The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 53 new COVID-19 cases today, along with four additional deaths – two deaths were from long-term care or retirement homes, and two were from the community. Of the new cases announced today, four are related to outbreaks, eight are from close contact with another confirmed case, three are considered community spread, and 38 are still under investigation. Our region now has 1,156 active cases, bringing our total to 11,860 cases, with 108 cases in the hospital, 15 in the ICU, 10,409 cases listed as resolved, and 295 deaths. The province reported 1,740 new cases today, the fewest number of new cases since mid-December. On Monday there were 1,958 cases, on Sunday there were 2,417 cases, and on Saturday there were 2,359 cases.
A new report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives outlines the share of federal and provincial spending during the pandemic, with the Ontario provincial government spending less per person on the pandemic, just $612, compared to Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and B.C., which have spent more. Instead of using billions in COVID-19 funding to protect people, the provincial government is refusing to spend the money that will save lives and prevent the spread of the virus that’s devastated communities across the province. You can find that report here.
The group Doctors for Justice in Long-Term Care, which is comprised of 215 doctors and researchers, released recommendations to improve long-term care. The recommendations include hiring qualified staff, speeding up vaccinations, dispatching the military to hard-hit homes and getting for-profit corporations out of long-term care. Our plan to overhaul long-term care commits to these recommendations and we continue to ask the government to act to enact these recommendations.
The provincial government is calling on the federal government to implement mandatory COVID-19 testing at the border and a temporary ban on direct flights from countries where new strains of COVID-19 have been identified. The federal government said they are working on new measures and will announce more in a few days. Meanwhile, the province has implemented a voluntary COVID-19 testing pilot project at Toronto’s Pearson Airport. They say that of the 6,580 tests completed so far, 146 came back positive, and four of those were identified as potentially being the U.K. variant. You can read more here.
The Canadian Mental Health Association is offering free mental health supports through their BounceBack program. This program may help individuals who are dealing with mid-to-moderate anxiety or depression, or feeling low, stressed, worried, irritable, or angry as a result of the pandemic or due to other long-term stressors. This is not a crisis service, and individuals must either be referred by their primary care provider or psychiatrist, or they may self-refer as long as they’re connected with a primary care provider. For more information, please click here.
The Ontario government is holding budget consultations and is asking the people of Ontario for their ideas on how to support families, workers, and business during COVID-19. The 2021 Budget Consultations will close on February 12. To learn how to submit your ideas by email, mail or by filling out a survey, click here.
The federal government provided more information on the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) which is makes low-interest loans of up to $1 million, backed by the government, available to businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding can be used to cover rent, utilities costs or even payroll. Businesses with multiple locations under one related entity, such as a chain of restaurants, could be eligible for up to $6.25 million. Full details on this program are available here.
The Prime Minister said today that he has been assured by Pfizer and Moderna that the contracts for vaccinations will be fulfilled and any Canadian who wants a vaccine will have one by the end of September. You can read the full article here.
A free contact-tracing app for businesses in Windsor has been developed. The app, IDQuickly, is adaptable to any business, allowing visitors to check in by scanning a QR code with a smart phone. The app is set to launch on February 1 for essential businesses that are required to collect contact tracing. More information on the app, how it works, and to sign up can be found here.
Tourism Windsor-Essex Pelee Island launched Dine YQG, a program that will provide free listings and $11,000 in prizes with a customer receiving a $100 prize for a social media post hash tagged with #DineYQG – the winning business will also receive $1,000 each week until April 10. The new program is to support local restaurants who are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Restaurants can find more information and sign up for a free listing here.
The Kingsville Highland Games have been cancelled for 2021 due to COVID-19. The games were scheduled for June 26.
Please follow all public health guidelines to stop the spread of the virus, including staying home wearing a face mask when out in public for an essential trip, continuing to practice social distancing of two metres from other people (even if you are wearing a mask), and washing your hands often.