The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 202 new high-risk cases, along with the passing of a member of the community. Due to the changes in eligibility for testing and limited testing capacity, the rise of Omicron cases, and the shifted focus of case, contact, and outbreak management to high-risk settings, these case counts are an underestimate of the true numbers of individuals who have COVID-19 within Windsor-Essex County. Yesterday there were 164 cases, and on Monday there were 185 cases. There are now 2,268 active cases in our community, with 114 confirmed cases in the hospital, and 16 in the ICU. There are currently 16 workplace outbreaks, 31 community outbreaks, 11 hospital outbreaks, and 27 outbreaks in long-term care/retirement homes. Locally, 85.2 per cent of individuals over the age of five have received one dose of the vaccine, 80.5 per cent have received two doses, and 49.6 per cent of residents over 18 have received a booster.
Today, Toronto had 891 cases, Peel had 765 cases, and Hamilton had 202 cases. Across the province today there were 5,368 cases, but health officials have said this number is an underestimation due to testing restrictions and backlog. Yesterday there were 3,424 cases, and on Monday there were 4,790 cases. The total number of cases across the province is 1,010,247 since the pandemic started, and there are 4,016 people currently in the hospital, with 608 in the ICU.
CLEARING SURGERY BACKLOGS
Today, my caucus colleagues and I called on the government to re-start scheduled surgeries and urgently give hospitals the staff and money they need to do them. There are thousands of people who have had surgeries cancelled or delayed. Some are living in pain, and many are living with the anxiety and fear of knowing their cancer or illness is progressing while they wait. In 2021, the Financial Accountability Office (FAO) calculated that the province needed to invest $1.3 billion to clear the backlog of surgeries created by earlier slow-downs and halts during the pandemic, but the government only spent $324 million. As a result, the number of people waiting grew, and now the Ontario Medical Association says there are 20 million backlogged health services, and the wait for heart surgery is 14 months long. We are calling on the government to launch a centralized referral system that would help make it possible for the next patient in line to get the next available surgeon. We are also calling on the government to extend operating room hours, recruit, retain, and return staff with incentives, and cut registration fees for retired nurses so they can start work again.
ADVOCATING FOR BETTER CHILD CARE
Hundreds of thousands of Ontario families are counting on child care to protect their kids, while making it possible for parents to go to work. But right now, parents tell us that without PCR testing, without reporting, and without paid sick days to keep sick staff and kids at home, they don’t feel safe enough. We desperately need a provincial plan to make child care as safe as possible, and to keep our child care sector up-and-running, and growing. In addition to calling for safe, high-quality, universal, public and not-for-profit $10-per-day child care, we are also calling on the government to:
- Reinstate eligibility for publicly-funded PCR tests to include children, families, Early Childhood Educators, child care providers and staff;
- Recommence COVID-19 case reporting in the child care sector;
- Increase financial support to licensed child care programs to ensure recruitment and retention of qualified staff;
- Provide 10 permanent paid sick days to support child care workers and families with mandatory isolation periods; and
- Take responsibility for the health and safety of families and workers by clearly guiding operators facing cohort dismissals due to positive COVID-19 test results in their programs.
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. All mass vaccination sites are now accepting walk-ins. Moreover, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is now available for individuals aged 30 years and older at any vaccination site effective immediately. 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 from 2:30pm to 6:30pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday; and from 12pm to 4pm on Tuesday and Friday. To book an appointment, please visit www.wevax.ca.
Pop-up vaccination clinics will be available at the following locations this week:
- Thursday January 27 – Cottam Ridgeview Park Hall – 124 Fox St, Cottam – 10am to 3pm
- Friday January 28 – Libro Arena – 3295 Meloche Rd, Amherstburg – 10am to 3pm
REOPENING FACILITIES IN LASALLE
The Town of LaSalle is on track to reopen their municipal facilities. Town hall will reopen on Friday January 28 for town business only, and will have a 50 per cent capacity limit. Users must show proof of vaccination to enter the building. The LaSalle library branch and Vollmer Centre will reopen on Monday January 31, and proof of vaccination will also be needed to enter Vollmer. You can find the Town’s reopening plan here.
The Downtown Windsor Farmers Market will reopening a month early this year on April 2, 2022 and the market season will run until December 10, 2022. The market will run every Saturday from 8am until 1pm, with vendors located on Pelissier Street between Wyandotte Street West and Park Street West, as well as on Maiden Lane. More information on the market is available here.
Please continue to stay safe and follow public health guidelines.