The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting three new COVID-19 cases in our region today. Yesterday there were eight cases, and on Sunday there were six cases. There have been a total of 16,820 cases and 434 deaths in our region related to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Of the new cases today, one is from close contact with another confirmed case, one is considered community spread, and one is under investigation. There are currently 59 active cases in our community, with six being variant of concern cases. There are 14 confirmed cases in the hospital, seven of which are in the ICU, and 16,327 cases have been listed as resolved. There have 422,515 doses of the vaccine administered locally. Across the province today there were 209 new cases reported. Yesterday there were 210 cases, and on Sunday there were 287 cases.
Parents in high priority neighbourhoods who want to get vaccinated but require childcare now have a free option. Connections Early Years Family Centre is extending its regular services through the Be Back Soon program. Families in qualifying neighbourhoods can access free, short-term, unlicensed childcare in order to make a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. The eligible postal codes are N8H, N8X, N8Y, N9A, N9B, N9C, and N9Y. The Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce is paying for taxis if parents need a lift to their vaccine appointment or to the childcare centre. The Be Back Soon Program runs seven days a week and proof of residency is required. You can read more here.
Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose COVID-19 vaccine has been stalled and no official date is set for when Canada can expect to receive the 10 million doses we ordered. Johnson & Johnson have said they expect to fulfill the purchase agreement, but couldn’t say when. Meanwhile, we continue to receive more doses of AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Moderna, with 50 million doses expected to arrive this week. You can read more here.
As we continue to experience extreme temperatures, the City of Windsor has opened a temporary cooling centre in the atrium of the downtown Windsor aquatic centre for anyone who needs to get out of the heat. Masks are mandatory and staff will be on site to enforce COVID-19 restrictions. The centre will be open from 11am to 4pm, and will be open daily until the heat warning is lifted. The City’s eight splash pads are also open for anyone looking to cool off and Sandpoint Beach reopened today.
RESTRICTIONS ON LONG-TERM CARE
The province announced effective July 7 that restrictions on visits to long-term care residents would be further eased. Residents will now able to have outdoor visits of up to 10 people and indoor visits of up to two general visitors and two caregivers. There will also be no limit on the number of people who can be designated a caregiver by a resident or substitute decision maker. The provincial government had promised to put air conditioning in the rooms of residents, but this still has not happened. Seniors will be stuck in sweltering rooms as temperatures rise this summer. Our caucus has been fighting for air conditioning in residents’ rooms for 15 years. It should not take this long to get air conditioning installed. You can read more about the loosened restrictions here.
ADVOCATING FOR STUDENTS
Our caucus has again called for the provincial government to cancel the $800 million cut to schools, and invest in a school-based plan to support kids’ mental health and wellbeing. After more than a year of disruption, isolation, and stress, our kids are struggling. Kids need to go back to school in September, and we need the government to invest to make schools safe for them to return to, and ensure that their mental health and wellbeing comes first. Our Safe Schools for September plan calls for the $800 million cut to be reversed, for mental health professionals to be added to all schools, and for more special education funding to be put into schools. We also continue to call for a cap on class sizes at 15 students, upgrades to ventilation systems to meet the latest standards, and offering two-doses of the vaccine to every teacher, education worker and student over the age of 12.
NEW VIRTUAL PHYSICIAN ACCESS PROGRAM
The Unemployed Help Centre has rolled out a new program to allow their clients to access an online walk-in clinic, book an appointment, and request a doctor. The platform, called ONRx, seeks to meet the needs of the under serviced population by improving access to health care. The platform is free for patients. You can read more here.
LIBRARIES TO REOPEN
Windsor Public Library branches will resume regular service with reduced capacity next Monday as the province moves into Step Two of the reopening plan. Customers will be able to come into the library to browse through books and other services as well as use the computers and photocopiers. Curbside pickup will be suspended when WPLs reopen. Essex County Library will reopen seven of their libraries to the public on July 26. In the meantime, some county libraries will continue to offer curbside pickup along with virtual programming. You can find more information here.
Please continue to stay safe by washing your hands, wearing a mask when you’re out in public, and practice physical distancing of 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household.