The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 201 new high risk cases in our region since Friday. 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.
There are now 228 active high risk cases in the area, with 24 confirmed cases in the hospital, and two in the ICU. There are currently two community outbreaks, one hospital outbreak, and three outbreaks in long-term care/retirement homes. Locally, 86.3 per cent of individuals over five have received their first dose of the vaccine, 83.2 per cent have received two doses, and 50.5 per cent of residents 12 and over have received their booster.
Today, Toronto reported 245 cases and Peel reported 177. Across the province, there were 1,217 cases reported today, but health officials warn this number is an underestimate due to testing restrictions. Yesterday there were 1,680 cases, and on Saturday there were 2,078 cases reported. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Ontario has there have been 1,139,418 lab confirmed cases of COVID-19, and there are currently 551 confirmed cases in the hospital, with 181 in the ICU.
STATEMENT ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and I rose in the Legislature to give a Member’s Statement and say it’s never too late to correct an injustice.
Last October hundreds of people turned out at the Fergie Jenkins Field in Chatham. They watched a baseball game to honour the Chatham All-Stars, a team of Black men who won the Ontario Championship way back in 1934. That was 13 years before Jackie Robinson broke the colour barrier in the Major Leagues. There’s been an effort underway for years to have the All-Stars inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. They’ve already been named to the Chatham Hall – that was more than 20 years ago.
It wasn’t uncommon for the Chatham All-Stars to have to fight their way out of another town when they won a game – or be ridiculed if they lost. Nobody would rent them a room when they drove to Penetanguishene for the OBA Championship game in 1934. They had to go all the way to Meaford, about 60 miles away, where they were allowed to stay overnight in cabins, but, the owner said they had to be up and gone before sunrise so his neighbours wouldn’t know they’d been there.
The Chatham All-Stars were the first black team to play in the Ontario Baseball Association, and the first to win an OBA Championship title. Despite the racism, the prejudice, and the bigotry, those players loved the game and not only were they good at it – they excelled. Had times been different, several of them could have gone on to a career in the major leagues.
That wasn’t possible then, but there’s no reason now that they couldn’t be named to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.
EASING MASK MANDATES
Face masks are no longer required in schools, retail settings, and most other indoor public spaces starting today. Select settings, such as public transit, health-care facilities, long-term care homes, and congregate care settings will keep mask mandates until at least the end of April. For the full list of where masks must be worn, please refer to Ontario Regulation 364/20 here.
The City of Windsor will still require masking in city facilities, due to a masking bylaw passed by the City, as well as on Transit Windsor vehicles. The topic is on the agenda for City Council this afternoon. You can read more here.
St. Clair college has said a mask mandate will remain in place on campus until May 1, 2022, and will be shifting from active to passive screening, starting today. You can read more here.
CHANGES TO ESSENTIAL CAREGIVER POLICY AT HOSPITALS
Starting today, Windsor Regional Hospital will allow four essential caregivers, chosen by the patient, to rotate over the patient’s stay in hospital, however only one essential caregiver is permitted at the bedside at a time within the allotted visitation. You can read more here.
CITY OF WINDSOR ENDS DECLARATION OF EMERGENCY
The City has ended the declaration of municipal emergency that was put in place at the beginning of the pandemic. The City will continue to adhere to and promote any health and safety regulations in order to protect employees and the public, and health officials will continue to monitor COVID cases and local healthcare capacity. You can read more here.
WINDSOR REGIONAL HOSPITAL VIRTUAL TOWN-HALL
WRH is hosting a series of virtual town halls beginning tonight for residents to provide their input on the new hospital’s layout and planning for different programs and services. There will be 11 virtual meetings, between today and April 6. The meeting town hall begins at 7pm tonight. You can find more information 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.
The mass vaccination site in the former Sears store at Devonshire Mall is scheduled to close on Saturday April 2, according to the local health unit. Walk-ins for the COVID-19 vaccination will be accepted until 3:30pm that day, while students in grades 7-12 that have not started or finished their vaccination series for Hepatitis B, Human Papillomavirus (HPV), and/or Meningococcal Disease and want to receive the vaccine at Devonshire Mall, must book at appointment before April 1, pending availability. You can read more 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:
- Wednesday March 23 – Salvation Army – 355 Church St, Windsor – 9am to 3:30pm
- Friday march 25 – YMCA Gym – 500 Victoria Ave, Windsor – 8:30am to 3pm
Please continue to stay safe and follow public health guidelines.