The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 324 new COVID-19 cases, along with the loss of three members of the community. Yesterday, our region had 312 cases, and on Tuesday there were 202 cases. There are now 3,844 active cases in our region, with 125 confirmed cases in the hospital, 14 in the ICU, and a total of 32,584 cases and 524 deaths related to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. Of the new cases confirmed today, 18 are from close contact with another confirmed case, 15 are considered community spread, seven are outbreak related, seven are travel related, and 277 are under investigation. Locally, 85.1 per cent of individuals over the age of five have received one dose of the vaccine, and 79.8 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Today, Toronto reported 1,373 cases, Peel reported 1,006 cases, and Ottawa reported 300 cases. Across the province today there were 7,757 new COVID-19 cases reported, but health officials have warned that number is an underestimate due to limited testing. Yesterday there were 5,744 cases, and on Tuesday there were 7,086 cases. There are not a total of 977,194 cases in Ontario since the start of the pandemic, with 4,061 confirmed cases currently in the hospital, and 594 in the ICU.
EASING COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS
Today, my caucus colleagues and I joined the leadership of the Ontario Federation of Labour, Ontario Nurses’ Association, Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, and the Canadian Union of Public Employees to endorse calls to action to help fight the health crisis brought on by the Omicron variant. Health care workers are burnt out and exhausted, getting sick at an alarming rate, and leaving the field in droves. Half of all long-term care homes in outbreak, and at least 4,000 frontline workers have COVID right now. The government has rationed COVID testing, and stopped testing, tracing, and reporting COVID in school. Ontarians deserve better, and we need the January 31 reopening to be safer. We need the government to invest in paid sick days and N95 masks to protect workers, to value frontline heroes properly, and ditch the low-wage policy, to restore access to COVID testing, and expand the vaccine certificate program to help keep people safe. We all want the cycle of shutdowns and re-openings to stop, and we can do that by investing in better resources and protections to keep workers and families safe.
The provincial government announced a three-step plan today to begin lifting current COVID-19 restrictions, beginning on Monday January 31, with further restrictions scheduled to be eased on February 21, and again on March 14. Specifically, the following changes will be made for January 31:
- Increasing social gathering limits to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
- Increasing or maintaining capacity limits at 50 per cent in indoor public settings, including but not limited to:
- Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments without dance facilities;
- Retailers (including grocery stores and pharmacies)
- Shopping malls;
- Non-spectator areas of sports and recreational fitness facilities, including gyms;
- Meeting and event spaces;
- Recreational amenities and amusement parks, including water parks;
- Museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos and similar attractions; and
- Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments
- Religious services, rites, or ceremonies.
- Allowing spectator areas of facilities such as sporting events, concert venues and theatres to operate at 50 per cent seated capacity or 500 people, whichever is less.
Enhanced proof of vaccination, and other requirements would continue to apply in existing settings. 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 21 – Libro Arena – 3295 Meloche Rd, Amherstburg – 10am to 3pm
Please continue to stay safe and follow public health guidelines.