The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 91 new high risk cases of COVID-19 today. Due to the changes in eligibility for testing and limited testing capacity, the rise of Omicron cases, and the shifted focus of case, contact, and outbreak management to high-risk settings, these case counts are an underestimate of the true numbers of individuals who have COVID-19 within Windsor-Essex County. The health unit defines high-risk cases as those coming from individuals who are eligible for PCR testing in accordance with Ontario's current testing guidance. Yesterday there were 84 cases, and on Wednesday there were 77 cases.
There are now 252 active high risk cases in the area, with 26 confirmed cases in the hospital, and four in the ICU. There are currently five community outbreaks, and five outbreaks in long-term care/retirement homes. Locally, 86.2 per cent of individuals five and over have received at least one dose of the vaccine, 82.9 per cent have received two doses, and 53.8 per cent of individuals over 18 have received their booster.
Today, Toronto reported 304 cases of COVID-19, Peel reported 119 cases, and Ottawa reported 117 cases. Across the province today there were 2,130 cases reported, but health officials warn those these numbers are an underestimate due to testing restrictions. Yesterday there were 2,125 cases, and on Wednesday there were 1,947 cases. There has now been a total of 1,121,694 cases of COVID-19 reported in Ontario since the pandemic began, and there are currently 717 cases in the hospital, with 238 in the ICU.
ADVOCATING FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
My caucus colleagues and I again called on the provincial government to provide financial supports for small businesses that continue to struggle to keep their doors open during the pandemic. Many small business owners are still waiting for third round funding of the small business grant program that the government promised in mid-December. My office has heard from a number of small, local businesses that have applied and are still waiting for their funding, or who had their applications rejected, despite receiving funding in previous rounds of the program – for these businesses, there is no appeals process available. Local businesses in our community, and across the province, continue to struggle and many have burned through their life savings, taken on a mountain of debt, and continue to be at risk of losing their business. These businesses have done all they can to keep customers and staff safe, and they need relief now. We continue to call on the government to provide the financial supports that were promised to help these businesses make it through the pandemic.
MASK MANDATES ON PUBLIC TRANSIT
The provincial mask mandate is scheduled to lift for most places on March 21, however Transit Windsor has said they will keep the requirement for riders to wear masks on public transit. Transit Windsor falls under federally regulated masking and COVID-related rules, and the federal government has not indicated when these rules would be rescinded. You can read more here.
RAPID ANTIGEN TESTS
The provincial government announced that 5.5 million rapid antigen tests will be available across the province each week. Please remember to store your test kits out of the reach of children, as there have been reports of poisoning after accidental consumption. You can find participating grocery stores and pharmacies here.
First, second, and third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are available at one of the three mass vaccination sites, located in the former Sears store at Devonshire Mall, at Hotel-Dieu Grace HealthCare, and at the Grovedale House Community Hall in Kingsville. All mass vaccination sites are now accepting walk-ins. Moreover, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is now available for individuals aged 30 years and older at any vaccination site. The Devonshire mass vaccination site is open Tuesdays from 11:30am to 6:15pm, and Wednesdays to Saturdays from 9am to 3:30pm. Grovedale House is open from 9am to 3:45pm Tuesday to Saturday for pre-booked or walk-in appointments. Hotel Dieu's clinic will be available from 2:30pm to 6:30pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. To book an appointment, please visit www.wevax.ca.
Pop-up vaccination clinics will be available at the following locations next week:
- Monday March 14 – Windsor International Aquatic Training Center – 401 Pitt St W, Windsor – 9am to 4pm
- Monday March 14 – Adie Knox - 1551 Wyandotte St W, Windsor – 9am to 4pm
- Tuesday March 15 – Salvation Army – 355 Church St, Windsor – 9am to 4pm
- Tuesday March 15 – CMHA – 1400 Windsor Ave, Windsor – 1pm to 4pm
- Wednesday March 16 – Downtown Mission – 664 Victoria Ave, Windsor – 9:30am to 12pm
- Wednesday March 16 – Windsor Youth Centre (WYC) – 1247 Wyandotte St E, Windsor – 4pm to 7pm
- Thursday March 17 – Windsor Water World – 400 Wyandotte St E, Windsor – 9am to 4pm
Please continue to stay safe and follow public health guidelines.