The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit announced 1,869 new COVID-19 cases since last Thursday, with 337 of those from today, while Toronto reported 2,480 new cases today, Peel reported 1,486 new cases today, Hamilton reported 330 new cases today, and Middlesex-London reported 449 new cases today. There are currently 2,289 active cases in our community, bringing the total number of cases to 26,822 and 495 deaths related to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. Of the new cases since last Thursday, 194 are considered to be from close contact with another confirmed case, 137 are community spread, 12 are travel related, five are outbreak related, and 1,521 are under investigation. There are two workplace outbreaks, nine school and childcare outbreaks, eight community outbreaks, and four outbreaks in long-term care homes. There are 38 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the hospital, with five in the ICU. Locally, 86.9 per cent of individuals over the age of five have received one dose of the vaccine, and 80.9 per cent are fully vaccinated. Across the province today there were 11,352 new cases of COVID-19, though this number is likely an underestimate due to limits that have been placed on testing. Yesterday there were 13,578 cases, and on Sunday there were 16,714 cases.
NEW COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS TAKE EFFECT TOMORROW
Starting tomorrow, additional COVID-19 restrictions will take effect across Ontario until at least January 17. These new restrictions include:
- A limit on social gatherings of five people indoors and 10 people outdoors
- No dining permitted at restaurants and bars
- 50 per cent capacity for retails settings, indoor weddings, funerals, and religious services
- Indoor sports and recreational fitness facilities, including gyms, must close
- Concert venues, theatres, cinemas, and museums must will be closed
We need the government to take urgent action to take on the rapidly spreading Omicron variant and help people get through this safely. Another school shutdown is a massive blow to kids’ wellbeing, and we need to be doing everything we can to get schools open safely. We need rapid tests for teachers and students, smaller class sizes, in-school vaccine clinics with permission from parents, and mandatory vaccination for all teachers and education workers and adding the COVID vaccine to the student immunization list. We also need to help control the spread of the virus outside the classroom. We need paid sick days and family care days, we need to ramp up PCR COVID testing, and provide high-quality, free PPE for all frontline workers, including N95 masks. And we need to support workers and small businesses being hurt by these latest restrictions. We need a direct small business grant for all impacted small businesses, supports for workers that lose income, and an eviction ban.
The provincial government has announced the Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program for eligible businesses that are required to close or reduce capacity due to the Omicron variant. According to the government, the rebate payment for eligible businesses will go towards a portion of the property tax and energy costs they incur while subject to the restrictions. Businesses will be required to submit property tax and energy bills as part of the applications, but the list of eligible business types will not be made available until mid-January. No other details about the program have been announced at this time. You can call 1-866-668-8297 with any questions about the program or visit the website here.
The provincial government has also updated their small business recovery resources with information about workplace safety plans, employer responsibilities, region specific rules, and PPE suppliers. You can find that information here.
Additional COVID-19 supports for businesses, as well as individuals, are available from the federal government. You can find a full list of available federal supports here.
Windsor Regional Hospital has launched a new online system to book appointments for anyone eligible for COVID-19 testing at the Ouellette Campus COVID-19 Assessment Centre, as well as to book appointments for the Pediatric Urgent Medical Assessment (PUMA) clinic at Met Campus. You can find the updated PCR testing eligibility here.
WRH’s new booking site can be found here.
COVID-19 CONTACT TRACING
The local health unit has issued a statement on their website that the provincial service that provides help with contact tracing by contacting positive cases of COVID is experiencing delays. If you’re experiencing symptoms, believe you may have been exposed to COVID, or have tested positive using a rapid test, officials are asking you to isolate immediately and notify your contacts. For additional instructions on isolation, what to do if you’re exposed, or to take a COVID-19 self-assessment visit here.
NO VISITOR POLICY REINSTATED AT WINDSOR REGIONAL HOSPITAL
WRH has reinstated their ‘No Visitor Policy’ at both Ouellette and Met Campuses. The decision is a precaution to keep patients, families, and health care teams safe during the rise in COVID transmission rates. Limited exceptions are in place, in particular for palliative care patients. Please refer to the hospital visitation information page here.
First, second, and third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are available at one of the three mass vaccination sites starting tomorrow, 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 here.
Please continue to stay safe and follow public health guidelines.