The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 32 new cases of COVID-19 today, and we lost three more community members. Of the new cases confirmed today, one is related to an outbreak, eight are from close contact with another confirmed case, eight are considered community spread, and 15 are under investigation. There are now 281 active cases in our region, bringing the total number to 13,445 cases, 31 confirmed cases in the hospital with four in the ICU, 12,763 cases listed as resolved, and 401 deaths. Across the province today there were 1,074 new cases. Yesterday there were 1,268 cases, and on Sunday there were 1,747 cases.
The province’s COVID-19 science advisory table says Ontario has entered the third wave of the pandemic, fuelled by variants of the virus which now make up more than half of all new reported cases. You can read more here.
The local health unit is encouraging everyone to stay home this St. Patrick’s Day and to continue to follow all public health safety measures. It is important that we continue to minimize close contact as much as possible to reduce the spread of the virus. The local health unit has said that enforcement officers will be out tomorrow.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has updated their recommendations this morning saying that there is no evidence to suggest that the AstraZeneca vaccine is causing adverse effects, as some reports out of Europe indicated. The data shows that the rate of adverse effects among those who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine is not markedly different than the rate for the general population. As a side note, Deputy Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Howard Njoo, added that the doses of AstraZeneca we have in Canada are from India, and a different batch than those deployed in Europe. The NACI also added that the AstraZeneca vaccine guidelines have been changed and is now recommending it be given to those over the age of 65. You can read more here.
The Shoppers Drug Mart at 3950 Dougall Ave is offering the AstraZeneca vaccine to walk-ins today to individuals between the ages of 60 and 64. The walk-in vaccines will be available to people in that age range until 8pm tonight.
Local paramedics have started to visit homes of vulnerable residents to administer COVID-19 vaccines for those unable to travel to vaccination sites in the region. The residents who are receiving their vaccines are those who qualify, being 80 years and older and having pre-registered. You can read more here.
Moderna has begun their vaccine trials to children aged six months to less than 12 years to assess the safety and effectiveness of two doses of the vaccine. The study will enrol approximately 6,750 children in Canada and the United States. You can read more here.
The Greater Essex County District School Board is reporting a case of COVID-19 from one student at Queen Elizabeth Public School in Leamington. The school board has notified close contacts and they have been advised to follow the direction of the local health unit.
The local health unit has rescinded a COVID-19 outbreak at Bellewood Public School. Outbreaks remain in place at Monseigneur Jean Noel Catholic Elementary School and Herman Secondary Academy.
After a COVID-19 outbreak was rescinded over the weekend, a new outbreak has been announced at the Salvation Army’s Centre of Hope today. The Salvation Army announced they are stopping all new admissions and working with the health unit and the city.
Our caucus is calling for a package of workplace safeguards to protect workers, and end the cycle of outbreaks and lockdowns. We are calling for paid sick days for all workers, a robust and systematic in-workplace testing program, and paid time off to get vaccinated for all workers. We need to make workplaces safe so they can stay open. If we give working people the help they need to prevent outbreaks we can put the lockdowns behind us.
A documentary about the field hospital at the Sportsplex at St. Clair College is set to air tonight at 9pm on TVO. The film by local filmmaker Matt Gallagher titled ‘Dispatches from a Field Hospital’ shows the conversations that patients had through phones and iPads with their loved ones. You can find more information 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.