The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting eight new COVID-19 cases and one additional death in the community today. Of the new cases announced, one is related to an outbreak, five are from close contact with another confirmed case, one is considered community spread, and one is under investigation. There are now 292 active cases in the region, bringing our total number to 13,413 cases, 32 confirmed cases in the hospital with six in the ICU, 12,723 cases listed as resolved, and 398 deaths. Across the province today there were 1,268 new cases reported today. On Sunday there were 1,747 cases and on Saturday there were 1,468 cases.
The province of Ontario launched their online COVID-19 vaccination booking system today for those aged 80 and up, while our local health unit is handling the local vaccine rollout and has said that there is no change locally as seniors will continue to register through the local call centre and website. Beginning the week of March 22, seniors 80 and older will also be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the St. Clair College Sportsplex and Windsor Hall (the former Windsor Star building), in addition to the WFCU Centre and the Nature Fresh Farms Recreation Complex in Leamington. Area residents are being randomly selected to be vaccinated once they register. You can find the website here to register if you qualify.
Our caucus has called on the government to include people with disabilities in Phase 2 of the province’s vaccine rollout. The government’s failure to put people with disabilities on their priority list for vaccinations from the start has put them at risk, and their lack of investment in a plan to remove any and all obstacles for people with disabilities trying to access their vaccination is a serious problem. People with disabilities should be explicitly mentioned within Phase 2 of the vaccination rollout to ensure consistent practices across the province, and COVID-19 vaccination must be accessible to people of all abilities. People with disabilities should not face barriers in scheduling or receiving vaccination.
The head of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccination task force, Gen. Rick Hillier has announced that he will not extend his appointment when it expires on March 31, citing that he has done what he set out to do. You can read that story here.
Two more cases of COVID-19 were reported at local public schools. One student at Kennedy Collegiate has tested positive, as well as a student at Coronation Public School. The public school board has contacted those affected and they are following the direction of the local health unit.
The President of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario has said that schools in Windsor-Essex are on the brink of closing due to a lack of staff. They are reporting that a number of teachers are either off sick with COVID-19 or are isolating because they have been exposed to it. Our caucus has been calling better protections for teachers and students by capping class sizes at 15 students, implementing broad asymptomatic testing and better ventilation, and paid sick leave for parents who need to stay home when their children are sick. You can read the full story here.
The local health unit has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at the South West Detention Centre, while the health unit has also lifted the COVID-19 outbreak from the Salvation Army’s Centre of Hope downtown. The outbreak was declared at the Salvation Army in mid-February after several confirmed cases were found on site.
The Downtown Mission is working closely with the local health unit and has signed a letter of understanding to be allowed to reopen their facilities. The memorandum of understanding outlines specifics that must be followed in order to reopen the shelter on Victoria Ave. The Downtown Mission is hopeful that they will be reopening by the end of the month. You can read more 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.