The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 202 new cases of COVID-19 today, along with 16 additional deaths, the most deaths reported in a single day for our region. Of the new cases, 48 are related to outbreaks, 12 are from close contact with another confirmed case, three are considered community spread, and 139 are under investigation. Of the new deaths, 14 were from long-term care and two were from the community. Our region now has 8,502 cases, with 5,809 cases listed as resolved, 2,514 active cases, and 167 deaths. The province reported 3,270 cases today, bringing the seven-day average of daily cases to almost 3,000. On Sunday, there were 2,964 cases, and on Saturday there were 3,363 cases. Windsor-Essex remains in the Grey – Lockdown category with the rest of the province and will remain locked down until January 23 at the earliest.
For the safety of my staff and the public, my office is not taking appointments for in-office visits but will remain available to assist constituents with provincial matters by telephone 519-251-5199 and email at [email protected] or [email protected]. Staff will be working remotely, so you may have to leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Our Caucus is asking for the Legislature to be recalled so we can get back to working on solutions to save people in long-term care, and fix the province’s lethargic vaccines program. We need to work together to move out billions in unspent COVID-19 funds to shore up hospitals and long-term care homes, recall the military to long-term care homes in crisis, and federal funding for Red Cross deployments needs to be used instead of sitting in a bank account. We also need to introduce legislation to give people paid sick days, give small businesses more financial support and work to implement a more robust COVID vaccine roll-out plan.
Tracey Ramsey, the co-chair of the Windsor Health Coalition (WHC), echoed the call for more support from the province for our long-term care homes after Sheila Yakovishin, a local health care worker who worked at Berkshire Care Centre, passed away from COVID-19. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Sheila's loved ones and the staff at Berkshire Care Centre. Workers need to be protected along with residents in long-term care and retirement homes. Currently, 20 of the 44 long-term care and retirement homes in Windsor-Essex are under a COVID-19 outbreak.
Our Caucus released a statement in response to news that the provincial government has denied the Long-Term Care Commission permission to continue its work past April, which the Commission says is necessary because the provincial government has been withholding information. The commission has already provided interim reports, and they should be required to provide another interim report by the April deadline — but without question they should be given all the time required to complete their work. They need to be given the time and access to every piece of evidence they need, so we can learn from this disaster, change the system, and never put our loved ones at risk like this again.
Windsor Regional Hospital says they have given more than 2,000 people the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine and has been approved by public health to start vaccinating some seniors’ homes that are currently experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak. The number of people vaccinated includes about 75 per cent of staff from all of the region’s long-term care and retirement homes. You can read more here.
Remote learning for elementary students continues this week with a scheduled return date of January 11 and secondary students will continue with remote learning through January 22; however, these dates could potentially change. Dr. Ahmed, our chief medical officer of health, is currently reviewing the numbers of cases in our community and is expected to release recommendations on the return to in-class learning hopefully by the middle of this week. More information can be found here.
The GECDSB deadline for parents to decide whether they want their kids learning in-person or virtually is Wednesday January 6 at 4pm with changes taking effect by February 2.
Our Caucus has called on the provincial government to publicly disclose the names and locations of all workplaces with COVID-19 outbreaks, following the lead of some municipalities. Workers have the right to know whether their workplaces are safe, as do customers, delivery workers and first responders. Keeping this information secret puts the lives of workers and their families at risk, it increases the risk of community spread, and it removes a critical piece of information we need to find COVID-19 hotspots and stop the spread.
The City of Windsor has issued a services reminder for residents. Transit Windsor bus service will continue at current operational levels with protective barriers and a mandatory mask policy in effect. Service Ontario and Service Canada offices located in the 400 building at 400 City Hall Square East will remain open at this time with advanced screening in place for visitors. Residents are able to access City of Windsor municipal services through online options while our region remains in the Grey – Lockdown category. Links to a number of online services are available on the City’s website here under the E-Services tab.
Please continue to wear a face mask when out in public, practice social distancing of two metres from others, and wash your hands often.