The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit announced 288 new COVID-19 cases today, a new single-day record for our region, along with 11 additional deaths. Of the new cases announced today, 19 are related to outbreaks, 20 are from close contact with another confirmed case, three are from community spread, and 244 are under investigation. Of the new deaths, nine are from long-term care/retirement homes and two were in the community. Our region now has a total of 10,278 cases, with 2,812 considered active, 7,229 listed as resolved, and 237 deaths. Across the province today, there were 2,961 cases reported, along with 74 more deaths. On Tuesday there were 2,903 cases, on Monday there were 3,338 cases, and on Sunday there were 3,945 cases.
The stay-at-home order in the province goes into effect tomorrow, Thursday January 13. 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 with certain exceptions - for example GAINS and STEPS program.
- 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.
We have included a link to the summary of the new restrictions. This provides more guidance than the document we included in yesterday’s post. Please refer to this link.
Our caucus has responded to the new restrictions, 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
In response to confusion over the new stay-at-home orders coming into effect tomorrow, CTV has released a list of frequently asked questions and answers. You can find them here. Please note that our staff cannot provide an interpretation of how the restrictions may apply to your individual situations. You may wish to call the Stop the Spread Hotline at 1-888-444-3659.
The Provincial Government released details of what Phase Two of the vaccine distribution program would look like, saying that by the end they would immunize up to 8.5 million people. Phase Two will include:
- Older adults, beginning with those 80 years of age and older and decreasing in five-year increments over the course of the vaccine rollout
- Individuals living and working in high-risk congregate settings
- Frontline essential workers (e.g., first responders, teachers, food processing industry)
- Individuals with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers
You can find more information on this announcement here.
As mental health professionals warn that levels of stress, anxiety, and loneliness are increasing as we move throughout the pandemic, it's important to seek help if you need it. If you or someone you know is in need of mental health supports, a range of local programs and services are available. Please visit the local health unit’s website. You can also call the Canadian Mental Health Association's Windsor-Essex crisis line at (519) 973- 4435. If you are not in crisis, you can still call this number and be transferred.
It was reported today that the Federal Government has offered to send military help to Ontario's long-term care homes, but the Premier is avoiding having the Canadian Armed Forces enter long-term care homes. Our official opposition leader, Andrea Horwath, said that desperately needs to change as nursing homes all over the province cope with a humanitarian crisis. Our caucus, families of residents, long-term care doctors, and the Ontario Health Coalition have been calling for the military to be brought in since at least December. In December, the federal government provided Ontario funding for 20 Red Cross deployments in long-term care homes, but the Premier appears to not to have used all that capacity.
Dr. Ahmed, the Medical Officer of Health, says the local health unit continues to work with manufacturing facilities in the region. He said he can issue an order for a manufacturing facility, but there must be an “established risk” before doing so and manufacturing facilities are required to have safety protocols in place. You can read more here.
An outbreak was declared yesterday at Essex-Windsor EMS after 10 cases of COVID-19 were discovered. Today, the union representing paramedics in our region said they are worried about a possible ambulance shortage. You can read more here.
Windsor Public Library branches said they will remain open with contactless curbside pick-up only. Branches will operate from 10am to 6pm Monday to Thursday, and 9am to 5pm on Friday and Saturday. All library resources are available online 24/7 at https://windsorpubliclibrary.com
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.