The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 116 new COVID-19 cases in the region along with six more deaths linked to the virus. Five of the deaths were from long-term care or retirement homes and one was from the community. Of the new cases announced, nine are related to outbreaks, 13 are from close contact with another confirmed case, one is considered community spread and 93 are under investigation. There are now 2,419 active cases in our region, bringing the total number to 11,346 cases, 112 confirmed cases in hospital with 18 in the ICU, 8,650 cases listed as resolved, and 277 deaths. Across the province today there were 2,655 new cases, there were 1,913 cases on Tuesday, 2,578 cases on Monday, and 3,422 cases on Sunday.
Windsor Regional Hospital declared a fourth COVID-19 outbreak. Last week, outbreaks were declared at Met and Ouellette campuses, and today, officials announced that there was an outbreak on the sixth-floor unit at Met. You can read more here.
The local health unit has said that they have been to all but one retirement home in the region to assist administering the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. The final retirement home is expected to be visited tomorrow after a recent outbreak at the home had caused a delay. Further COVID-19 vaccine rollout in our region will be delayed due to supply issues, and Windsor Regional Hospital has stopped giving out first doses of the Pfizer vaccine as of Monday. You can read more here.
The Ontario Science Table published findings today which recommend actions the government could take to prevent COVID-19 infections and deaths in long-term care. Long-term care homes with underpaid temporary staff and residents crammed three and four to a room are leaving seniors vulnerable and are resulting in more devastating illness and tragic death. We need to implement the recommendations immediately and do so by hiring 10,000 new long-term care staff, hiking wages permanently for lower-paid staff like personal support workers, and banning homes from cramming three or four residents into any room. You can read the full findings published by the Ontario Science Table here.
With just over three weeks until students are to return to in-class learning in Windsor-Essex, our caucus has again called for the provincial government to implement an in-school COVID-19 testing program, cap class sizes at 15 students, work with schools to improve ventilation, and give parents paid family-care days to stay home with kids that are sick. We also need to see more supports for at-home learning for both educators and families, including tech supports and paid leave for parents who have to miss work to support their children with online classes.
Our caucus has called on the provincial government to provide paid sick days and presumptive WSIB coverage for frontline workers during the pandemic. The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) revealed that paramedics in Waterloo Region are being denied WSIB claims despite being exposed to COVID-19 while on the job. Our paramedics, and every health care worker in this province, should have presumptive coverage and should never be forced to prove they contracted COVID-19 on the job. It is unacceptable to deny WSIB claims to workers who we know are doing everything possible to stay safe but are being exposed to COVID-19 through their life-saving work.
Our caucus has called for the government to name big-box stores who are in violation of public health orders. When big-box stores present a health risk to employees and customers – including vulnerable seniors – it’s not right that the government prioritizes protecting the company’s reputation over protecting the people who have to shop and work there. When big-box stores violate public health orders and put staff or customers at risk, customers deserve to know that.
The provincial government said they are expanding the current workplace inspection campaign after last week’s big-box store blitz. Provincial offences officers will be visiting a wider range of workplaces across Ontario to educate and ticket businesses that are not complying with COVID-19 health and safety requirements. Officers will be visiting retail establishments, restaurants providing take-out meals, essential service-sector establishments (such as gas stations), and farming operations. You can read the official announcement 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.