The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 170 new COVID-19 cases and 17 additional deaths, marking the most deaths for our region in a single day since the pandemic began. Of the new cases announced, 16 are related to outbreaks, six are related to household contacts, two are considered community spread, and 146 are under investigation. Our region now has 2,464 active cases, bringing the total number to 8,846, with 6,195 resolved cases, 92 confirmed cases in the hospital, 15 of which are in the ICU, and an additional 176 suspected cases in the hospital. There have been 187 COVID-19 related deaths. The province reported 3,266 new cases today, 3,128 cases on Tuesday, 3,270 cases on Monday, and 2,964 cases on Sunday.
Our caucus has again called on the provincial government to accelerate their vaccination schedule in long-term care homes. It was reported that nearly 400,000 doses of the vaccine would arrive in January, but the government only plans to give out the first dose to about 55,000 nursing home residents in four regions over the next two weeks. We need the government to recall the legislature, which was adjourned over our objections early and not scheduled to resume until mid-February, to work together on a robust COVID-19 response that spends billions in unallocated funds to support and protect Ontarians. That includes urgently working on a new accelerated vaccine rollout strategy, utilizing existing federal funding for Red Cross deployments to Ontario nursing homes, and passing more bills and motions to send desperately needed help to long-term care homes, families and small businesses.
The Greater Essex County District School Board has extended the deadline to request a change in learning mode. A specific deadline has not been set yet, but it will only be applicable to elementary students, while the deadline for secondary students is still 4pm today. Once a new deadline is set for elementary students, a new online form will be posted to the school board’s website and families will be notified. It is anticipated that Dr. Ahmed will be releasing updated recommendations for schools in our region tomorrow. You can read more here.
It saddens me to report that Windsor Regional Hospital is being forced to use their temporary morgue at Met campus due to the rising number of COVID-19 related deaths in recent days. Windsor is the morgue for most of Essex County, so space was already an issue before factoring in the deaths related to COVID-19. You can read the full article here.
The provincial government said that they will decide in the coming days whether or not stricter lockdown measures, including school closures and curfews, are necessary. These delays are troubling and frustrating as we try to provide answers to our constituents. You can read more here.
The province announced today that free and voluntary COVID-19 testing will be available for all airline passengers landing at Toronto Pearson International Airport and who are staying in Ontario for longer than two weeks. Those passengers who receive this voluntary test will be required to quarantine for 14 days. More information is available here.
The new COVID-19 testing measures for all travellers entering Canada goes into effect tomorrow, Thursday January 7. All passengers returning or coming to Canada must receive a negative COVID-19 test within 72-hours of arrival to be permitted entry into the country. This new measure applies to all passengers over the age of five, including Canadian citizens. Acquiring a negative test will not replace the mandatory 14-day quarantine period. More details are available here.
Please follow all public health guidelines to stop the spread of the virus, including wearing a face mask when out in public, continuing to practice social distancing of two metres from other people, and washing your hands often.