Windsor-Essex had 18 new cases of COVID-19 today with eight of those coming from the community and seven from the agri-farm sector. We have been seeing a significant rise in the number of community spread cases in our region over the last week and it is important that we continue to be vigilant in practicing social distancing, wearing a face covering in public and washing our hands often to help prevent the spread of the virus. Our region now has a total of 1,982 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 69 deaths.
Beginning on Friday July 24, more regions have been given the green light to move into Stage 3 of the reopening process, but Windsor-Essex will not yet be moving forward. The Minister of Health said that public health officials need more data to determine if it’s safe to reopen in our region.
The Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board has launched a back to school survey as the province wants three plans to return to school after the COVID-19 pandemic in the fall. Our caucus has repeatedly called on the Ford government to prioritize childcare and schools in their economic recovery plans, lining up more teachers, more education workers and more classroom spaces so all students can go back to school full-time as soon as possible in September. You can find the survey here.
Tecumseh has opened their town hall as of today for building and planning inquiries. Residents will have to use the McNorton Drive entrance. Visitors will be screened at the door and to ensure that they're following Phase 2 guidelines. It will be open 1:00PM-4:30PM Monday through Friday with a maximum capacity of 10 people. The Town has encouraged residents to continue using online resources where available.
From Friday July 24 to Sunday July 26 downtown streets will again be closed to vehicle traffic to allow residents and visitors to walk, ride a bike or visit safely with friends and family on a patio. There will also be live music, aerial artist performances and patio tables on the street spaces.
Due to a surge in COVID-19 cases, Erie Shores Healthcare in Leamington announced over the weekend that it is reverting back to Phase 1 of its visitor policy effective immediately. You can read more here.
MPP Lisa Gretzky has tabled a motion urging the government to immediately implement a COVID-19 Essential Caregiver Strategy that recognizes essential caregivers as more than just visitors, and gives residents in long-term care, group homes and all congregate care settings the right to fully access their essential caregivers and support persons while giving congregate setting the resources they need to safely implement this. You can read more here.
Our caucus has called on the government to conduct an independent Preparedness Review of the government response to the COVID-19 pandemic and Ontario’s readiness for a potential second wave. We are asking for the Preparedness Review to be completed by fall, and should examine data and contact tracing, personal protective equipment stocks, and the resources needed in long-term care, schools and throughout the healthcare sector, and more.
Ontario Minister of Health Christine Elliott also announced a new custom-built COVID-19 system for public health units. This process will include replacing fax machines and repetitive data-entry with cloud-based software and a streamlined process. According to the Ministry of Health, this new system should help public health units quickly identify new cases and more effectively contain the spread of COVID-19.