The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported four new COVID-19 cases today. Yesterday there were two cases, and on Wednesday, there were nine cases. There are currently 56 active cases in our region, with 25 of those being variants of concern. There are seven confirmed cases in the hospital, two in the ICU. In our region, 61.03 percent of those 12 years of age and older have received one dose, and 23.22 percent of those 12 years of age and older have received both doses. Across the province today there were 345 new cases of COVID-19 reported. Yesterday there were 370 cases, and on Wednesday, there were 384 cases.
IMPORTANT VACCINE UPDATES
The province announced yesterday that second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine would be accelerated. Anyone who received their first shot of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) on or before May 9 can book their second dose starting Saturday, June 19 (tomorrow) at 8:00AM. Since the eligibility has opened up to a large group of people, it may take a few attempts to book an appointment, but the Health Unit has explained that there are plenty of vaccines available and to be patient when trying to secure your appointment. Windsor-Essex residents will be able to book online at www.wevax.ca, but if a resident does not have computer access, they can book an appointment by calling 226-773-2200.
The province also announced that all adults in the province who got their first dose on or after May 10 can book an earlier second dose starting the week of June 28.
Windsor Regional Hospital officially returned Windsor Hall back to the University of Windsor today. This means that vaccine appointments will no longer be available at this location, as the appointments will shift to the Devonshire Mall location instead, which is set to open on Monday, June 21st.
The Provincial Government announced a Cabinet Shuffle today, and these are the new assigned roles:
- MPP Rod Phillips becomes Minister of Long-Term Care and replaces MPP Merilee Fullerton.
- MPP Jill Dunlop becomes Minister of Colleges and Universities and replaces MPP Rosario Romano.
- MPP Dr. Merrilee Fullerton becomes Minister of Children, Community and Social Services and replaces MPP Todd Smith.
- MPP Parm Gill becomes Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism.
- MPP Dave Piccini becomes Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks and replaces MPP Jeff Yurek.
- MPP Greg Rickford assumes a merged role as Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry, as well as remains Minister of Indigenous Affairs. MPP Greg Rickford replaces MPP John Yakabuski as Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry.
- MPP Todd Smith becomes Minister of Energy.
- MPP Rosario Romano becomes Minister of Government and Consumer Services and replaces MPP Lisa Thompson.
- MPP Prabmeet Singh becomes President of the Treasury Board while MPP Peter Bethlenfalvy keeps the position as Minister of Finance.
- MPP Kinga Surma becomes Minister of Infrastructure and replaces MPP Laurie Scott.
- MPP Lisa Thompson becomes Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and replaces MPP Ernie Hardeman.
- MPP Stan Cho becomes Associate Minister of Transportation, reporting to Minister Mulroney, and replaces MPP Kinga Surma.
- MPP Jane McKenna becomes Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues, reporting to Minister Fullerton, and replaces MPP Jill Dunlop.
- MPP Nina Tangri becomes Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, reporting to Minister Fedeli, and replaces MPP Prabmeet Sarkaria.
- MPP Kaleed Rasheed becomes Associate Minister of Digital Government, reporting to Minister Bethlenfalvy.
The cabinet shuffle is an admission of failure on long-term care and other critical areas during the pandemic. We will continue to hold this Government accountable and call on the new Ministers to take urgent action to undo the damage this government has done throughout the pandemic. We need a plan now to address the brutal understaffing in long-term care homes, help countless small businesses on the brink of collapse, and tackle serious concerns like student safety and a horrific surgery backlog.
OUTDOOR YOUTH SPORTS LEAGUES
After hearing calls from local families, children, and sports organizations who are looking for answers from the provincial government on when outdoor leagues might be able to safely resume, our caucus has called for experts to make a public recommendation to the government. The provincial government’s Science Table has said outdoor activity is safe, but league sports are postponed until the next stage of reopening. Children and youth want to be able to return to the baseball diamonds and sports fields as soon as possible. Our youth have suffered from anxiety, isolation, and mental health challenges for over a year now while they have endured the government’s inaction and refusal to invest to keep their schools safe. The government should consult with the public health experts, create a plan, and let thousands of families and kids know what is going to happen this season.
US BORDER RESTRICTIONS
The United States/Canada border will remain closed until at least July 21st. The federal government said they will be providing more details on Monday about plans to let fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents enter the country.
If you’re looking to for a safe way to seek relief from the heat this weekend and are planning to head to the beach, please note that swimming at Sandpoint Beach in Windsor, Mettawas Beach in Kingsville, and Belle River Beach is of limits due to high levels of E.coli in the water.
Please continue to stay safe by washing your hands, wearing a mask when you’re out in public, and practice physical distancing.