The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has announced 39 new cases of COVID-19 and one additional death in the community. Of the new cases announced, seven are related to outbreaks, 13 are from close contact with another confirmed case, four are considered community spread, and 15 are under investigation. There are now 281 active cases in our region, bringing the total number to 13,299, 37 confirmed cases in the hospital with eight in the ICU, 12,623 cases listed as resolved, and 395 deaths. Across the province today there were 1,092 new cases. Yesterday there were 1,316 cases, and on Tuesday there were 1,185 cases.
The Windsor-Essex Community Health Centre is organizing two virtual educational sessions to address concerns about getting the vaccine. The sessions are open to everyone and will be held via Zoom, with the first session being held tonight at 6pm here and the second session being held on Friday March 26 at 9am here.
The province’s Science Advisory Table has reported today that approximately 42 per cent of the new daily cases are from variants of the COVID-19 virus. The Science Advisory Table has warned that the rapid spread of the variants is troubling, and the province might need to tighten restrictions again soon. The Science Table has launched a new online dashboard that focuses on the variants, which can be found here.
A new report from the Financial Accountability Office shows that the provincial government held COVID-19 funds instead of using them to prevent the second wave and second round of lockdowns in Ontario. The provincial government was sitting on $4.7 billion on December 31, 2020 even though people were getting sick and long-term care homes were still vulnerable. That money could have been spent on paid sick days, more staff in long-term care, in-workplace testing to prevent outbreaks and more. It could have prevented or shortened the second lockdown.
Theresa Marentette, the CEO of the local health unit, has commended Dr. Ahmed for his work during the COVID-19 pandemic after it was announced he would be taking a two-week leave. The local health unit will be receiving medical officer of health support from other public health units during his absence. You can read more here.
The Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board has dismissed more students due to COVID-19. In total, 30 students from Immaculate Conception Catholic Elementary School are now isolating after a positive case of COVID-19 was identified yesterday. The local health unit has contacted all affected and provided guidance. Parents are reminded to monitor their children for symptoms of COVID-19 each morning and to keep them home if they are sick.
All staff in elementary and secondary schools from the public and Catholic school boards will be required to wear both face masks and shields provided by the school boards. This new protocol will go into effect tomorrow for the public-school board, and on Monday March 15 for the Catholic school board. You can read more here.
Asymptomatic testing in schools is finally set to begin on Saturday at Immaculate Conception Elementary School based on walk-ins by family surname. The region’s four school boards are working together to provide testing opportunities for in-person students, staff, and children at daycares within the designated schools, who are not currently experiencing COVID-19 symptoms but want to get tested. Our caucus has been calling for broad asymptomatic testing in schools for months, along with a cap on class sizes of 15 students, better ventilation, and paid sick days so parents can stay home if their child is sick. More information about the asymptomatic testing, including how the scheduling works can be found here.
The Downtown Mission is shutting down its temporary shelter at 850 Ouellette Ave, saying that they will keep two staff members on site to provide navigation and referral to the temporary shelters currently in place to house people experiencing homelessness in the city. You can read more here.
Point Pelee’s Festival of Birds has been cancelled this year due to COVID-19. The Park will instead be sharing virtual presentations to encourage people to continue birding near their homes. The videos for this presentation will be available on the Point Pelee Facebook page here.
Please stay diligent and continue following public health advice by staying at home, only going out for essential trips, wearing a mask, and practicing physical distancing of 2 metres apart at all times when around others who live outside your household, and washing your hands frequently.