced, 19 are related to outbreaks, nine are from close contact with another confirmed case, three are considered community spread, and 144 are under investigation. Our region has recorded a total of 9.990 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with 2,661 cases listed as active, 7,103 cases listed as resolved, 101 confirmed cases in the hospital, with 19 people in the ICU, and 226 deaths. The province reported 2,903 cases today, 3,338 cases on Monday, 3,945 cases on Sunday, and 3,443 cases on Saturday.
Effective immediately, Ontario is in a state of emergency for a minimum of 28 days and effective Thursday January 14 there will be a stay-at-home order for the province. The new restrictions include:
- Stay at home order effective Thursday at 12:01 a.m. where everyone must stay home and only go out for essential trips.
- Schools in Windsor-Essex, Peel, Toronto, York and Hamilton will be closed until at least February 10 for in person learning.
- Five-person outdoor gathering limit, reduced from 10.
- All non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7 a.m. and close no later than 8 p.m. The restricted hours of operation do not apply to stores that primarily sell food, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores and restaurants for takeout or delivery.
- Non-essential construction is further restricted, including below-grade construction, exempting survey.
- Construction projects associated with health care and long-term care remain essential, as do projects related to transit, municipal infrastructure, energy and mining.
The Provincial Government also said that enforcement and inspections will increase, and bylaw officers will have the power to disperse people and give tickets to those who are violating the emergency orders.
New modelling data was also released today, saying that, following current trends, deaths related to COVID-19 are expected to double in February and our health system will be overwhelmed. You can read more on the new modelling here.
Our caucus has responded to the new restrictions and modelling, saying that more measures are needed. We are demanding:
- At least 10,000 more staff in long-term care, plus infection prevention and control experts in every nursing home
- Paid sick days so people stop being forced to spread the virus at work
- A ban on eviction so people don’t work sick out of fear of eviction
- Self-isolation centres
- A massive ramp-up of testing and contact tracing, including in-workplace and in-school testing, and the vaccination schedule
- Restricting non-essential travel between regions
The Prime Minister announced that the Federal Government has agreed to purchase an additional 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, meaning Canada will receive 80 million doses this year. The Federal Government has released a new vaccine distribution tracker online for Canadians to follow the government’s progress on distribution across Canada. You can find it here.
The local health unit has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at an Essex-Windsor EMS facility where 10 paramedics have tested positive. A release states that there is no evidence of patient-to-paramedic or paramedic-to-patient transmission of the virus and all EMS facilities are subject to heightened cleaning and disinfection practices. Those infected are recovering at home. You can read more here.
Community Futures Essex County has been allocated $1.16 million through the second round of the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF). The RRRF program helps businesses who have fallen through the cracks of receiving financial support from other government programs and eligible businesses can receive a loan of any amount up to $40,000. Applications for funding are accepted and reviewed on an ongoing basis until the Fund is fully committed. There is no submission deadline. For more information and to apply, click here. Please note that businesses in all of the municipalities in Essex County are eligible, with the exception of Windsor businesses.
Windsor Police are investigating and handing out tickets to those who attended the weekend protest against COVID-19 restrictions in downtown Windsor. Those charged will be required to appear in court at a later date. Police are encouraging anyone with information about the event to contact city police or Crime Stoppers.
The Prime Minister also announced the Canada-U.S. border would remain closed to non-essential travel until at least February 21.
The Town of Tecumseh is celebrating their 100th anniversary, but Mayor Gary McNamara says the celebration will be put on hold until 2022. The matter is set to go before council with administration proposing the postponement. You can read more here.
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.