The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 98 new high risk COVID-19 cases today, along with the loss of one member of the community. 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 65 new high risk cases, and there were 142 cases from Saturday to Monday.
There are now 311 active high risk cases in the area, with 30 confirmed cases in the hospital and two in the ICU. This is an increase from yesterday, and Windsor Regional Hospital President David Musyj is reminding the community that the pandemic is not over, and we must continue to protect our community and protect our most vulnerable. There are currently two community outbreaks and three 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, 83 per cent have received two doses, and 53.9 per cent of residents 18 and over have received their booster shots.
Today, Toronto reported 327 cases of COVID-19, Peel reported 183 cases, and Ottawa reported 123 cases. Across the province today there were 2,011 cases of COVID-19 reported, but health officials warn this number is an underestimate due to testing restrictions. Yesterday, there were 1,076 cases across the province, and on Monday there were 1,116 cases. Since the pandemic began, there have been a total of 1,129,543 lab confirmed cases of COVID-19, and there are currently 649 confirmed cases in the hospital, with 204 in ICUs.
ADVOCATING FOR NURSES
In response to the $5000 one-time retention bonus that was announced by the provincial government last week, the Ontario Nurses Association said that more needs to be done to keep nurses in the field, including repealing Bill 124 which caps their wages and certifying international nurses. According to the union, Ontario is short about 22,000 nurses. We know that nurses are exhausted, burnt out, and leaving the field in droves — because they’re not getting the support they deserve. Our caucus continues to push the government to scrap Bill 124 as a first step in a major and urgent campaign to recruit, retain and return nurses to the field. Nurses need better wages, paid sick days and mental health supports. Our caucus has also introduced the Fairness for Ontario's Internationally Trained Workers Act which would force the government to finally take action to fix the foreign credentials system in Ontario and address barriers faced by internationally trained workers — especially nurses, doctors and other health care workers needed and wanted in Ontario. You can read more about the issue 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 this week:
- Thursday March 17 – Windsor Water World – 400 Wyandotte St E, Windsor – 9am to 4pm
Please continue to stay safe and follow public health guidelines.