The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 409 new COVID-19 cases, while Toronto reported 1,895 cases, Peel reported 1,365 cases, York reported 1,001 cases, and Ottawa reported 494 cases. There are now 3,711 active COVID-19 cases in our region, with 95 confirmed cases in the hospital, and 14 in the ICU. The total number of cases in our region is now 30,368, with 506 deaths related to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Of the new cases announced today, 13 are from close contact with another confirmed case, 16 are considered community spread, two are outbreak related, and 378 are under investigation. There are eight workplace outbreaks, 29 community outbreaks, six hospital outbreaks, and 23 outbreaks in long-term care/retirement homes. Locally, 84.4 per cent of individuals over the age of five have received one dose of the vaccine, and 79.1 per cent are fully vaccinated. Across the province today there were 9,909 new cases of COVID-19 reported, but health officials have warned that number is an underestimate due to testing limitations and backlogs. Yesterday there were 9,782 cases reported, and on Tuesday there were 7,951 cases. The total number of cases in Ontario is now 915,940, and there are 3,630 people in hospital, up from 3,448 yesterday, with 500 people in the ICU.
HEALTH CARE STAFFING SHORTAGES
Today, my caucus colleagues and I again called on the provincial government to address the staffing shortages in health care in Ontario. Nurses are run off their feet, working double shifts day after day, and caring for too many patients at once, all the time. Years of hospital funding cuts and freezes from past governments has led to Ontario having the worst Registered Nurse-to-population ratio in Canada, and the province needs roughly 22,000 more nurses. We are calling for the government to make more nursing positions full-time instead of part-time or temporary, to repeal the low-wage law, Bill 124, to keep existing nurses and health-care workers by improving their working conditions, create new jobs for late-career and recently-retired nurses to mentor and support, provide free, in-person mental health supports for all frontline health care workers, provide 10 permanent paid sick days, plus 14 more during a pandemic, provide full access to PPE, including N95 masks, all the time, and fund more university seats for nursing programs and fix issues with clinical placements. Nurses are burnt out, and we must do more for them, and for patients.
RAPID ANTIGEN TESTS
There will be a rapid antigen test pickup location set up at the University of Windsor Education Parking Lot (corner of University Ave West and California Ave) tomorrow starting at 10am. While registration is required, and tomorrow appears to be fully booked, the Ministry advised that those without appointments on Friday can return at 3pm to see if any tests are still available. More information is available here.
VACCINE MANDATE FOR TRUCKERS CROSSING THE BORDER
The federal government has clarified that the vaccine mandate that is scheduled to come into effect for truck drivers entering Canada will not apply to Canadian drivers. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has said that “unvaccinated, or partially vaccinated Canadian truck drivers arriving at the border will remain exempt from pre-arrival, on arrival and post-arrival testing and quarantine requirement.” It is still expected that the United States will enact their own vaccine mandate for essential workers at the border starting January 22, and unvaccinated Canadian truckers will be required to quarantine as part of the U.S. rules. You can read more here.
Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health announced today that immunocompromised Ontarians will be able to receive fourth doses starting tomorrow, provided that they are at least 84 days past receiving their third dose. The information on the local health unit’s website has not yet been updated to reflect this announcement. You can read more here.
Doctors are now able to prescribe monoclonal antibody therapy to prevent mild COVID-19 infections from escalating to more severe cases. At this time, the drug is restricted to those who are unvaccinated and over the age of 50, or those fully vaccinated over the age of 70 and who are immune-compromised. 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:
- Friday January 14 – Libro Arena – 3295 Meloche Rd, Amherstburg – 10am to 3pm
COVID-19 OUTBREAKS AND TESTING
Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare has declared an outbreak on its 3rd Floor Rehab Unit in the Tayfour Building, as four patients have tested positive with COVID-19. You can read more here.
Leamington’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre is expanding their scope to include clinical services for people with a known or suspected COVID-19 infection. The change is meant to help conserve capacity for patients requiring emergency services, and residents with mild COVID-19 symptoms are still being directed to self-isolate at home. You can read the full release and find the eligibility criteria here.
Please continue to stay safe and follow public health guidelines.