The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 269 new high risk cases, along with the loss of three members of our community today. 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 202 cases, and on Tuesday there were 164 cases. There are now 1,827 active high risk cases in our region, and 103 confirmed cases in the hospital, with 14 of those in the ICU. There are currently 16 workplace outbreaks, 29 community outbreaks, 12 hospital outbreaks, and 27 outbreaks in long-term care/retirement homes. Locally, 85.3 per cent of individuals over the age of five have received at least one dose of the vaccine, 80.6 per cent have received two doses, and 49.9 per cent of residents over the age of 18 have received their booster.
Today, Toronto reported 1,014 cases, Peel reported 842 cases, and York reported 318 cases. Across the province today there were 5,852 confirmed cases, but health officials have said this number is an underestimate due to testing restrictions and backlogs. Yesterday, the province had 5,368 cases, and on Tuesday there were 3,424 cases. The total number of cases across the province is 1,016,099, and there are currently 3,645 confirmed cases in the hospital, with 599 of those in the ICU.
STAFF SHORTAGES IN HEALTH CARE
The President and CEO of Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare has said that staff shortages continue to be a major challenge, with nearly 100 employees currently impacted by COVID, and 26 who are off the job after testing positive. You can read more here.
My caucus colleagues and I have been calling on the government to launch a massive, province-wide hiring and retention strategy to address Ontario’s health care staffing crisis. We need to be hiring thousands of nurses and personal support workers, implementing a retention plan to ensure skilled nurses stay in the sector, and providing funding to put enough nurses on every shift in every health care setting to prevent worker burnout. If we act now, we can stop the staffing crisis in health care from spiralling out of control.
SURGERIES TO RESUME
Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health announced today that some operations and procedures will resume on Monday. The first stage will include pediatrics, diagnostic services, cancer screenings, some ambulatory clinics, private hospitals, and independent health facilities. You can read more here.
There will be a virtual townhall tonight at 8pm on the topic of kids and vaccines, with a live Q&A with physicians and researchers from across the country. You can find more information and how to register here.
The province received their first shipment of Paxlovid, the new antiviral COVID-19 treatment and the Ministry of Health has said they will be prioritizing older, unvaccinated residents and immunocompromised individuals for its use. Those who would qualify for paxlovid have to first test positive for COVID-19 with a PCR or rapid test at a clinical assessment centre. You can read more here.
The local health unit announced that there has been a 46.4 per cent drop in COVID-19 vaccinations between the second and third week of January. The health unit says there is still a lot of availability, and they are encouraging anyone eligible to go get their first, second, or booster shot of COVID-19 vaccine, which 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:
- Friday January 28 – Libro Arena – 3295 Meloche Rd, Amherstburg – 10am to 3pm
Please continue to stay safe and follow public health guidelines.